I’ll admit it–Joe Biden is my kind of debater. Dispassionate and disconnected, he speaks to my inner wonk. He rambles, he extrapolates, he uses obscure references. And tonight he hit harder and with more detail than Gov. Palin. So Joe Biden won the Michael Graham debate card.
Unfortunately for Sen. Biden, Michael Graham is not a typical American. Not even a “typical white person.” (I refer to myself in the third person as a sign of solidarity with Scrappy Joe, who repeatedly did so tonight)
For a typical American who had been convinced by the Partisan Press that Sarah Palin is an illiterate redneck who didn’t know Afghanistan from Alabama, she won this debate. She debated a geezer from the Washington establishment to a standstill and forced him into several erroneous statements (I would say “false,” but Sen. Biden talks so much without knowing what he’s talking about, he could be clueless rather than malicious).
Biden did vote for a war resolution. McCain did not vote, as Biden claimed, for the Obama tax hike. And Obama did absolutely nothing about the subprime mess at Fannie Mae except take record amounts of their money.
Sarah Palin wasn’t brilliant. She wasn’t able to adlib like Sen. Biden could to score additional points. She let quite a bit of Biden nonsense go unchallenged.
But six weeks into the race, she went toe-to-toe with a guy who’s run for president twice, and she held her own and even pushed him around a few times.
For the average voter, content was a wash which means this ended up as a personality contest. Which means she wins.
And that means John McCain goes into the next debate on a level playing field. She didn’t leave him in a hole.
Which merely quickens the pace at which the presidential race returns to what it was always going to be: Either a referendum on George W. Bush (Obama wins) or Obama (McCain wins).