Joe Biden’s America revolves around the kitchen table. It is a metaphor I can relate to having a large family. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, brothers, nephews, nieces and in-laws are all part of my life. When we get together the discussions are always centered at the kitchen table. They might be serious or benign but they happen while indulging in a variety of comfort foods and drinks. It is something I think of as unique despite it’s relative commonness. After tonight’s debate, however, I think Joe needs a new metaphor.
In tonight’s VP debate, Sarah Palin took over the issue of the “kitchen table”. In a classic move that few will herald, Palin looked through the camera to Americans everywhere and told them why she should be Vice President. She became, once again and without editing, the candidate we all can relate to in our homes. When she talked about not having health insurance or being a member of the proverbial middle class or even when she talked about her own family, Palin was talking about the last decade, slightly more. Palin was able to connect over that kitchen table with America. She was able to show through her own experience that as VP she would understand, in a way Joe Biden never could, what Americans are going through.
Joe Biden filled our ears with memories of a time in Scranton, a place he needs a GPS to find yet claims kinship with. He told the yarn about his dad’s lack of work in Scranton. He touched us all briefly with the story about his wife’s death but that is as close as he got to getting to the kitchen table. His experience with the proverbial middle class is experience he internalized when he observed his dad losing his job or encounters with blue collar Americans while on the campaign trail. Biden, and Obama, filled their kitchen table with promises for America but lack the personal insight to fulfill these promises in a meaningful way.
I know that I will be seeing my family soon enough and I will once again gather with them at the kitchen table when that time comes. I don’t know when Biden and Palin will once again have time to sit around their kitchen tables and discuss family matters. But I do know that when Biden hits the campaign trail again tomorrow, his bus will be a little bit lighter. Palin’s performance tonight gave her a clear victory and I can’t help but wonder if she put his kitchen table next to the lipstick she stole from Obama.