Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Lot Of Malarkey!

When I heard Vice President Biden begin one of his early responses with that phrase (or something similar), I knew it would be a rough-and-tumble evening, and that Young Boy Paul Ryan was going to be pressed to his limit just to break even. In that, I was not disappointed: Biden turned Ryan every way but loose, even allowing for debate moderator Martha Raddatz's repeated (IMHO) favoring of Ryan. (Face it: debate moderators among TV journalists are the punditry elite, and most of them are likely Republican. I expected nothing different. At least she wasn't as bad as Jim Lehrer.)

How did Ryan do? He did pretty well, for a green kid against a vastly more experienced opponent. But I think he failed to anticipate Biden's initiatives, frequently taken in the face of adversity and pursued to some occasionally devastating conclusions. Ryan clearly didn't anticipate questions about Mitt's 47% remarks, or his own 30% remarks, and Biden made him pay for that. I'm not sure Ryan anticipated a question so blunt about abortion and his Catholicism (or the effect it would have that Biden is also Catholic), and Ryan made himself pay for that, with a one- or two-second delay in beginning his response. People know where Rmoney and Ryan stand on abortion. When Ryan hesitated before answering Raddatz's question of whether women had anything to fear from his personal outlook, that slight delay, together with the momentarily distracted expression on his face, conveyed more than a thousand words would have. Ryan eventually managed to stammer out the Rmoney/Ryan position of the day on abortion (different from yesterday's position, which was in turn different from the day before's position) that abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape or incest. That's the first I've heard that out of Rmoney or Ryan, and Ryan sounded very uncomfortable with it, as well he should be... it doesn't help that mere weeks ago, he answered a similar question with the unequivocal statement, "I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life." Biden of course pointed this out, and inquired, speaking to the camera (i.e., to women in the TV audience), "Who do you trust?" Well, duh.

Post-debate, the usual range of pundits on TV delivered the expected answers. One commentator whose very initials spell "NO" said she was disappointed that Biden was not behaving, as I've heard the quip, like an NPR (nice, polite Republican). Most people seemed to feel that Biden "won" in the sense that he gave Democrats some reason to feel that the campaign momentum was not totally lost in last Wednesday's debate. Time will tell if there was any sustained effect; vice presidential debates rarely change anyone's mind about whom to vote for. But I'll take all the help I can get under the circumstances, considering the super-PAC dollars being dumped into the race from the now unfettered opposition.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Josh Marshall had a significant thought:

After the debate ended, Republicans were calling it a draw and Democrats were calling it a strong win for Biden. That tells you all you need to know.

Yet I don’t think any of those things compare to this: Biden made the whole Democratic argument — on policy and values and he hit Romney really everywhere Democrats wanted him to. He left nothing unsaid. You can agree with those points or not. But this was exceedingly important for recovering the damage from last week’s debate when many Obama supporters simply felt that Obama wasn’t willing or able or something to make the case Democrats around the country are hyped up to make. Why didn’t you say this? Why’d you let him get away with that?

Biden said it all. And for Democrats around the country that was extremely important.

That's about the size of it. Biden serviced the base, and that was the most important thing he could have done tonight.


  1. Please do a Google image search of the term "completely wrong".
    [«completely wrong» pictures]
    and see what it returns..

    1. Done.
      Searching Google for
      ... "completely wrong" pictures
      yesterday must have yielded pages and pages of links to Mitt Romney pics.

      Today, the same search yields pages and pages of links to anecdotes about how searching for
      ... "completely wrong" yields Mitt Romney pics.

      I never meta search result I didn't like. ;-)



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