From the start of the debate, it seemed like Gov. Palin had an advantage. While Sen. Biden looked right at the moderator for his answers (for the first half hour, it seemed), Gov. Palin looked directly into the camera—so much that it looked like she was talking right to us.
And it didn’t hurt that she used common expressions and emphasized that she wasn’t from Washington.
A lot of what you got out of the debate (I think) starts from what you expected her to be. If you expected her to not know much about the issues, you found that she spoke in generalities and dodged answering questions she didn’t want. If you thought of her as a hick, she had the accent and the common enough feel that she could give a “shout out” to the kids back in her brother’s public school class, awarding extra points for the debate.
The funny thing was, some of those that expected a wipe out had to admit that she was better than they figured (or their guy worse):
Committed Obama supporter Tim Quigley, a microbiologist from Haddon Heights, N.J., found Palin’s down-home tone offensive.
“I found her folksy talk insulting and inappropriate for someone running for the vice presidency,” said Quigley. “While Biden didn’t sweep the floor with Palin as I had anticipated, I feel like that was more a function of him toning it down to avoid being perceived as a Washington bully. He refuted her non-answers of the questions with facts, and carried himself in a much more executive manner.”
When someone complains about something being offensive, what they may be saying is, “oh wow, I think that would work.” And that’s why I compare her to Reagan. No, she didn’t have the overarching statements, and calling us to a higher calling, but she knew how to talk to the camera, she talked in a more accessible way—sounding like one of “us” instead of one of “them”, and she inspires in a way.
When we tell our kids that anyone can grow up to be President, do we really believe that—or is that like telling our kids about Santa Claus? If we truly believe that anyone can be President, why can’t a hockey mom from Alaska that talks like one of the people that she’s trying to represent?