A student at Washington University writes "I love Obama, my hero" outside the site for the vice presidential debate between Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in St. Louis, Missouri, October 2, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)
I had this conversation with ten-to-twenty coworkers throughout the day:
Coworker: OMG, you must be so excited about tonight!
Me: Well, a little. Not really as much as you might think.
Coworker: But she's such a moron!
Me: Yeah, but she's not going to be flubtastic like with Katie Couric. She'll probably do just fine.
Coworker: Really? You think?
Me: She'll mainly be repeating talking points and vague platitudes, and she'll probably do it pretty well. The thing she really needs to keep in check is her tendency to resort to cute squinkiness*, because people, especially women, are responding very badly to that.
Coworker: People say she's a good debater.
Me: True, but she was working her own agenda during those debates. Now she's working the neocon's agenda and she has to keep all that stuff they've been shoving down her throat straight in her head. Still, though, I'm not expecting any hilarity, unfortunately.
Coworker: And Biden?
Me: What Biden has to do is talk in specifics, but without sounding too wonky. The more concrete examples he gives that people can understand, to more content-free she'll sound. He has a much more difficult job tonight.
Coworker: Tell me more of your genius insights!
Me: Biden should basically ignore her without literally ignoring her. He should concentrate on McCain and keep tying him to Bush policies. But specificity is really what he has to get across. He should just relax and trust that people will respond better to the Democratic platform than the GOP one. And he has to make sure he doesn't vomit all over his microphone.
*Squinkiness! That's a word I invented in the mid-90s when I was working at a clothing store in San Diego. I had to deal with a lot of young women who really worked that cutesy bullshit that Palin seems to think is her strength, and which Tina Fey captured brilliantly. It involves a lot of nose wrinkling, tip-of-tongue jutting and pronouncing the word thanks as thynx (say it out loud and you'll know exactly what I mean).
UPDATE: I'm pretty happy with my pre-debate predictions. Sarah's squinkiness was off the charts, and I really don't think it'll go over well.