His op-ed on the VP debate, The Palin Rebound, focuses on Palin's below-the-bar achievements - like her success and speaking whole sentences - but, Brooks does get into some points of substance, which, in my opinion (unless I hear otherwise) might be a real success for Palin's abilities
Read this and tell me if its true:
"On matters of substance, her main accomplishment was to completely sever ties to the Bush administration. She treated Bush as some historical curiosity from the distant past. Beyond that, Palin broke no new ground, though she toured the landscape of McCain policy positions with surprising fluency. Like the last debate, this one was surprisingly wonky — a lifetime subscription to Congressional Quarterly. Palin could not match Biden when it came to policy detail, but she never obviously floundered.
She was surprisingly forceful on the subject of Iran (pronouncing Ahmadinejad better than her running mate) though she stepped over the line in claiming that Democrats sought to raise the 'the white flag of surrender.'
Biden, for his part, was smart, fluid and relentless. He did not hit the change theme hard enough. He did not praise Barack Obama enough. But he was engaging, serious and provided a moving and revealing moment toward the end, when he invoked the tragedy that befell his own family and revealed the passion that has driven him all his life.
Still, this debate was about Sarah Palin. She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative.
By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night. "
Here are mine ---
Simply being "a Washington outsider" does not make you right or qualified. But I can see why Americans hate the insiders right now, and how the outsider seems attractive. That seems to be Brooks' main point. Obama had the same appeal. Of course, its still a question of being, as one MSNBC commentor put it, "exciting and wrong, versus boring and right".
Perhaps a new i-Pod will heal our boredom...
And Brooks is right that Biden surpassed Palin in detailed desrcription of his running mate's policies and positions. A "wonky" night indeed. My head was struggling a bit to absorb the details, which is not to say that the details were too much. Maybe I need more brainpower or attention span, like other Americans.