Well, at long last, the nation got to see its long-awaited square-off. What it saw was a clear contrast.
In one corner, was Joe Biden, the been-there-done-that-learned-nothing-forgot-nothing Joe Biden. He was as predictable as an alarm clock. Nothing risky. Nothing new. Nothing much. Wind it up and it pops off at the assigned hour. But, yes, he is ready to stand-in should the situation arise.
In the other was Sarah Palin. Is she ready to be president? Not today. But give her time. She won’t need all that much. What America saw Thursday night was an earnest, sincere, perky, hard-working woman, willing and able to learn. There she was mixing it up with a much more seasoned debater, who as she put it the other day, was at it since she was eight years old. Which one learned more in the ensuing decades?
#ad#Not Joe Biden.
And which one has had more experience passing budgets, managing people (how many work in the typical senator’s office), and greater life experience?
Again, not Biden.
And to which could either Obama or McCain turn to discuss energy policy.
Not Joe Biden.
Palin did more than what she had to do. She not only ended the debate still standing, but got off some of the evening’s lightest moments.
She was gracious to her opponent, but firm. Her three Reagan references were on the mark. Her “there you go again” was a home-run. Even Biden laughed. How can one talk change and keep talking about Bush?
Win or lose, McCain did the nation and the Republican party a great service when he set his sights on America’s north country. In Palin, America saw the face of the future, beaming with optimism, hope, and love of country. It is learning to like what it sees. In Biden, they see the tired, washed out face of yesterday. One could almost sense the Gipper looking down smiling.
— Alvin S. Felzenberg is author of The Leaders We Deserved and a Few We Didn’t: Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game.