It was all about giving the American people the straight talk we deserve. The 90-minute debate between Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden gave each vice-presidential nominee the opportunity to espouse on the issues most important to their platform and party and to dissuade some of the rumors about their individual characters.
Similar to the presidential debate last week, Palin and Biden simply echoed their running mates’ ideologies on taxes, our economic meltdown, the war in Iraq, foreign diplomacy and healthcare reform. Biden repeatedly disagreed with Senator John McCain’s initiatives on providing tax cuts for the superwealthy, choosing to continue the surge in Iraq, and pointing out that voting for a McCain-Palin ticket is voting for another four years of George W. Bush policies.
Palin, who did much better than she has on previous one-on-one interviews, came prepared and armed with a drove of information, constantly pointing out that Biden himself has in the past publicly stated that Obama is not prepared to be our next president. She made it clear that as vice-president she would ensure McCain policies of eradicating greedy government spending; provide tax breaks for business owners; and block talks with the Castro brothers, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il, or as she put it, “leaders who are not sane or stable.”
In a rare moment, both of the candidates put aside their political rhetoric to really share moments that have affected them personally, not as politicians but as Americans. Palin spoke of her Main Street, all-American upbringing with her schoolteacher Dad and brother; moments of figuring out how to pay for her children’s college education; and her oldest son who has left for a tour in Iraq. Biden, in a hiccup of an emotional moment, shared his experience as a single parent during the time his first wife and daughter died in a car accident that left his two sons injured.
The much talked about controversy surrounding PBS host and debate moderator Gwen Ifill’s proposed book on race and politics was seemingly all for nothing. As expected, Ifill was as professional as ever in her role as moderator. She asked the tough yet introspective questions about where the candidates plainly stood on gay marriage, their weakest trait, and what they would do if their running mate was to die. This, particularly, is a question on many American’s minds in light of McCain’s age and Palin’s inexperience. But in true trooper fashion, Palin attempted to convince Americans that her lack of “Washington experience” can only help her weed past the shop talk and get to what the middle class truly wants—change.
Ultimately, Palin did establish herself as a knowledgeable and formidable VP candidate, and Biden did temper what in the past his critics have labeled as overly passionate. The hard and fast decision is left to those Independents who have to decide which of the candidates sealed the deal for them. We’re just shy of 30 days until we finally find out.