The Republican right touted the debate as a match-up between an old battle-scarred pro versus a highly talented challenger, and while the confrontation of the week did have its interesting moments -- in the ultimate analysis, it was not a fair contest.
The outcome was decisive. Palin was not ready for prime time - much less the presidency. Biden outclassed Palin from the outset delivering an effortless performance that relegated the feisty Governor of Alaska to the sidelines of Moose Lodges and local media for the duration of the campaign. Palin's political currency is now spent. Joe Biden has never seemed so presidential as in his pairing last night with Sarah Palin.
Noticeably nervous in her first major media appearance since her triumphal arrival on the national scene at the Republican National Convention, Palin strode across the platform and audibly asked Biden if she could call him, "Joe." Palin's opening gambit was transparent - it had been a clumsy attempt to place Biden on even-footing with her, but it did not work. Nothing that Palin did from that moment onward distracted Biden from delivering a smooth and relentless demolition of John McCain's eccentric presidential candidacy.
Biden opened with a magisterial statement that set the tone of the debate. Palin gamely responded with tart ripostes, but her arguments were littered with howlers - mostly blatant misrepresentations that simply did not work. Biden opened up his early lead and never looked back.
When Biden recalled McCain's record, Palin responded that the American people did not want to dwell on the politics of the past - but she followed up those self-assured defenses with boring and repetitious attempts to deconstruct the record of Barack Obama by deliberately misrepresenting it. Few in the audience failed to notice the glaring lack of logical coherence that marred her performance. Palin's coaches failed her miserably.
Palin's performance swiftly devolved from her energetic opening sequence. For some reason that remains obscure, her handlers had not corrected her mispronunciation of the word that has bedeviled George W. Bush, "Nooc-you-ler." The only explanation for this lamentable handicap could be that the Palin strategy was a blatant attempt to appeal to the folksy, Joe Sixpack legions that are allegedly yearning for a moose-hunting mother of five to inhabit Number One Observatory Circle.
The nadir of Palin's performance came when Biden pointed out that she was not answering the questions put to her by the moderator. Palin was piqued, and her retort was arrogant. Stating that she refused to be held to any standard set up by Biden or the debate moderator, Palin declared that she was speaking directly over their heads to the American people. If that was the Governor's objective, why on earth did she bother with the problematic debate at all? Why not simply buy a thirty-minute block of time for her to deliver one of her folksy monologues about hockey moms, the joys of offshore drilling and her upbringing in Alaska replete with a diet based on the Mooseburger?
From that painfully obvious excuse to exit the very debate she found herself engaged in on prime time television, Palin regurgitated a howler implanted in her brain by John McCain and her incompetent handlers - that global warming was not a man-made phenomenon. Biden tidily followed up her glaring disconnect from reality with his opinion that global warming was definitely man-made to win the plaudits of the young, the informed and the earnestly concerned legions watching the debate.
When he defined Dick Cheney as, "the most dangerous Vice-President in history," Biden unleashed a devastating blow that resonated with millions of Americans. Dick Cheney's glaring absence from the national scene over the past few months would be troubling if it were not so obvious - the Vice President is the most radioactive liability the Republican Party has ever produced.
The night belonged to Biden who clearly embodied the ideas of people yearning for change from the nightmarish reality of the neoconservative era. In her epic confrontation with Joseph Biden, the appeal of Sarah Palin imploded to a nucleus consisting of the information-deprived, the hopelessly illiterate and the party faithful on the neoconservative right.