Debate Watch: Obama's Party @ Tap Tap

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South Beach's favorite Haitian restaurant

One thing is certain after Sarah Palin's St. Louis showdown with Joe Biden, or at least after watching the debate with 30 to 40 Democrats packed into a stuffy room above Tap Tap:

Liberals may have finally found the accent and vernacular they hate even more than the Bushism.

With every vaguely Fargo-sounding "darn right!", "doggone" and "ya know," a collective groan of dismay rumbled from the depths of Tap Tap's crowd.

When Palin somehow twisted the English language to include both "Joe Sixpack" and "hockey moms" in the same sentence, a near riot of pure horror and incredulity broke out.

At some points, it hardly seemed to matter what Palin was saying. Whenever she started her answer with a folksy aphorism or a jokesy, "Oh there ya go again, Joe," it was literally impossible to hear the rest of her answer over the jeers.

Call it a liberal bias in the crowd, but there was a clear feeling in this room that Palin's language, her bizarre sentence constructions, her deliberately mispronounced "nuk-u-lurs," were more than just evidence of her rural Alaskan origins. In this crowd, at least, they were a direct link to another politician known for his unique use of the English language and improper relationship with the word "nuclear."

Still, for all the disgust in the air, many of the young Miamians lingering in Tap Tap's colorfully painted bar after the debate drinking Prestige and Coronas agreed that Palin hadn't done quite as badly as they'd expected.

That may just be a measure of their expectations after the fiery, horrific train wreck of an interview with Katie Couric.

And there's no doubt that Joe Biden worked his Delaware magic on the partisan crowd, which went nuts for his zings from that "bridge to nowhere" crack to trampling all over Palin on foreign policy to the catch in his throat when talking about his son who was critically injured in a car accident.

Bush comparisons aside, the signature cheer of the night came when Biden slammed Dick Cheney and Palin for suggesting that she shared his expanded view of the vice president's powers.

Palin's folksy connections to Bush may have earned her scorn in this crowd, but bring up the true evil genuis of the last eight years? Better watch out, Guv.

-- Tim Elfrink


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