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Pre-Gaming Tomorrow's Vice Presidential Train Wreck

Tomorrow's Biden/Palin showdown will most likely attract a much larger audience than last Friday's debate, although to be fair, many viewers might mistakenly remain tuned in under the impression they are actually watching Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.

It seems the vice presidential candidates' strategies are clear. For Caribou Barbie, the objective is to come across more knowledgeable and apt than she probably is, and for Greasy Joe, the objective is to come across like anything other than a complete jackass.

If the earmark machine can keep himself well-oiled and gaffe free, he won't need to pounce on any of Palin's inevitable slip-ups; the media will be glad to do that for him.

Meanwhile, if Palin wants to salvage anything from Thursday, she needs to clearly state that her opinions are her own; that she is not simply John McCain in stilettos. Then, she can unleash the Sarahcuda teeth and let Biden flail like the beltway flounder he is. Just like with ANWR and Pakistan (the latter of which McCain should have left alone), she needs to give the impression that she is her own woman with her own opinions who - unlike Joe Biden - is not only unafraid to differ with her running mate, but has done so.

Sarah's responses during interviews have been lined with obvious rhetorical echoes of McCain's handlers. Forcing her to be McCain's faithful beauty queen surrogate, loyally trumpeting his middle-of-the-road positions (even if she agrees with 95% of them), is one of the many things contributing to the decay of his campaign.

Mr. Biden needs to learn from Obama's arrogance and refer to Sarahcuda as "Governor Palin," not "Sarah." Despite McCain referring to Obama consistently and solely as "Senator Obama," Barry referred to McCain as "John" over 20 times during the debate.

He also needs to remember that Palin isn't (and shouldn't be) the primary target of his attacks. Of course she's a walking bull's eye, but while Barry and Joe keep the heat on the bottom of the ticket, John McCain starts to look like the only one running for president. He doesn't need to make himself appear more trustworthy than Sarah - he needs to make Barack look more trustworthy than McCain.

Biden's best tactic will be to let her goofs go underplayed and silently sanction a post-debate media field day, but I suspect his ego will make achieving this all but impossible.

This debate is do-or-die for Sarah, as her campaign speeches with and without McCain have been more or less carbon copies of her RNC speech. How many times do I have to hear "Thanks but no thanks" and "I put it on eBay?" Her speeches are starting to sound just as full of canned rhetoric and witty one-liners as Obama's. Don't get me wrong, I agree with what she's saying, but she needs to stop being terrified of "winging it" and just be real. She needs to come off as a genuine person, and not "PalinBot."

I'm sorry Sarah, but if you can't come across as genuine standing next to the likes of Joe Biden, you're probably in way over your head. Come to think of it, you are in way over your head. You aren't entering a debate, you're entering a munitions factory, where any sound-bite can be used to forge the final campaign-killing slug.

5 weeks and counting.


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