Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debate Prep

For all of you out there who feel like tonight (10/02) will be Sarah Palin's comeuppance as Republican Vice Presidential candidate, I have bad news for you: don't count on it. I know, I know, the interviews do not lie -- she is pretty clueless about things most of us have at least a passing knowledge of and is counting on her 10th grade debate skills to get her through. And it will be live -- no rocks to hide behind or Straight Talk Express to hop into and lock the door. Which is why she is being as well prepared as the McCain camp can make her.

And the preparation will probably pay off, if they concentrated not on what she would say but how she would say it. I think they might have programmed her to keep the answers simple and straight-forward and to not flounce around too much verbally if caught off-guard. There's literally no way they could pump enough foreign policy information into her to allow her to take on Joe Biden on even close to equal footing.

No, I see this as a less-is-more kind of debate, because as many of us know, Joe Biden has a gaffe problem of his own. I don't see him going at her tooth-and-nail the whole debate, but letting her stand there and talk, then get in and make his own cogent remarks. I think he will every so often needle her with something he knows she can't possibly pull out of her hairdo, but over all will not want to come off as being too aggressive. Biden stands to lose as much from this debate as Palin.

And in the end, I very much doubt, unless there is a major flub, that this debate will change much. Vice Presidential debates seldom do. They're pretty much having this debate to give the main contenders a breather and to generate new ad material. If Palin does poorly, it will be blamed on sunspots, the "liberal media," Vladimir Putin, anything but Palin herself. If she does well, she will do no more than match Biden, and as such won't look bad, but won't look overly impressive either, given that Joe won't be going after her full bore. I honestly think Joe Biden may just coast through this, to avoid being seen as attacking Palin "because she's a woman."

So look for it to be pretty boring, with occasional moments that will either make you scratch your head or laugh out loud. In the end, there will be no massive bump for either Obama or McCain, only a breather between the Wall Street meltdown and their next debate.

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