"When a wise person debates with a fool, the fool rages and laughs, and there is no peace and quiet."
Proverbs 29:9 (An update from Maggie's Farm that deserves to be put at the top of this post)
Ryan should have been channeling Reagan tonight:
That is how you handle a jack ass at a debate. And Biden was the king of jack asses tonight, interrupting Ryan's answers a total of 82 times. As soon as Biden interrupted him the first or second time, Ryan should have, in no uncertain terms, told Biden to stop acting like a bar heckler and start acting like a VP in a national debate.
Instead, Ryan allowed himself to get run over by the two people he was debating - Biden and the moderator, Martha Raddatz. Raddatz, for her part, cut off Ryan 31 times, and Ryan simply accepted it. Ryan came off as credible and smart, but weak.
It was a debacle. And while I am sure Biden did his ticket little if any good with independents, the optics of this debate were horrendous. You can bet that the mainstream media - an arm of the Obama campaign this year - will be playing up this debate as a huge victory in the coming days. That might actually move the polls far more than the actual debate itself.
Biden was condescending to a degree I have never seen before in a national debate. When Biden wasn't interrupting Ryan, he was sneering, laughing and shaking his head at Ryan's answers. And when Ryan would then try to respond, he was stopped by the moderator. Wow - it was disgusting and maddening in equal measure.
As to the answers to questions, if someone didn't know the underlying facts, Biden probably won on pure bluster - and he told some whoppers in the process. For example, Biden claimed that the $716 billion dollar cut from Medicare under Obamacare is actually being applied to Medicare. He claimed that the administration was honestly mystified for a week about the nature of the Benghazi attack. And he claimed that Obamacare will not impact on Catholic rights of conscience under the First Amendment. Ryan's rebuttal to those points was disjointed at best by interruptions.
Update: According to the snap polls and Frank Lunz's focus group, the debate was a draw, not moving the needle at all among undecideds. That is a failure in my book. Ryan needs to grow a pair - immediately.
Update (from Instapundit):
MICHAEL BARONE: “The instant polls: CNBC had it Ryan 56%-36%, CBS Biden 50%-31%, CNN Ryan 48%-44%, . . . Not nearly as one-sided as the instant responses to the first presidential debate in Denver. My sense: Biden pumped up partisan Democrats, but failed to win over the voters who are taking a serious look at Romney at a point when he is up in national polls.”
Update: Bookworm Room has a ton of links to reactions to the debate, plus her own erudite thoughts.
Update: It appears that at least one of the whoppers Joe blurted out last night may have legs - and not in the left's favor. When discussion turned to Benghazi, Ryan hit the administration for their failure to provide a minimum level of security and the failure to answer the Consulate's calls for increased security. Biden's response - to paraphrase, the administration had no idea that such a situation existed, or that additional security had been requested and denied. That contradicts testimony before the House Oversight Committee the other day, and as Ed Morrissey points out:
Just taking Biden at his word, we’d have to believe that (a) the State Department had no special concern over personnel in eastern Libya, where the weak central government can’t even deploy a police force, (b) the White House was unaware that al-Qaeda had expanded its operations in the region, and (c) no one remembered that the anniversary of 9/11 was approaching. That’s a shocking level of incompetence to confess on national TV. Small wonder that CNN’s tracking group considered this Joe Biden’s lowest point of the debate.
Update: Linked at Crusader Rabbit.