Palin did lots better than I thought she would (no Katie Couric moments), but she evaded answering a number of Gwen Ifill’s questions, instead going to her own favorite talking points — mostly energy energy energy maverick maverick maverick. Biden, on the other hand, usually kept pretty much to the point. I haven’t seen him speak at length before, except in his spin after the first Obama/McCain campaign last week. I liked him then, I liked him tonight. Best moments: when he attacked McCain’s “maverick” status, when he talked about his family, & his takedown of Cheney’s vice presidency. Palin, in the meantime, either didn’t know how the Constitution defines the role of the VP, or wanted to expand its power in a Cheney-like way. . . or both.
Given the tension & hostility transmitted by McCain in his debate with Obama last week, in some ways I think Palin actually did better than he did. But mostly, she didn’t make a complete & utter fool of herself, as she has several times in media interviews. She was more nervous than Biden, but not fatally so. He seemed relaxed, made no gaffes, & both of them showed grace & seemed actually to enjoy the debate. A little snarkiness here & there, but not hugely.
As a lesbian, I appreciated Biden’s reply to Ifill’s question about recognition of the rights of same-sex couples. Neither favored actual same-sex marriage — but Palin was clearly far more conservative about the overall question than Biden was, though she gave lip-service to agreeing with him. I didn’t believe her there: I know what she said in Alaska about the state workers situation when she first became governor.
Interesting stuff, not a game-changer.
The best news for me came after the debate was over, when I checked in on other news, & learned that Judge Peter Michalski had ruled — even as the debate was starting — that the Alaska legislative investigation into Troopergate can go on. Huzzah! Let’s hear it for the Alaska judiciary!