American Elephants

Two Debates Down, Two More to Go. by The Elephant's Child

Oh my. Joe Biden practiced so much for this debate, and drilled on so many possible responses that he was absolutely eager to show his ability to attack, to dominate, to win that he was practically bouncing up-and down in his chair. Me, Me Me, let me answer, let me talk. And in his attempt to win, he was rude, loud, sneering, angry, disrespectful of his opponent. He was obviously under a lot of pressure to perform.  And, if he allowed Paul Ryan to actually say anything, he might lose. He interrupted 82 times, someone said. You don ‘t win a debate by being obnoxious. Biden was even worse than Al Gore.

I write as a Paul Ryan fan. I think he’s terrific. So what liberals think, I don’t know.  Ryan made some excellent points, but I don’t know that they will be remembered. Moderator Martha Raddatz should have clamped down on Biden’s interrupting right at the start, which would have improved the whole debate. Some Obama supporters loved Biden’s passion and his dismissive “you’re not really worth debating” demeanor. Committed liberals liked his smiling and smirking at Ryan’s answers. I suspect the left will be really happy with Biden’s performance.

There were some really important things mentioned, but hard to explain in the debate format. Biden’s absolute failure at one of the most serious tasks he was given— the failure to get the status of forces agreement as we withdrew from Iraq was a terrible loss for us. The blood and treasure that the US spent there is now being frittered away. The mistake of announcing a timeline for our withdrawal for Afghanistan is huge. To understand, please watch Lara Logan’s speech below.

We are told that in any case, vice-presidential debates don’t matter. I think opinions are formed by all sorts of small things as well as the big ones. I suspect we will promptly forget the great answers and the clever responses, and remember only Joe Biden’s weird behavior. And maybe Paul Ryan’s great closure.

ADDENDUM: I loved this comment: “I would never have thought it possible. Joe Biden has made it possible that a young man who is 30 years younger seem like a responsible, seasoned statesman.”

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