The wages of cockiness

I mentioned just after Sarah Palin's speech that her tone of outright mockery toward Obama compounded the gamble represented by her selection as McCain's VP candidate. Her Limbaugh-style sass was likely to make the conservative base all the more enthusiastic, which has indeed happened. But it held the potential of mobilizing an opposite, larger base of people who had been tepid about Obama but didn't like the tone, beliefs, or qualifications of Palin - or, more important, who were concerned about what this last-minute selection revealed about McCain's deliberative process and weighing of risks.

Also, I said it opened the way for a No More Mr. Nice Guy approach by her VP counterpart  Joe Biden. I had in mind something like what Biden said a few hours ago in Pennsylvania. This clip may have been widely distributed by now, but it was new to me and was an interesting specimen of how Biden can fight back  -- without being drawn into the trap of arguing about Palin's qualifications or taking the focus away from McCain himself and the issues involved in the election.

To me, the phrasing comes across as Biden's natural human reaction --"you remember that kid in school...?" -- rather than the product of teamwide strategy sessions to find the right image. In any case, students of rhetoric will find it interesting to compare this clip with Palin's speech.