Flipping through the post-debate analysis on television, I heard a lot of familar-sounding analysis about speaking styles, memorable attack lines, energy levels, and the like. But on MSNBC, I kept hearing Chris Matthews dwelling about Sarah Palin's suggestion that the vice president have more authority.

(He's referring to this statement: "I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.")

In fact, as I type this, Matthews is talking about it again. And he's cross-examining Roger Simon--who's just finished praising Palin--on whether he's willing to defend that proposition. Simon is dismissing the line of inquiry, saying it's not a serious idea.

It may not be serious, but good for Matthews anyway. It's refreshing to hear a major media personality focusing on the substance of what the candidates said, and the type of leadership they would bring to the White House, rather than on the thoroughly ridiculous speculation over which line played best in Peioria.

--Jonathan Cohn