Folksy Gibberish from Palin
I thought Edward Winkleman's account of this moment in the VP debate was spot on: he provides a transcript showing the actual content - or lack of content- in the answer to the question about the role of the Vice President's office.
As an aside, it cracks me up how often, and in what strange patterns, Palin employs the word "also".
Dotting her answers with folksy colloquialisms didn't make them any less vapid in my book. One answer in particular strung together just enough cliches to eat up her time without her having to actually answer the question. Asked "Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?" Palin answered
"Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also."
What it demonstrated to me is that Palin reflexively tries to bluff her way through situations where she's not well informed. I know that during a debate she can't actually use one of her lifelines, but is it too much to expect someone running for an office to be able to talk intelligently about what that office is? Founding...Fathers...flexibility, huh? I know it sounds folksy, but it's gibberish. Biden answered the question plainly, so any American could understand: "The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress." But then Biden himself understood the question, which remains the key difference between the two candidates, and why one is remarkably more qualified than the other to be Vice President.