At last, a Democratic candidate I actually want to have a beer with. I know this idiotic standard is more marketing ad agency speak than actual criteria for elected office but it is a pleasant surprise from the usually tone deaf to the real world Dems. Not only do I want to grab a beer with Biden but I might even have three or four and maybe some onion rings.
He was masterful tonight. Biden is a stone cold pro in a world where most politicians just become cold or stone-like. But Joe Biden managed to communicate on every issue in a clear and laser focused way. The happiest person on the planet had to be Barack Obama's gastroenterologist. Because when Obama has to go under for his colonoscopy as president this Doctor will not have to rush, lest the VP drop the ball while in charge for those forty-five minutes. Obama's GI will even be able to take a second lap around the large intestine to make sure.
Biden's outrage may have been the most delicious part of the debate. When he called Cheney "dangerous" or talked about the long line of McCain mistakes on the war or how he has done nothing but support deregulation, it was like drinking cold hose water on a hundred degree day after moving furniture up a four story walk up for ten hours (which is pretty much my metaphor for the past eight years). It was refreshing and needed and I got a brain freeze from gulping it too fast.
What made his outrage all the more impressive was that he had to do it while playing center field on an array of factual errors and outright lies coming from Governor Palin. "Actually that's just not true...." or "The real truth is..." became not Biden's starting burden but his launching off point to shredding the farce that is the McCain campaign and the corporate right "philosophy."
I do have to give it up for Sarah Palin on one account. She is brave. She doesn't have the knowledge, experience, sense of purpose or solutions to be on that stage with Biden yet she hung in there selling the hell out of the tired "less government" "cut taxes" half lies the Republicans have been shilling for thirty years. At one point she felt like the last person to try and sell time shares in Centralia, the town in Pennsylvania that was literally on fire for twenty years. "If you ignore the fire-filled sink hole in the back yard that devours pets, I think you'll find this condo is a steal! (hold smile.... hold smile....)."
Governor Palin leans far closer to "spokesperson" than representative of the people. If she had lived in Amity in the mid seventies the Mayor would hired her to tell the press the beach is safe for swimming and Roy Scheider is overreacting. Her lowest point was giving an actual and literal "shout out" to kids watching in a 3rd grade class. Other than Mondale in '80, that must be the only "shout out" in VP debate history.
And nothing gives me as much joy as how lame it is when McCain and Palin refer to themselves as "Mavericks." Thank God Biden body slammed the whole concept tonight by pointing out how McCain has rolled over on every major vote to big money no matter the moral stakes. Palin and McCain are "Mavericks" only in situations where people are so conservative that driving a grey Mercedes as opposed to black or saying "shout out" in a speech is considered (said with a judgmental whisper) outrageous.
But as strong and as clear as Biden was tonight I am not in anyway advocating taking a victory lap. Yes, Obama is six to eight points ahead in many polls and yes, McCain has chosen a radical religious right unqualified VP and yes, the economy is in bad shape because of exactly the kinds of policies of deregulation that McCain has prided himself on. But still, the corporatists own the media, and I'm sure as I'm writing this they are talking about how it was a victory for Palin because she didn't repeat the Couric interview debacle or because she didn't say that troops were on their way to Russia right now. No, this isn't over. Many Americans are still freaked out about gradients in skin tone and voter caging and fraud are very real threats. And fear and lies are always hard to combat no matter how disconnected from reality they are. The good news is, we've got a decent chance. But I can't shake the feeling our system is more messed up than we know and we could still lose this thing.