Thursday, October 11, 2012

The VP Debate: Ryan As Road Kill

"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.


Anonymous said...

I disagree. It would have been nice to see Ryan punch back a bit, but I think the bluster only appealed to partisan dems. My wife's mother who is quite the centrist, said Biden was disgusting (and she likes him) and Ryan came off as a respectful young man who was very intelligent and appealing. She was very impressed that he was able to keep his cool throughout Biden's histrionics. I think that "keep his cool" will be the overriding thing many centrists/independents will take away from this debate. At the end of the day though, it does not move the needle, cause nobody really cares about the VPs.

GW said...

Disagreement noted - and I do hope that you are right.

Ex-Dissident said...

Not sure GW. I already decided who to vote for and the tag team approach by Biden and the moderator was maddening. I also wanted Ryan to tell both of them off, at times. However, this debate's purpose is to bring in the undecided voters. I am not sure how they reacted.

GW said...

Same here Vinny. If Ryan had shown some Reaganesque steel from the get go, he may not have stopped Biden, but he would have fared much, much better.

Bookworm said...

I don't think Ryan could have challenged Reagan, in part because he's so much younger than Biden. What was charming in Reagan would have been viewed as obnoxious in Ryan. Also, the single most frequent metaphor I'm seeing regarding Biden (and one I used myself) is that Biden was like a really loud, obnoxious drunk. He wasn't assertive, he was insane. Short of introducing a straight jacket into the proceedings, it's hard to stop someone like that.

So, while you may well be right (because you so often are), I hope you're not. I hope that people saw Biden as a crazed bully, and Ryan as a responsible individual.

BTW, thank you very much for the link.

GW said...

Dafydd at Big Lizards agrees with you, Book.

My experience has been that if you demand respect, you are much more likely, one, to get it, and two, to truly highlight the inappropriate behavior of the other party. I think Ryan could have channeled Reagan, that he would have been right to do so, and that if he had, it would have been a knock-out blow, made only more punishing if Biden kept it up.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is perfect and nor is our boy Ryan. 20/20 hindsight and all that. But I think that Smirky Malarkey McSmirk pissed off more people than he charmed as he showed us altogether too much of his newly re-ceramiced teeth.He looked like a man with a gun held to his head with the instruction to KEEP SMILING. The desperation showed. mara

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