Democrats are lauding him and Republicans are condemning him for his boorish, petty behavior and his constant interruptions. These debates are supposed to be about an exchange of ideas, giving the voters a chance to see where each candidate stands and to hear a rebuttal about what the other side is proposing. Vice President Biden seemed to be working against that. Then it hit me. Of course he is. This was a contrived performance. Joe Biden was an actor on stage. In the high stakes situation for the future of America, Joe Biden chose to become Alec Baldwin.
An acting performance by the man next in line to lead the free world. How else do you explain the complete lack of civility and decorum, the dismissive laugh, and Biden’s extra large Polident smile from the very first answer Ryan gave? Every mannerism was meant to convey the idea that Ryan was not to be taken seriously. It was evident in Biden’s condescending way in which he called Ryan “my friend”, his cartoonish waving of his arms, and the ever-present interruptions.
Why this performance and why now? He didn’t use this tactic with Sarah Palin four years ago. There are three reasons why Biden used every arrow in his quiver to try to paint Ryan as a liar, insincere, and wrong.
The first is that the Obama record on foreign policy and the economy is dismal. Facing someone who is as knowledgeable about the issues as Paul Ryan is, scares the Obama team to death. Towards the last part of the debate Biden challenged Ryan’s plan to cut tax rates and preserve middle class deductions at the same time. Biden says it’s not mathematically possible. Ryan says it is and begins his explanation by listing those administrations that have done it in the past. When he mentions Kennedy, Biden says “So now you’re Jack Kennedy?” Nice zinger, but the point was to derail Ryan’s rebuttal. It worked and Ryan never finished his explanation. And it was that way the whole debate. Every chance Biden got to stop Ryan from explaining the Romney/Ryan position, he took.
Reason number two is their record. Unemployment finally dipped down to the same level it was when Obama took office, gas prices have nearly doubled in that time, five trillion more in debt, the failed stimulus, the unpopular ObamaCare legislation, going around Congress to take out the work requirements for welfare and to give amnesty to 30 year old “children” of illegal immigrants, the doubling of the number of people on food stamps, our Libyan ambassador was killed, Obama’s Hot Mic incident with Russian
The less Biden had to defend these failures, the better. Ryan did his best to force Biden’s hand. But Biden, much like the Taliban in Afghanistan, knows exactly when time runs out, and all he had to do was get through the 90 minutes.
Lastly, there was Obama’s anemic show against Romney is their debate. The Democratic base was in the dumps. For Obama to have any chance of reelection he needs a huge turnout from his base. If they aren’t excited, then maybe they just stay home. Biden’s performance was red meat for the base. And to be fair; mission accomplished. The excuses and blame about why Obama failed in his debate have stopped. They have been replaced by the normal name calling and chest thumping.
But, the real question yet to be answered is “Did Biden convince the voters on the fence to vote for Obama?’ I think the answer is “No”.
Those people turned in, not to be entertained, but to be informed. These are Americans who are genuinely concerned about America. They desperately want to make the right decision. A lot of them voted for Obama last time, and wonder is they made a mistake then. The debate ended up drawing 51 million viewers. While not record setting, those are still very good numbers for the VP debate. And there was competition on other channels. The Yankees and Orioles were going at in game 4 of a best of 5, and the NFL Thursday Night Football game was on. The people who made the effort to watch, not the top of the tickets, but the guys you will hear next to nothing from in the next four years, really want answers.
So did those people who tuned in get their answers? I suppose if their ears were nimble enough to pick around Biden’s constant interruptions they got a few. But I found Biden’s performance very distracting and on many occasions wished Crazy Joe had a muzzle. The polls suggest I am not alone, with no clear winner being suggested by their aggregate. I have heard or read numerous interviews with the “man on the street”. Those committed to one side or the other thought their man won. Normal enough. But, those who genuinely seemed to have not made up their mind commented on Biden’s childish behavior more often than any issue or question.
I think that many more of them will be persuaded to vote for the man who sent someone calm and respectful to represent him; as opposed to voting for the man who sent in the clowns.