Governor Palin and Senator Biden faced off at an obtuse angle tonight. Clearly the art of political oratory and logic have fallen on hard times. Following the tortured sentences of Governor Palin I sometimes felt like an out-of-control vehicle skidding across the ice floes of Alaska’s north slopes. And Senator Biden’s use of facts reminds me of Samual Clemens’ (Mark Twain’s) comment that there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

What is this populist “let’s string up Wall Street crap”. Governor Palin, by touting the line of the greedy, corrupt Wall Street bankers may gain a few votes from those who don’t invest in stocks, don’t have a pension fund, or a money market account, or don’t use a credit card, but really — are both of these votes worth the wasted minutes of face time she could have used explaining that the current crises was not solely the result of the current administration’s economic policy, but the result of a long string of Congressional meddling. What could better position her for reform? Both of these contenders seems to have been infected with Bolivarian populist logic, and as such they both sounded like they were from the same party. Sure things need to change, but for awhile there I thought Governor palin was Senator Obama’s running mate. And don’t get me started on run-on sentences. Damn woman — breathe!

I could also do without the “John McCain” this and “John McCain” that. After all we all know who is who. It would have been much more effective, in my opinion, to speak of “our platform” or of “our opponent’s stated policies”. It would sound much more “presidential”. It’s good to slip in elements of past policies or proposed policies, but you really need to answer the question first. I kept wondering how did she (or he) get there from that question.

And Senator Biden — detailed mind numbing presentation of voting records and facts are not going to win you anything. Everything you say is known to be out of context, so the facts without the context are worthless. At a business group I participate in we review business plans. Presentors always want to show their spreadsheets, tables, and graphs which always somehow have exponentially increasing sales. No one bothers with these because everyone knows they are wrong anyway. Same with most of what you say about voting records.

I know that Senator Biden didn’t prep himself. Some of his actual positions are factually different from those he stated in the debate. Clearly he was offering up the drivel from the Pelosi bucket of vituperation. It would have been much more powerful to actually present an argument verses a reiteration of the approved Democratic sound bites.

The only declarative statement I heard from either side was Palin saying she did not support gay marriage — that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Biden said that he said the same thing, but didn’t, or did in a round-about way, that he actually did not support gay marriage but would support civil equality…(you get my drift).

I was hoping to see some leadership. I was hoping to hear them talk about how America is strong and great and the issues of the economy, while significant, did not affect the true strength of the country. Governor Palin started down this path with her rebuttal of Senator Biden opinion of Senator McCain’s characterization of the economy as fundamentally strong. She started to make the case, but careened off onto another topic.

A poor showing from both sides. The loser? Clearly America.