Biden v. Palin: City slicker versus trailer queen
I worry about the VP debate. It will be the perfect opportunity for Biden to carve up the hick, but it’s also an opportunity for the hick to play the poor little lady defending herself from the mean old man.
Palin will be carefully coached, and will shamelessly pull out the “poor, misogynized me” card at the first chance she sees. The problem too often with Democrats seems to be they don’t expect these things. One should always expect a GOPiglet to be utterly shameless about their hypocrisy. It’s how they do things, as a matter of course.
Biden should expect Palin to act like the poor damsel when pressed, just like he should expect that she’ll come to the debate with three or four memorized one-liners written by others, designed to make her sound all backwoods and canny. Of course she’ll play the “I’m just a country girl, not a mean old city slicker” garbage.
Hopefully Biden will realize he needs to be charming, not condescending, but always ready to move in for the kill. When he addresses her directly, maybe he should call her “ma’am”. Right wingers are into that. Then he should use as few words as possible to matter-of-factly take her ignorant drivel apart piece by piece. When it’s McCain’s policies being discussed, he should keep the discussion on McCain. Don’t make it about her unless she makes it about her. He should never say that she doesn’t understand, or she’s ignorant (though she is, terrifyingly so), but instead counter her arguments themselves. All she’ll have are memorized sound bites and rustic “look at me up here on this here big-city stage” tropes.
Almost certainly she’ll be asked about her experience. Almost certainly she’ll say that being a mom who can see Russia out her window is all the experience she needs. At that point Biden should pounce, and mention how he’s also a parent, one who commutes home every night from DC back to Connecticut so he can be with his family. He should remind her that he knows how to be a parent, but as a leader of government there is more at stake than a pregnant daughter. Being second in line to the most powerful office in this hemisphere is serious business, and requires serious expertise. A mom governs her kids. A President governs 300 million Americans. Sometimes high standards are a good thing.
Imagine trying to take some trailer park beauty queen and coach her for a debate with Henry Kissinger. How would you do it? You’d have to just settle for teaching her to parrot back some key talking points, and hope she doesn’t sound totally pathetic as she stands in the spotlight and recites her lines over and over. Biden needs to expect that, and quickly slap down each lie. Not her, the lie itself. When (not if) she starts in about saying “thanks, but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere in her cartoonish Fargo accent, Biden needs to come back immediately with “Yes, governor, except you actually took the money. You refused it only after it had been canceled by Congress. When the earmark was redrafted by Congress as free money with no strings attached, you just said ‘thanks’, and you took it. And anyone listening to me can go look it up. It’s public record, governor.”
Then, each time she mindlessly recites the same lie again during the debate, Biden can look confused and say “Madam governor, can we please just stop with the bridge thing? Wrong things don’t become true just because you say them over and over.” Then move on smoothly, ignoring her folksy bluster.
Now, if he manages to do this right, she’ll get mad. I’d like to see that. Normally it’s quite easy to get trailer trash mad. Contradict them about any of their ignorant opinions and they immediately fix those opinions in solid iron. They sling back ad hominem attacks. They say things like “What’s wrong with yew, don’t you believe in Gawd? Ain’t you never done seen a tree?” And so on. She might not fall quite that low during the debate, but people of her ilk are not usually great on the whole self-control thing. Or the admitting you’re wong thing.