There hasn't been much time for coffee musings what with the tracking poll (and the ex-pats waiting for the results over lunch) and all the other election news to post, but let me squeeze in a short observation or two.
We know that VP debates don't really change many minds. If Bentsen-Quayle didn't do it, last night won't do it either. But what's striking this morning are the following:
- Joe Biden is the story for me, not Sarah Palin. I was delighted but not surprised with his remarkably strong and empathetic performance. Joe is a strong Democrat, and a proud family man. He's smart, he's experienced, and he can < gasp > be disciplined. If there's a candidate who exceeded realistic expectations, it was Biden who knocked it out of the park and exposed Palin for the attractive, but callow, candidate she really is. His discussion of his injured family was the deal-maker for the audience, a moment Palin handled awkwardly afterwards in her response.
- Sarah Palin's expectations were ridiculously low, set by the punditocracy that, as Jon Stewart might say, is hurting this country. Get a grip, folks. No one cares whether Andrea Mitchell thinks Palin reached her (Mitchell's) expectations. They want to know whether Sarah Palin can help the family pay the mortgage and pay the college tuition bill.
- Sarah Palin is not ready to be President. She is a heartbeat away from a 72 year-old with health issues.
- McCain is losing the election this week. A good part of the reason is that Steve Schmidt is an idiot. He's run a tactical news cycle campaign and not a strategic campaign. He's made the wrong play at the wrong time and deserves much of the blame. When has he ever given us a reason to vote for John McCain?
- Two completely separate conversations go on about Sarah Palin. She's lost thoughtful conservatives and independents, and Democrats were never her audience. Social conservatives and wingers like Pat Buchanan may love her, but who cares? Buchanan, I will remind the media, was a fringe candidate who did very poorly when he ran. Palin's audience may love her but they are a small portion of the electorate and they do not count any more. This is not a base election. It will take a loss for the media to get it.
- The rest of the electorate, the big group, may like Sarah Palin, but from the moment we were following polling on her, we pointed out you can like her without voting for her. Last night's insta-polls agree.
Put on some coffee and join me. What do you think the media is missing (besides McCain pulling out of Michigan)?