No, I just can’t believe all the reports about Republican panic over Sarah Palin’s upcoming debate with Joe Biden. Yes, she’s been a disaster in interviews, but all of this ink being spilled about Maalox-guzzling McCainiacs doesn’t jibe with me. Here’s why.
We all know that debates are essentially a game of expectations-setting and bar-clearing. This is why someone like George W. Bush could ever have been considered to “win” any debate, ever-ever. After the atrocious week or so that Palin has had on the opening-her-mouth front, her expectations as low as they could possibly be.
So let’s just be honest: As long as she doesn’t vomit on Gwen Ifill or propose marriage to Osama bin Laden, the media will hop up and down with faux amazement, screaming, “She beat expectations! She has a functioning neo-cortex! Winner!”
Let’s see how this might go down:
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Pundit 1: I tell you, Sarah Palin really knocked it out of the park. We did some checking, and fully 80% of her sentences were complete, and she correctly identified the name of the state she was in. I should note that at no time did she fall asleep, drool, or visibly soil herself. I don’t know about you, but I think we have a clear winner tonight.
Pundit 2: No doubt about it. And what about that Joe Biden? Major disappointment, seemingly going out of his way to “know things” and “say stuff.” I think the American people are going to find him far too educated, informed, and prepared to be president. A real insult to small town voters, and brutally unfair to Sarah Palin. Barack Obama may have to consider dropping him from the ticket.
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Side note: I would be remiss if I did not plug my former boss Judd Legum’s excellent column in the Huffington Post on how to watch a debate, not that he needs my help!