Who could have thought that a tiny cafe in suburban Canada would prefer a broadcast of the American vice-presidential debate over its own leaders' debate for the upcoming Canadian Federal elections?
But that was just the scene at this South Asian cafe in Mississauga where about fifteen people of varying ages gathered to watch the Palin-Biden debate over a cup of coffee and exotic dessert.
The rookie Sarah Palin was undoubtedly the main attraction. The Governor of Alaska has certainly inspired interest and awe in the Canadian public, if not the respect and admiration she enjoys among conservative Americans. Even a couple of young Canadian female students seemed unimpressed at what the vice-presidential hopeful had to say.
They had initially come to find a role model for a new kind of feminism in Sarah Palin, but were clearly disillusioned by the absence of any assurances from her on the burning issue of "equal pay for equal work."While Joe Biden, appeared "nerdy" to these young students, Palin came across as a "complete embarrassment".
At one point, the dimply-lit cafe exploded into a roar of laughter when Palin winked at the audience a second time in, what most construed as an overdone effort to be folksy.
An older woman considered it a "charming " mannerism to which one of the young female students responded "affectation is never charming".
Throughout the broadcast, the audience seemed relatively unconcerned about what Biden might have to say. Some arose to fetch more dessert, while others decided to make a quick trip to the washrooms. What he said may not have registered with that small audience, though an elderly gentleman thought the senator spoke with poise, authority and a position of knowledge--a sharp contrast from Governor Palin's trite remarks and vacuous commentary on the economy, education, foreign policy and social programs. For sure, the crowd registered the governors lack of expertise and questioned her competence for the no 2, possibly no 1 job for the most powerful country in the world. They thought she spoke with a misplaced confidence.
Her comments drew sneers, jibes and chuckles and a few remarks of cautious respect but overall, Palin failed to impress the audience in that microcosm at the cafe. They complimented her on her appearance but the sentiment was: "she's just another pretty face" incapable of leading her country in a time of great upheaval at home and abroad.