Given what's articulated in my earlier post regarding Americans' uncanny ability to award style over substance in everything, especially politics, this does not bode well.
Andrew Halcro served two terms as a Republican member of the Alaska State House of Representatives and then ran for governor as an Independent in 2006, debating Sarah Palin more than two dozen times. He says that beating Palin in a debate is so much harder than you think. Not because she's a skilled orator with a grasp of the facts and an arsenal of rehtorical weapons, but because she excels in the art of avoidance.
"I've debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times. 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."
Instead of answering questions directly, she sticks to soundbites and generalities. And if that doesn't work, she spouts off populace nonsense. Sound familiar? From the few interviews she's given since being announced as McCain's runningmate, we can pretty much predict what we'll get from her Thursday night.
So, what's a guy like Joe Biden to do? Halcro's advice is to ignore her.
"With shorter question-and-answer times and limited interaction between the two, he should simply ignore Palin in a respectful manner on the stage and answer the questions as though he were alone. Any attempt to flex his public-policy knowledge and show Palin is not ready for prime time will inevitably cast him in the role of the bully."
Given Biden's biting wit and quick draw onthe zing, that may be easier said than done.