A happy contrast

I caught part of a replay of the 2006 debate of the three candidates for Alaska governor. The debate was a low-key affair, but two things struck me. First, Palin was quite poised and well-spoken. Second, several times she used only about half of the time allocated for her response. She answered the question clearly and directly and then simply stopped talking.

If Republican operatives let Palin be Palin, Republicans could get some joy from the contrast with Joe Biden.

UPDATE: I’ve now seen the whole debate. Many of the issues were unique to Alaska, which seems like a rather unique state, and I had difficulty fully understanding some aspects of the discussion. But Palin was quite impressive during the portion of the debate when the candidates ask each other questions. Her forceful, feisty style enabled her to get the better, I thought, of former governor Tony Knowles when they went head-to-head. Then, when Knowles and the Independent candidate started calling each other, in essence, liars, the moderator asked for her comment. Palin declined to participate, stating only that she was just glad she was sitting between them.

Finally, Palin was asked whether she would offer positions to her opponents. She responded that she would offer the wonkish Independent a job as state statistician. Asked specifically about Knowles, who apparently likes to cook, she thought he might make a good chef (actually, I understand that Palin eliminated the job of chef to the governor).

Palin surely will need a good deal of preparation on substantive issues prior to debating Biden. But when it comes to style and demeanor, she looks like a natural.

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