The Corner

Straight to the Swing Voters

Whew! I had begun thinking that perhaps I was clinging to hope over reality . . . but Palin pulled it out and justified all the faith implied by putting her on the ticket. She sounded firm, in control of her answers (and her syntax more than usual), and intelligent. She went straight over the heads of the audience — and Ifill — to the viewers. I presume she reassurred middle and working class Americans that she is one of them, and will keep their concerns front and center, while having extraordinary powers of communication and leadership. I liked her frequent allusions to Biden’s splits with Obama on policy and lifestyle.

Of course Joe Biden focused intently on convincing the same audience of working and middle class voters that his ticket will meet their needs. He made a lot of solid points. He is a more plausible spokesman for that line than Obama, and he did his job. I wonder how all the identifying with the kitchen table concerns will sound, coming from Mr. Obama of Harvard and Hyde Park, who doesn’t put away the butter.

Biden was rattled by the agreements, and the fact that Palin was going for the populist “greed and corruption” line. I think he expected her to attack Democrats and to defend deregulation. (She could have done some that, but it might have confused matters for the target swing voters.)

I was fascinated to see Biden come straight out and talk about screeing judicial nominees for ideology. That will garner support with liberals and fly over the heads of swing voters. He did a solid job attacking McCain on policy. He did a less solid job defending Obama.

Speaking of Joe — what in God’s name possessed him at the dermatologist’s? He had the eyelift a little while ago. But now he has the deathly pallor of someone who has had more than a few peels, microdermabrasion, whatever. Plus all the little upper lip wrinkles are gone. Restylane. And he has had the naso-labial folds spackled in with more restylane, or maybe heavy-duty purlane. Obviously that unmoving central forehead was over-botoxed. The plastic surgeons and dermatologists in my neighborhood all pride themselves on more subtle work.

So, do we blame the McCain campaign for Palin’s previous, poorer performances? Partly. But the extraordinary trashing at the hands of the media, notably the blogosphere, and, especially, other women, cannot have helped.

She can’t win this for McCain. But from here on out none of the negatives can be ascribed to her.

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