Saturday, October 4, 2008

from the la times sports page

Lisa Guerrero on Joe Biden:
...Last night’s vice presidential debate was anticipated like a heavyweight prize fight. Pundits discussed "the matchup," who would deliver the most significant "blows" and would there be a "knockout?" Scores are kept, playbooks prepared and, eventually, one candidate would be deemed "the winner."

It was a great surprise then when the most significant moment of the night came not when the woman showed up and talked tough, but when the man showed emotion and choked up. It was an honest, unscripted and heart-wrenching display that hardly ever happens in politics, much less on live TV.

Joe Biden defended his paternal love by saying that "just because I am a man" he wouldn’t understand the devastation of possibly losing a child in a life-threatening situation. He was referring to the tragic car accident that killed his wife and daughter and left both of his sons seriously injured.

In 1972, a similar display of emotion ended Edmund Muskie’s presidential campaign. Voters didn’t respond well to his perceived lack of strength while defending his wife from political attacks.

But interestingly in last night’s debate, quite the opposite was true for Biden. The undecided voters in both the CNN and CBS polls scored that moment incredibly high for the senator from Delaware. That moment was particularly moving for fathers and those of us that were raised by single dads.

My mom died of cancer when she was 29 years old and left my father a young widower faced with raising my little brother and I alone. We were 8 and 6. When I get done writing this, I’m going to call my dad to ask if that was as moving for him as it was for me.

It’s unfair to assume that women have the monopoly on parental love or concern or even emotion.

I hope that while America’s sons enjoyed watching the Boys in Blue potentially seal the deal for the series, they were able to flip the channel and see a man whose brief emotional moment may have sealed the deal for the election.

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