Matthew Yglesias gives an uncharacteristically inside-baseball prediction about tomorrow’s debate:
Meanwhile, if you watch Palin’s interviews you’ll see that she’s perfectly capable of parrying an initial question with some nonsense and then shifting to her pre-prepared talking points. What was so devastating about the Katie Couric interview is that Couric would gently – very gently – prod Palin with follow-ups that revealed she doesn’t know anything about anything. But with this cloud of suspicion hanging over her, Ifill will probably treat Palin with kid gloves and she’ll be able to turn in the sort of competent performances she offered on the Hugh Hewitt and Sean Hannity shows.
That may be how it plays with the decideds, who are either delighted or repulsed by the talking points. But, for most people, the moderator — Ifill — serves as a surrogate or proxie. The questions she asks, she asks on their behalf. Her questions are their questions. She is the person that the undecided audience is going to identify most with.
So, if Palin deflects and declaims, she risks that the undecideds in the audience will view her failure to answer questions as an insult of sorts. They’ll be thinking, “Hey, I’d really like to know the answer to that question.”
My prediction? If Palin indeed avoids answering the question and gets into packaged attack mode, the pundits will award her points for “hitting themes,” but they’ll learn that the audience found her slippery and evasive.