VP Debate Preview: Will Biden Gaffe? Will Palin Be Set Free?

Everyone from Bill Kristol to Mitt Romney to Byron York has advice for the McCain camp: free Sarah Palin.

The wisdom -- or is it hope -- circulating among savvy conservatives is that she has been hampered by too little access and too little practice in mixing it up with the media. The MSM and liberal pundits have a different take: she is unprepared and dim-witted, so there was good reason to hide her from the press. (Meanwhile, John McCain, in a joint interview with Palin, told Katie Couric it was "gotcha" journalism which made Palin appear out of her league.)

At the VP debate on Thursday night we will find out which is more accurate: was she a brilliant choice incompetently managed, or an awful selection which now has come back to haunt John McCain?

The McCain team is in need of a lift. McCain is clearly behind and could use a conversation changer and a shift of momentum which a surprising performance by Palin might provide. What could she do to turn around her own fortunes and that of her ticket? Several things would help.

First, she needs to take it to her opponent on what is supposed to be Joe Biden's greatest strength: foreign policy. She's no Henry Kissinger but she can remind viewers that Biden championed the unworkable Iraq partition idea and opposed the surge. But it is in Biden's criticism of Barack Obama that she might really score points. Biden after all inveighed against Obama's vote to cut off funding for the troops in Iraq and was critical of his promise to meet unconditionally with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Between Biden and Obama they have supported just about every bad national security idea (e.g., opposition to Kyl-Lieberman, endless talks with Iran, opposition to FISA) in the last eight years. Palin can make that point.

Second, she should use Biden's "higher taxes are patriotic" to do what McCain didn't do enough of in his own debate: hone in on the dangers of a tax increase during a recession and suggest that if Obama is really bent on all that domestic spending many more people than the "rich" will get a tax hike. Why, with the Fed and Treasury madly trying to pump liquidity into the private sector, would Obama suck it back out with a tax hike? It's illogical and bad economics.