There are times, when, as Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. said, “the brain runs away with the heart's best blood.” That will be Joe Biden’s biggest problem. When it comes to where they aim their talk, Joe Biden is all head and Sarah Palin is all heart.
When it comes to a choice between heart or head, the American public will always choose heart. Biden is a guy with a lot of heart. The problem is, his head AND MOUTH too often run away with his heart’s best blood. If he lets that happen, Sarah Palin will crush him in the debate—maybe not in answers to questions or in proving who knows more. But she’ll touch viewers’ hearts. If Joe can do the same or neutralize her, then he’ll have done his job.
Just to be perfectly clear. Biden cannot win this by showing off his intelligence or knowledge. He has to out-heart her or neutralize her heart “power.”. That’s a very tough challenge for a guy, even tougher for a guy who is so strong in the head going up against a woman who is head impaired and thus heart over-compensated.
I’m not sure Biden can win in a heart on heart contest with Palin. But he has stories that are very touching and he should work them, just as hard as McCain uses his prisoner of war story ad-nauseum. And Biden may be able to neutralize her by predicting her trademark debate behavior—short, fluff, repetitive evasive answers that are cute and charming. Maybe, when Palin makes a cute joke about a serious question, Biden can make a comment like, “Gee, I’ll bet Vladimir Putin would just change his mind and suddenly agree with you if you answered him with such an authoritative response.
If I were Joe Biden, I’d start off by saying something like, “My goal tonight is to give you, the people of America clear, straight answers—straight talk and I assume my opponent is intending to the same. That means no general, vague answers, not long-winded stories to kill time. And if I don’t know something, I’ll tell you.”
Then, when she falls back to her lame, generalized, deer-in-the-headlights answer, Biden can ask, “Was that your clear, straight talk answer?”
Now the question is, should he tell it like it is and also say, “Gee that was perky.” I’ll bet Nikolas Sarkozy might appreciate it.? Anyone think she’ll have a clue what country Sarkozy leads (It’s France.)
Of course, if Biden decides to get a bit snarky, he risks offending some Palin women. I’m not sure though that this is as big a risk as it was even a week ago, before the Cathy Couric debate. Her positives have dropped, negatives have grown and people are taking very seriously the possibility that John McCain chose a VP who is totally unprepared to… well, leave Alaska.
One thing’s clear. Biden is unfamiliar territory and he probably needed more prep than Sarah Palin. She’s been BSing people in debates and interviews for years. The question is, will the American people buy it?