Three “Whew’s” and an “Oh, rats!”

There will be plenty of expert commentary on last night’s Vice Presidential debate.  Doubtlessly, you will be able to find point-by-point discussion of the answers provided by both candidates.  But not here.  And, you will be able to find plenty of partisanship as well.

While I confess my bias for one candidate over the other, If I had to declare a winner of last night’s event, I would have to say it was…..Gwen Ifill!  With the controversy over her upcoming book, which is reportedly very favorable to Barry Obama, the smoke swirling aournd the V.P. debate was whether she could moderate in a fair and objective way.  I would have to say that she did.  In fact, I think she receded from being a memorable player in the debate about as well as any moderator I have ever seen.  A “forgetable performance” by the moderator is what we really should expect in events such as these.  My guess is that Tom Brokaw will pump his “celebrity” a little more in next week’s Presidential Debate.  In other words, he will be the third player in a two person debate.  But I digress.  Bottom line, the winner, for reasons described about was Ifill.  And because of that, one of the “whew’s” came from the Commission on Presidential Debates, who hired her to moderate and who was under fire for that decision.

Another “whew” came from the McCain camp.  Sarah Palin performed very well.  In spite of the gaming that was being done by Barry’s handlers before the event trying to suggest that Palin was a highly effective debater, MOST I think thought that at best, she would hold her own against Biden.  That was a good position for Palin to play from, and she basically had only upside in terms of outcome.  While I was watching the debate, what I kept returning to was the engaging style and personality that she possesses that most Americans saw for the first time at the Republican National Convention a few weeks ago.  Once again, she demonstrated her pleasant, likable, plain-spoken manner, which infuriates liberals and feminists and thrills conservatives.  She handled herself well last night, and while dodging some questions, she demonstrated a command of the facts and avoided the kinds of mistakes that would have left even her strongest supporters in a position of having to defend a weakened running mate.

The third “whew” came from the Obama campaign.  The “whew” was because Biden essentially did-no-harm.  Even his supports, (of whom I am not) have to concede that he is prone to logorrhea and can come off as smarmy and condescending.  He basically avoided these last night.  In contrast to some of his past performances, he demonstrated a fair degree of self-control.  However to say that he was fully IN-control, you would have to exclude the fact that he was caught in at least 10 outright and indisputable distortions of the truth.

As for the “Oh, rats!”, which is a sanitized version of what was probably said behind closed doors… that too came from Barry’s camp because, Palin did not shoot herself in the foot, and Biden was not able to put her away. 

Consequently, the race is still on!

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