Friday, October 12, 2012

VP Debate

The Debate:  My Take

I’m not sure what Biden was doing.  He actually did pretty well on some parts, but his condensing laughter and his constant interrupting made him a thoroughly unlikeable participant.  His performance was like watching a 40 yard pass play that gets called back for unsportsmanlike conduct.  

I’m almost wondering if he was trying to get Ryan to lose it on a national stage and then the campaign could say Ryan didn’t have the temperament to be president.  They could then drop Big Bird and show a video of Ryan being unpresidential.  To be perfectly honest that probably would have worked on me (I wouldn’t have been a cool as Paul Ryan was).   You have to give Ryan a lot of credit especially with the moderator failing to rein Biden in with his constant interrupting and even joining in and interrupting Ryan as well. 

I think Biden pumped up the Democratic base, but I think he hurt the ticket with independents and undecided.   Advantage Romney/Ryan. 

The Debate:  Peggy Noonan’s take

Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr.Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense

Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy!" he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere. Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore's sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting... 

In terms of content—the seriousness and strength of one's positions and the ability to argue for them—the debate was probably a draw, with both candidates having strong moments. But in terms of style, Mr. Biden was so childishly manipulative that it will be surprising if independents and undecideds liked what they saw.

National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn't work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance. 

After two debates here is my impression.  At the first debate it looked as if President Obama was medicated and almost comatose.  In the second debate it looked as if Joe Biden was off his meds and in a manic state.  The question for the Democrats in the third debate is will they get the dosage right this time? 

The Debate:  The Weekly Standard:  Biden Bombed

You don’t win a nationally televised debate by being rude and obnoxious.  You don’t win by interrupting your opponent time after time after time or by being a blowhard.  You don’t win with facial expressions, especially smirks or fake laughs, or by pretending to be utterly exasperated with what your opponent is saying.

And apparently Biden didn’t win.

Was Biden strategy a winning one?

I expected “table-pounding atmospherics” from Biden but I didn’t expect him to act like a total jackhole for fully 90 minutes. Give him credit for knowing his target audience, though: His task tonight was to get the left excited again after Obama fell into a semi-coma in Denver, and evincing utter disdain for Ryan — grimacing, shouting, laughing inappropriately, constantly interrupting, the total jackhole experience — is just what the doctor ordered. He might have irritated independents and undecideds, but probably not so much that it’ll change people’s votes. The Democrats needed someone to go out there and clown for liberals, and if there’s one thing this guy knows, it’s clowning.

So we have Obama in the first debate looking like someone who felt imposed upon to be there and we have Biden in the second debate looking like someone’s nasty old uncle.  I found Obama’s endorsement of Biden to be bad—“I couldn’t have been prouder of him?”  Perhaps with all the discussion about Sesame Street,  Oscar the Grouch was Biden’s inspiration.  

The Bully vs the Wonk

So now we know what Team Obama's comeback plan was following last week's defeat in the Presidential debate. Unleash Joe Biden to interrupt, filibuster,snarl, smirk and otherwise show contempt for Paul Ryan. The carnival act contributed to the least illuminating presidential or vice presidential debate of our lifetimes. 

From the opening bell, Mr. Biden seemed to take to heart the interpretation that President Obama offered this week of his debate performance—that he had been "too polite." That was not a problem for the Veep, whose marching orders were clearly to steamroll the overmatched moderator Martha Raddatz and dismiss everything Mr. Ryan said with a condescending sneer. 

Did Joe Biden Shore up the woman’s vote?

Apparently not.  What will people remember about this debate by the weekend?  Only a rude, obnoxious and condensing Biden and that’s exactly how they will remember him.

Do women like men being jerks?

After the calamity they experienced in last week’s presidential debate, liberals needed to be bucked up by the Obama campaign, and I think they got that tonight. It probably came at a real cost—I have a feeling that Biden’s hyper-aggressive and at times buffoonish performance (and perhaps especially his Joker grin, which seemed to me as much a product of nervousness as of intent) hurt the ticket some with independent voters and especially with women—but it was a price the Obama campaign is probably quite willing to pay given the situation they’re now in. This debate didn’t help them win persuadable voters, and it probably won’t move the polls in their direction, but it will calm liberals down and it was absolutely essential for them to do that. The MSNBC types needed someone to be a jerk toward Paul Ryan to his face, and they got it.

This may explain why the Catholic Church is suing the government

In last night debate, Biden made a strong statement which has been called into question by The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Joe Biden:  "With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. 

That is a fact. That is a fact." 

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain "religious employers." That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to "Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital," or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

Hmmm, I don’t think you want to lie to the American public about the church that defines you.  Because in doing so, it will define you as a liar. 

The Polls on the debate

Most polls and media talking heads gave the advantage in the vice presidential debate to GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, but said that Vice President Joe Biden also won by reviving Democratic morale following the disastrous Oct. 3 presidential debate.

A quick CNN poll of registered voters said 48 percent thought Ryan was the winner, while 44 percent thought Biden claimed the title. Sixty percent of CNN’s respondents said Ryan was presidential, and 53 percent said he was more likable.

A CNBC poll said that 56 percent thought Ryan was the winner, while 36 declared Biden to be the winner.

Florida Poll:  Romney up by 7

Barack Obama's lackluster debate performance last week has dramatically altered the presidential race in Florida, with Mitt Romney opening up a decisive 7 percentage point lead, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll.

Is Benghazi the nail in Obama’s coffin?

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time and the administration couldn’t have handled it worse. 

However, from the Obama administration’s point of view, the discussion of Libya these days is a bad thing. It seems clearer and clearer that the critics of the Libyan intervention had a better understanding of the risks and costs than the supporters.

And the resurgence of al-Qaeda in Libya also undermines the narrative the administration has tried to promote: that thanks to its intelligent and thoughtful policies terrorism is on its last legs.

And in last night debate, Biden’s argument seems to be it is un-American to question the administration on this.

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