While everyone else is discussing the winners and losers of last night's Vice Presidential debate, all according to pre-determined partisan viewpoints (blah, blah, blah, my side won, blah, blah, blah), I would like to take a timeout to point out a noticeable difference between the two debates (actually a few, all of which are telling the same narrative)....
First of, as Palin and Biden greeted each other, there was a noticeable lack of rancor or disrespect. Granted, VPs are not usually personally attacking each other, so this helps. Plus, they had never met and needed a moment to greet. However, it is not quite that simple, which I will get to in a moment.
Secondly, they addressed each other and looked at each other (unlike 1 of the presidential candidates). Granted, Palin is easier on the eyes than either presidential candidate, so Biden could gain a natural advantage (as long as he did not leer, which he did not).
Thirdly, and this was my favorite... did you see what happened after the debate was over? They gave their quick "good job" handshake, said hello to the moderator and then something happened. Both of their entire families joined them onstage and spent time getting to know each other. I genuinely enjoyed watching Palin and her mom in conversation with Mrs. Biden or Todd and Joe greeting each other. The kids and grand kids said hello and there were moments of real conversation between Biden and Palin, with neither of them looking for an Exit sign.
I can chalk some of this up to personalities. Palin is a personable women unencumbered by the etiquette of the political world's fakeries (yes, more PTA than POTUS) and Biden is a wonderfully affectionate human being, that seems to like most people.
However, after seeing McCain's interaction with Obama during the debate and Saddleback event and hearing reports about their greeting on the Senate floor before this week's bailout vote, I become frustrated with his dismissiveness. In 2004's great Republican Convention speech, McCain powerfully stated that those on the Democratic side were opponents, not enemies. I hope he remembers this.
I have heard that he harbors genuine dislike of whomever is his opponent is a race, be it George W Bush, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama (it becomes hard for him to shake a hand, make eye contact or mention their names publicly). It is my hope that he is able to follow the example of his running mate and see it is a contest, not a war (she actually exudes more self confidence by doing this and seems less petty).
He does not need to show such contempt or discomfort when in the same room as his opponent... I mean I have learned to get along with Gator, Cowboy and Cubs fans. While I think they are seriously flawed individuals... I don't think they are evil (just misguided) so I am comfortable around them. McCain should be able to do this.