Ok, ok. You win, guys. Here you go.
Topline: Lincoln-Douglas, it wasn't.
I have been mostly trying to keep my nose out of the political campaigning this year (if not out of politics entirely), but since it is more or less expected that I write something about the VP debate yesterday, here it is:

I enjoyed it. I thought, for the most part, both candidates were engaging and compelling. It certainly wasn't as bad as it could've been, although I still do not understand how so few politicians are able to debate properly--if not in format, than in at least being able to give us a good sound-bite or too. Extemporaneous speaking can be a real bitch, I know, but it's not rocket science, people. So I wish I had been one of the candidates.

I don't know who won. On the whole I am not certain whether I am more unimpressed with Biden, or impressed with Palin. The issue of lowered expectations may present itself, although having mostly insulated myself from the back-and-forth leading up to this I didn't have particularly low expectations.

The biggest low point, for both candidates, came early, and in response to the question about gays. Summed up it went like this:

Ifill: "So, faggots. Equal rights, or no?"
Biden: *expected PC line about giving equal rights to everyone*
Palin: *expected PC line about giving equal rights to everyone, then adds some bullshit about the tradition of marriage*
Ifill: "Biden? Here's your chance to not be a colossal douche."
Biden: *parrots Palin's bullshit about traditional marriage*


FAIL

Weepy Biden is weepy. Given a choice between the two candidates, who would you have expected to get choked up, the stonefaced voice of experience or the governor who the Coen brothers will cast with Frances McDormand? And speaking of which,

We get it, Palin, you're from a small town. I was not aware that anybody talked like that outside of a Prairie Home Companion. I find it endearing because I like that accent, and in fairness it was tempered with clear intellect--but come on, governor, really? Don'cha know? Yuh don' hafta talk like you's from St. Paul. You betcha. Argh. "Gosh durnit"?

Biden's highest point came in driving home McCain's inconsistency with regards to funding the war in Iraq. He was a little bit patronising in doing so--we don't need to be spoken to as if a child--but I think he probably did a lot to mitigate criticism of Obama.

Biden's lowest point came in, so far as I can tell, attempting to imply that Pakistan was going to nuke the Mediterranean if we weren't careful. Whatever you say, Joe. Whatever you say.

Palin's lowest point, conversely, was in her incredibly awkward response to Biden's ill-concieved Iraqi exit strategy. "Um... um... well... uh... that's a white flag of surrender". Way to go, Sarah. What, didn't have time to pencil "I'm rubber and you're glue" into your debate notes?

Palin's highest point came in displaying a remarkable aptitude for shooting down Biden's laughable assertion that the basic principles underlying the Iraqi surge could not be reapplied to Afghanistan. It was not her strongest line, perhaps--attacking Iranian wackjob Ahmadinejad with a bluntness Washington could use more of may get that honour--but it was the point that for me reassured me on her insight.

This is a unique election, and as Biden keeps telling us it is the most important election ever. Since 1932. I would argue that every election is the most important ever, but his point is well taken. It's interesting that we're given, I think, a fairly unique opportunity to take the ticket as a whole, rather than the candidates individually--it's probably undeniable that both Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin are both of them stronger than the leading candidate on his own.

To that end, I was highly impressed with the performance of both candidates last night, and it has given me the clarity to at long last solidify my vote. And I vote in a swing state, too! Maybe it'll actually matter, for once. As such a widely read and highly respected source of information, I'll try to get Border Collie Enterprise's endorsement list finalised later today.

/a
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