I found Biden to be better than expected. He was pretty much to the point, and smartly remained focused on highlighting the differences between McCain and Obama, and portraying Obama in a more positive light, thereby emphasizing the skills he'd use when supporting the President.
Palin did better than I expected, which isn't saying much given that the bar was set so low, all she had to do was show up, smile, talk about Joe Six Pack, and talk about how silly all that crazy political talk sounded since she's such a Washington outsider. Palin seemed to take more jabs at Biden, and didn't always address the moderator's questions. I found her folksy 'small-town' colloquialisms to be insulting, as it's reminiscent of Dubya, another self-coined 'Washington outsider'. She reminded me of Charles Montgomery Burns when he ran for governor.
I heard that Palin's debate talent rests on the fact that she leverages the theatrical element, rather than relying on facts, numbers, and y'know...anything that would establish political data points used to construct a trend, which could be used as a predictor for future behavior. She pretty much smiled, acted cutesy, delivered barbs, and dropped a few numbers here and there, which were her clumsiest moments. Facts-schmacts.
I found the reactions to global warming hilarious. Palin basically said she didn't want to point fingers at causes, while Biden indicated that you probably won't be able to come up with a solution to a problem if you don't identify a cause. Her constant comments about Alaska being an energy-producing state were vomit-inducing. Alaska's untapped fields aren't going to provide a long-term solution to the world's addiction to fossil fuels...not while the U.S consumes 25% of it.
My favorite moment related to taxes. There are mountains of spam moving around about how broke we'll be if Obama comes into office because of his record of voting to raise taxes (94 times). Palin called this out, and Biden clarified it as being an inaccurate statement, while leveraging the same rationale to McCain's record and indicating by the same logic McCain voted to raise them 477 times.
There was a new word mentioned, exceptionalism, thanks to Sarah Palin, the spiritual torch-carrier for imaginistic langualogy in the same breath as Dubbya. Voice of change indeed.
She did much better than her recent Couric interview:
Couric: You have a 72-year-old running mate - is that kind of a risky thing to say, insinuating that Joe Biden's been around a while?I think I can see Alaska from here...must make me a geographer!
Palin: Oh no, it's nothing negative at all. He's got a lot of experience and just stating the fact there, that we've been hearing his speeches for all these years. So he's got a tremendous amount of experience and, you know, I'm the new energy, the new face, the new ideas and he's got the experience.
Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
Couric: What, specifically?
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.
Couric: Can you name a few?
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.