The VP Debate

This is probably going to be a fairly weird debate.  On one hand you have Biden, with considerable political experience.  On the other hand you have Palin, with close to no grasp even on what the campaign she represents stands for.  It is going to be a substance versus form debate and the ground rules have already been set:  this is going to be a strictly no-contact fight.  (A deal that was struck for McCain to agree on turning up for his debate at all).

Right now, Palin is in hiding from the press, cramming for the debate.  Nose deep in the McCain Big Book Of One-Liners.  They must be pretty desperate at this point trying to make sure that at the very least she knows what positions she is supposed to take on various issues. 

I'm not sure what Biden will be doing to prepare.  In this debate, facts and figures won't matter as much as demeanor and folksiness.   It will be hard for Biden to figure out how to approach this. If he comes off as condescending or too aggressive, he will lose the debate in popular opinion.  And it will be exceedingly hard to not come off as condescending when debating The Master of the Non-Answer from Alaska.

Palin has given some terrible interviews of late where one of her answers was even repeated almost verbatim in a SNL skit with Tina Fey playing Palin.  No need to even bother writing gibberish lines when Palin is so capable of producing lines that can just be recycled for comic effect.  But it would be dangerous for Biden to under-estimate Palin's ability to charm her way out of a tight spot.

In the end, I think the voters are the big losers.  Presidential candidates and VP candidates in an american election are more afraid of actual face to face debate than a murder suspect is of taking the stand on his or her own trial.  Their marketing dollar can't help them there -- and the marketing dollar is what decides a presidential campaign.  Selling the voters a president or a VP is no different from selling consumers corbonated sugary water.  Same basic principles.  It is first and foremost a branding exercise.


Jen said...

I agree. I long for a debate where they actually discuss things with each other. I mean, isn't that the point of a debate, otherwise it's just a simultaneous interview.

X said...

Yeah, you're right. It would amount to more of a side-by-side interview. With pre-determined questions so the candidates can just regurgitate canned answers.