October 11, 2012

So many times the build-up for the vice-presidential debate outweighs the actual event and the impact it ultimately has on the presidential race. Still, for a political hound like yours truly it was an entertaining 90 minutes, although I doubt a sizeable number of viewers stayed around for the whole event (more on that later). Debates are often characterized by “winners” and “losers”, and/or whether they “moved the needle” or not. In this case, I doubt the needle was moved at all, which means: a) a charging Mitt Romney will likely not see his momentum in the polls halted much – if at all, and b) the amount of pressure on Barack Obama to not just show up, but decisively win the next presidential debate just increased exponentially.

So what did I think about the debate? Let’s look at it from three perspectives – Joe Biden’s Paul Ryan’s, and moderator Martha Raddatz’s.

In my view, whatever points Joe Biden might have won on substance were hopelessly lost amidst his disgraceful performance. I mean, is this what we get from a Vice President during a debate? Derisive laughter, condescension, ridicule, smirks, jeering, and eyes rolling? Hell, I can do that. Make no mistake about it: Biden did what his base demanded he do following Barack Obama’s non-appearance at last week’s debate. He showed up, was passionate and forceful about every liberal Democratic talking point: the rich can afford to pay more taxes, no touching of Social Security and Medicare (one of his outright lies), the aggressive defense of the Obama administration’s foreign policy and recent events in Libya (another outright lie), etc. He reminded me of an old Democratic lion in the Ted Kennedy vein: pompous, arrogant, and – yes – effective defender of a liberalism this country can no longer afford. It’s clear the guy knows his stuff – after decades at the center of Beltway politics how could you not? But it was all washed away by his crude and obnoxious antics that really did both he and his boss a great disservice. About halfway through, Tracey got up and said she couldn’t watch anymore of it. I have a feeling a lot of other independents felt the same way.

I’m sure a lot of conservatives are dismayed that Paul Ryan allowed Biden to so aggressively interrupt and demean him throughout the debate; just once I wish he had said something to the effect of “where did you learn to be so rude?”. But Ryan’s not that kind of guy. How he kept his temper and demeanor in check throughout the proceedings I’ll never know – I certainly couldn’t have done it, I’ll tell you that! Ryan was calm, collected, earnest, and somewhat wonkish throughout. Where Biden was constantly in your face, Ryan was deferential and respectful – almost to a fault – but he came across as competent, knowledgeable, and, most importantly, harmless. I think he often strayed too far into the weeds for his own good, and he could have done a better job of countering some of the whoppers that Biden told. At one point, when he was being ganged up on by both Biden and Martha Raddatz, I give the guy credit: he didn’t flich, he just kept to his message in a calm and collected way.

Martha Raddatz was awful, no two ways about it. As a blatant liberal Democrat partisan, she seemed incapable of betraying her personal liberal leanings. She really had it out for Ryan throughout the debate, constantly pressing him for detail while allowing Biden to pontificate, sneer, and hog the proceedings. At one point, it was hard to tell if there was any moderator at the debate at all when she and Biden kept tossing bombs at Ryan to force him into details about the most weedish of policy. Why Republicans always roll over and allow the Commission on Presidential Debates to choose such partisan losers to moderate these debates is beyond me.

So, what does it all mean, if anything? I would say the Romney campaign has to be pleased with the way the debate went. You look at all the problems this country faces – both domestic and foreign – and you have on one side a laughing, sneering, condescending jackass, and on the other an earnest, detail-oriented policy wonk who “gets” the seriousness of it all. In an environment where people truly fear for their future, wonder where the jobs are, and wonder who has a better plan to get us out of this mess, I have to believe (and maybe I’m wrong) that this kind of $hit is no laughing matter. Serious times demand serious people, and Joe Biden did himself and Barack Obama a great disservice tonight. Biden might have stiffened his rabid liberal base, but I doubt his act played well with independents who expect a debate with a little more gravity, grace, respect, and professionalism from their politicians than Biden seemed capable of doing. Again, I might be wrong, but tonight’s debate will go down in history as a big mistake by the Obama campaign. All because of Biden the buffoon.


Hmmm… maybe for once I’m actually reading the tea leaves right. Can’t wait to see what Saturday Night Live does with this, it’s going to be outrageous.

And the initial post-debate polls go to Ryan. By this weekend, between this debate and this, it’ll be an unmitigated disaster for the Obama team. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 21:53 | Comments (2)
  1. I don’t know why networks bother to have Stephanie Cutter on. She’s an idiot with a capital “I”.

    I think Joe Scarborough cut her segment short the other day when she began her response by saying that the poll numbers hadn’t really moved since the last debate. Even Mika B. was incredulous at that statement.

    It wasn’t long before they said goodbye to Cutter.

    Comment by Dave Richard — October 12, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  2. Stephanie Cutter gives pathological liars a bad name. I wonder what she’s like in person. Is she cute? 🙂

    Comment by The Great Whire Shank — October 12, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

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