Bullied by Biden
VP’s malicious debate performance overshadows win
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Joe Biden is President Obama’s pit bull, and someone needs to find him a muzzle.
Last Thursday night pitted Big Joe Biden – the man who made the phrase “big f**king deal” famous and whose off-the-cuff comments have prompted hundreds of Top 10 Gaffes lists – and Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan in the Vice Presidential Debate – a battle of wits, talking points and comebacks.
What were those talking points again?
The response to Thursday’s debate was pretty well split when the issues were pulled apart, but in almost every argument, the topic of conversation was not how the issues were presented and debated on but on Biden’s brilliant repertoire of reactions. Watching Joe’s face contort as Paul Ryan talked about vouchers and seeing him throw back his head in laughter to Ryan’s remarks about the attacks on the Benghazi consulate could have only been better joined by a bucket of popcorn.
Attacks on our Libyan Embassy … what a laugh riot.
Even when Biden made clear and concise points, his actions were too loud to hear them. More people were focused on his faces than facts.
Biden knew his debate performance was crucial after President Obama’s failure to attack during his first debate. Like most people expected Obama to win over Romney, an equal majority thought Ryan would beat Biden.
Instead, Biden came out strong and hitt hard. He was the anti-Obama, looking like an experienced debater and speaking his mind in a way in which the president refused to.
Ryan did all right for his first time on the national stage, but Biden showed up to make up some ground. Biden also knew what he was talking about and at times, Ryan was obviously overwhelmed. It was better than staying silent and staring at his shoes like the president did, but he overcompensated in an attempt to make up for his running mate.
Paul Ryan is somebody who quite clearly wants to be president someday and performed accordingly – as a political golden boy, clean-cut and precise, trying to make up for a lifetime of fake press opportunities and cheesy P90X photo shoots. Biden – a man who after his nomination in 2008 said Hillary Clinton would make a better vice president than he would – also performed accordingly to his fiery, all-or-nothing, no-nonsense character.
In doing so, he forgot part of politics is showmanship, and despite knowing what it is like to perform on the main stage, Biden came out looking like a bully who didn’t know how to carry himself properly. If you watched the debate, you probably thought Biden spent the week prior looking in the mirror practicing his “can you believe this guy” look.
Romney and Biden were both aggressive in their respective debates. The difference was Romney came out cool and collected, delivering zingers and shutting the president up; Biden had a comeback for every comment, but he was maliciously aggressive, coming off more and more condescending and patronizing with every laugh.
But people were impressed by it. If you browsed Twitter during the debate, you would’ve found thousands of tweets talking about how badly Biden burned Ryan. But did he really? Was the quality of Biden’s discussion that much superior to Ryan’s where it was a clear Biden win? Or perhaps were we just distracted by a good show?
The importance of politics lies in how good the rhetoric is – specifically how they conduct the debate rather than the details of it – and the Obama campaign is better at that than the Romney campaign. But we need to look past the smoke and mirrors and actually listen to what the candidates say rather than just how they say it.
The VP Debate had no genuine importance other than to set the stage for this week’s Presidential Debate, but everyone left the Biden-Ryan showdown feeling like the score was even at 1-1. The only way the audience can collectively be entertained, it seems, is if the candidates up the ante every time, and if that’s the case, Obama and Romney better have a three-ring show prepared for the final debate.