Whether you’re a Saturday Night Live Palin-mocking groupie or a member of her conservative base, you’re buying chips and salsa in preparation for the first VP debate. Ever since Palin was added to the Republican ticket, she has been on the world’s center stage, even foreshadowing the Christ-like ambiance of Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where women wept under is charismatic charm.
Now the world is wondering, with her garbage thoroughly rummaged and her persistence tested over and over, will Palin actually be a competent debater against Biden, who was on the political playing field when Palin was playing in grade school?
I definitely think so. During the Republican primary for governor of Alaska, she held her own against incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski and former state Sen. John Binkley. And again, during the general election against former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles and former state Rep. Andrew Halcro.
“I've debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times,” Halcro said in a recent article. “And she's a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. Against such charms there is little Senator Biden, or anyone, can do."
Her ability to debate is solid, and let’s hope her biting tongue is well lubricated Thursday night. But this debate won’t be like the others, where she stepped back, cool and professional, while her opponents bickered. Besides the massive crowd and snarling liberals looking for beef, Palin has somehow transformed the opening night of VP headbutting into the most important one in history.
In the past, the candidate for Vice President has made little difference in the actual election. And yes, Biden, Catholic sway or not, wouldn’t do much damage on his own. But the young governor from Alaska? Voters are looking at her in order to decide whether McCain, the Maverick, is just a sloppy magician at a kid’s birthday party, or really able to make executive decisions.
So I hope Palin provides substantial evidence that those little training sessions at the McCain Ranch in Sedona have brushed her up on enough foreign affairs to give the chips-and-salsa fans a good show. I want to see a polished Palin without the conservatives whispering in her ear. And I’m ready to get the liberals, skeletons or not, out of her closet, so this hockey mom can take the offense and attack like the lipstick-wearing pit bull she is.