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Friday, October 03, 2008

Biden - Stuffed and Mounted

Fred Barnes comments on one of my favorite parts of the debate:
The moment when Sarah Palin knew she was winning last night's debate with her vice presidential opponent Joe Biden came after the subject had turned to nuclear weapons. Palin had talked about nukes as a deterrent and said it was important to keep them out of the hands of dictators who are enemies of America. Then she turned to moderator Gwen Ifill and asked, "Can we talk about Afghanistan real quick?"

Afghanistan? The impression Palin had left in television interviews with ABC's Charles Gibson and CBS's Katie Couric was that she was ill-equipped to discuss issues like that. She just didn't know enough to talk about foreign policy and other weighty matters with even a minimal level of comfort. And this meant she simply wasn't up to being vice president should John McCain win the presidency.

But by that point in the debate--two-thirds the way through--Palin was brimming with self-confidence. She knew she could handle any issue likely to be thrown at her by Ifill. She knew Biden would not outmatch her. So she purposely tackled an issue on which he was expected to have an advantage.

He didn't. She insisted the "surge principles" that had proved effective in Iraq would work in Afghanistan. Biden claimed the commanding general in Afghanistan disagreed. Then Palin said, no, the general didn't disagree, and she spelled out how "the counterinsurgency strategy" favored by McCain (and her) would work.

If that episode didn't demoralize Biden, a senator from Delaware for 35 years, it should have. For it showed she had passed the biggest test any vice presidential candidate faces--a test the media was ready to declare she'd failed. Was she capable of being vice president? Based on her debate performance, the answer was yes.

The sequence went like this: 1) Palin suggested a surge-like strategy for Afghanistan; 2) Biden played his General McKiernan card; 3) in the next question segment, Palin returned to Afghanistan, corrected him on what the General said and then further elucidated her views on the subject; 4) Biden responded meekly about the General's comment, saying roughly "he did too".

You almost expected Biden to turn to Ifill and exclaim, "She can't do that, can she? I'm a United States Senator!".

I don't know what a moose looks like after it's been field dressed, but I'm guessing it bears a striking resemblance to Joe Biden in that moment.


Blogger G-Man said...

Great post! You nailed what I was thinking during that segment.

10/03/2008 2:15 PM  

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