And as any college debater will tell you, it's far harder to beat a clumsy opponent than a good one.This is true in the legal world as well. I'd rather go up against a seasoned attorney, expert in the particular forum, than a rookie moron grasping in the dark for her 1L civil procedure and 2L trial objections class cheat sheets anyday. No one wins when both sides and the hearing officer are struggling to maintain patience while the lackluster opponent is wasting time misunderstanding the difference between admissibility and relevance.
Whoa, was that a rant? I think it was. Anyway - Biden's challenge lies here:
But if you even hint that Sarah Palin may be opining on the Israel-Palestinian peace process with something Piper pulled off Wikipedia that morning, you will look like a snotty professor lecturing an undergrad. And if you look like a snotty professor, you will come across as a sexist bully.And the media will help murder you if you do this, Biden, because they already feel like they can't do much more than hold up a microphone for an equal number of each side's talking points (fast forward to the 2:30 mark).
And in conclusion:
Caution: Sarah Palin is funny. And it's the kind of jeering Ann Coulter-funny that's assuredly going to irritate the heck out of you. She'll suggest you are a coward and unpatriotic and also (heh heh) that you are corrupt and dishonest. Keep your poker face. Poker face when she says you plan to raise taxes on the middle class. Poker face when she says she has plans to sell Barack Obama's next celebrity memoir on eBay and give all the money to special-needs children. Don't lunge (a la Lazio). Don't sigh (a la Gore). Don't roll your eyes (a la Where the Wild Things Are) or look longingly into the camera as if to plead "This is the best they could find for me?" Just nod sagely and refute logically. Get off a zinger if you can. ("You're nice enough Sarah" does not constitute a zinger.) But you are not going to beat her at the victim game, or the regular-folks game, or the humor game. You have to beat her on the fact that you are qualified to be a heartbeat from the presidency and that in 10 years she may be, as well.
Take a page from Campbell Brown's book and ask politely (and like you really want to know the answer and not just hear yourself say the question) what she learned while leading the Alaska National Guard into that war against Saskatchewan. But play to your strengths. Know stuff. Say it briefly. Don't accuse her of not knowing things. Just know more.