I watched the debate with a blog-reader who has become a friend, almost like an older sister to me. Â She’s a mother, with three grown sons. Â We were both nervous about how our lady would do tonight.
As a political geek who loves debating policy and ideas, I thought Joe Biden won this on points. Â At the same time, as a movie-lover aware of the power of images, I thought she killed on style. Â Although she seemed a bit jittery at times, she always came across as friendly and comfortable with herself. Â She looked at the camera and us and spoke to us with a wink and a smile.
He often looked down as if he wanted to make sure he was getting the right answer. Â He was better versed in the arcane of Washington, she with the concerns of the middle class. Â When he talked about the middle class, it seemed he was reading from a script of themes which appeal to people who don’t follow politics for a living.
At times, when Palin was speaking, Biden smiled, smirked or scowled, the evil step-father determined to prevent his wife’s daughter from succeeding in his line of work.
There were some policy issues where she danced circles around him, mostly, ironically, on foreign policy. Â She understand the situation in Iraq better than he did. Â And the threat from Iran. Â He talked about ending the war in Iraq, she talked about winning it. Â She spoke of victory. Â He spoke of timelines.
He called Iran with nuclear weapons “destabilizing,” she said it would be “dangerous.” Â That regime “cannot be allowed to acquire such weapons,” she insisted.
That said, she missed a number of opportunities to call Biden on his misrepresentations of John McCain’s record — and his own. Â When Biden claimed McCain always favored deregulation, she failed to point out her running mate’s record on the regulation most at issue in the current “crisis.” Â The Arizona Senator had co-sponsored a bill, theÂ Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which would have regulated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two institutions at the heart of the current crisis.
Perhaps because of her failed opportunities, I feared she lost the debate. Â Even Charles Krauthammer thought she lost it on points. Â But, the woman with whom I watched it thought she had won because she did a better job of connecting with Main Street. Â Frank Luntz’s focus group agreed;Â nearly every hand going up when he asked if she had won that debate.
Perhaps, most Americans could care less how well she understands the way Washington works, or whether she answered every question perfectly. Â They want to know if she understands how their households work, and whether she’s familiar with their daily concerns.
And on that score, she connected. Â She more than connected. Â She empathized. Â She related. Â She spoke their language. Â Strike that, she spoke our language.
UPDATE: Â Athena says she killed:
UP-UPDATE: Michelle Malkin loves Sarah Palin:
She was warm, fresh, funny, confident, energetic, personable, relentless, and on message. She roasted Obama’s flip-flops on the surge and tea-with-dictators declarations, dinged Biden’s bash-Bush rhetoric, challenged the blame-America defeatism of the Left, and exuded the sunny optimism that energized the base in the first place.
. . . .
Sarah Palin looked presidential.
Joe Biden looked tired.
UP-UP-UPDATE: In the comments, American Elephant writes, “But Palin came across as a serious, knowledgeable, principled and most importantly genuine, likable and trustworthy.”