When word got out that top McCain captains Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt were to meet with Sarah Palin for intensive preparation sessions ahead of this Thursday’s vice-presidential debate, not a few Democrats, shortly up until then clearly worried about the Alaskan governor’s broad appeal among independent voters, sat back smug and self-satisfied at what they interpreted to be her first clear signs of weakness (her performance during the two interviews before these meetings was certainly less than stellar).

But in the meantime what goes around comes around, and now the same Democrats are concerned about how best to prepare a certain vice-presidential candidate of their own. Joe Biden has a proven record of gaffs all his own, and with decades of proven experience behind it. He is one who ought to clearly know better by now, in other words, but clearly doesn’t.

No one has yet figured out how best to curb Joe Biden’s enthusiasm, it seems. And enthusiasm, generally perceived to be a good thing, could just be his downfall when it comes to tomorrow’s debate. He gets a little hot and bothered at times you see, and then tends to shoot from the hip. Although I admit that this might be a refreshing change to Obama’s somewhat cooler style of speaking, it can also be potentially more dangerous.

And shooting from the hip has been Joe Biden’s speciality these days. When not suggesting that Hillary Clinton may have been the better choice for vice presidential candidate than he, for instance, he takes great pleasure in sharing bizarre historical “facts” with us, like “FDR got on television” to tell America what was going on – in 1929. Or how about the way he likes to contradict the policies of his own campaign? After first calling an advertisement of his “terrible” because it criticized John McCain for not knowing how to use a computer, and implying that he would have never let it run had he known about it, he later had to admit that he had never even seen the spot in the first place.

And to make matters worse, I find, is that Biden makes these blunders with, well, real authority. Seemingly the only one in possession of the truth, he is perhaps the most overbearing and condescending politician in Washington we have today, and that’s saying a lot, of course. And it appears at times as if he refuses to stop talking until he feels that everyone has been made aware of this, too. And speaking of talking… How long-winded is Joe Biden? Well, as the New York Times rightly puts it: “His innate exuberance and gusto in speaking without stopping for air can make him sound like he is clubbing his points — and his opponent.” Maybe this is why Sarah Palin is so adamant about the right to own firearms.

My suggestion to Joe Biden? Keep shooting from the hip, whether using a club or not. But don’t underestimate the Governor of Alaska while you’re doing so (she may be armed, too). And anyway, your fellow Democrats have already done the underestimating Sarah Palin part for you. Unfortunately, they have also underestimated how unpredictable you can be, too. So may the best man win. Uh, wait a minute… You know what I mean.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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