I didn't actually know a whole lot about him before he was named as VP...but I've found him to be a very respectable, likable addition to this election season.
I raced home from work right to the TV and was glued to the debate. Mike came in to the room, announcing that he thought that Palin would make an excellent president. He can be such a straight man at times that I can't actually tell if he's kidding or not!
I think that everyone agrees that Palin did far better than anyone expected her to do, after her recent catastrophic interviews (which she blames on the "filter" of the mainstream media???). She had a very low bar to hurdle.
However, I'm glad to read that most Americans didn't fall for her glittering generalities and memorized talking points. (Even though the pundits did! We were watching the debate on NBC, which we've decided was very biased to the Republicans. They had Peggy Noonan and a former Republican governor of MA, sandwiched around the apolitical NPR's Michele Norris.) She gave no specifics on what the McCain-Palin ticket would do to improve the lives of everyday Americans, "fight greed and corruption," or end the war in Iraq. She didn't answer the questions. Maybe she doesn't know the meaning of "achilles heel"? Clearly, she does not think on her feet very well. She falls back on her folksiness and flirtatiousness when she can get away with it.
NBC also interviewed Geraldine Ferraro, who clearly was rooting for Palin to do well...even though she said she sided with the politics of the Democrats. It almost seemed that she was favoring Palin just because she was a woman. I understand her quandary (as the first female VP candidate), but I question her loyalty to the issues that matter to Americans AND to women.
It shows how far we've come that both Biden and Palin say they support civil unions for same-sex couples. (Although Palin was awfully lukewarm on that, as if she didn't know if she would get in trouble later...) I'm glad that the Obama-Biden ticket has come out very strongly supporting gay/lesbian rights. It's still a bit of a political hot potato, since they won't support gay marriage....BUT how far we have come since "don't ask, don't tell"! (which Obama/Biden say they will reverse, thank God)
Joe Biden was pitch-perfect in this debate. He wasn't condescending; he attacked McCain's record and left Palin's record--and gaffes--alone. She was ripe for the picking when she made that snarky comment about their ticket not saying one thing and doing another...excuse me, but HELLO??? But Biden left it alone and kept going back to McCain and connecting him with Bush.
But why do I love Joe Biden? As Leah McElrath Renna writes on the HuffingtonPost.com, "Joe Biden did more for the equality of the sexes with his honest display of paternal emotion during the vice presidential debate than Sarah Palin's presence on the executive ticket has or will ever do." As someone who has watched her son teeter on the verge of life and death, I can so relate to the unpredictability of emotions that can take over at any time when I talk about that period in my life. And friends I know who have lost children or loved ones, even 20+ years ago, still feel the pain as purely as they did when it happened. Biden's ability to show his vulnerability as a man was something I've never seen before in a politician.
It was a moment I will remember for some time.