I wish my mama had been alive to watch the vice-presidential debate Thursday night. She would have really liked Sarah Palin.
I take it you've heard of her. Sarah Palin, I mean; not my mama. She's been the talk of the town - not to mention the country - for the past four or five weeks. She has also been the butt of many, many jokes from late-night comedians and Saturday evening satirists.
You probably saw her now famous speech at the Republican National Convention - or at least excerpts from that speech. She was an instant hit, and eyewear sales spiked in the days following her coming-out party, not to mention T-shirts and Photoshop-altered portraits.
Ah, but the liberal mainstream media was waiting in the wings, ready to ambush the Alaska governor at the first opportunity. It didn't take long. You might have seen snippets of Charlie Gibson's condescending interview as he sat and looked down at her over the tops of his reading glasses and asked her questions that he would have never asked of a male candidate from either party. Much has been said about the "train wreck" that was the Katie Couric interview. I don't know about that one. I wouldn't watch Katie Couric if she were Photoshopped to Knowshon Moreno scoring a touchdown against USC.
But I watched the debate Thursday night and, as my mother would have said, they didn't make anything off her.
It's quite amazing, really. To begin with, she was playing against a stacked deck. The "impartial" moderator chosen for the spectacle, Gwen Ifill, has a vested financial interest in the outcome of the November election. Specifically, an Obama win would put a lot of money in Ifill's pocket. She has written a book about the politics of the Obama era that is scheduled to be released on Inauguration Day. If Obama doesn't win, her book won't attract a lot of attention. It would be like me bringing out a book about Georgia's superiority over Alabama in football at half-time of last week's game.
Just not a big market for that kind of thing.
And Joe Biden, Palin's competitor, did his best to make his adversary seem insignificant and out of touch. He smiled condescendingly at many of her remarks and the videographers who were filming the debate for posterity played right into his hands, showing his expressions via split-screen while Palin was speaking.
But at the end of the day, all but the most biased observers were forced to admit that Sarah Palin had held her own in the big boy world and had given at least as good as she got.
She looked at the camera and spoke above the talking heads who feel like they have to tell us what the candidates really said after every event like Thursday night's debate and spoke directly to the American people. We could all understand what Sarah Palin was saying and I, for one, appreciated the folksy, down-home way in which she said it.
She uttered phrases like, "I betcha" and "darn right" and talked about standing on the sidelines at soccer games, conversing with regular people about their fears and concerns about the future of our nation - and she was believable - more so than just about anybody I have seen on the national political stage in a long, long time.
I think the most significant remarks Governor Palin made were when she talked about the things that most of the people I hang with have been saying for a long time. She had the audacity to say that it is high time for Americans to take responsibility for more of their actions and to quit waiting for the government to take care of us from the cradle to the grave. She said that we should quit living beyond our means and quit buying what we cannot afford. She was also dead on, in my opinion, when she talked about using the energy resources we have at home so we won't be so dependent on countries that don't really like us.
And she refused to say things she didn't believe for political expediency. She wouldn't claim to believe that global warming is being caused 100 percent by human activity and she wouldn't endorse homosexual marriage, even though that seems to be the politically expedient thing to do these days.
A lot of people were horrified that John McCain chose as his running mate a person in her early 40s who lacks experience on the national stage, has been a reformer and bucked the establishment within her own party and hunts moose.
Well, it's not the first time, you know. William McKinley did the same thing in 1900. His VP's name was Teddy Roosevelt, and that worked out OK.
I'm not insinuating that Sarah Palin is another Teddy Roosevelt, but I am saying that she is no Joe Biden and she is no Barack Obama. That's good enough for me.
I think it would have been good enough for my mama, too.
Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.