BOSTON, October 12, 2012 – The 2012 Vice Presidential debate from Centre College, Danville, Kentucky had the potential to be one of the great vice presidential debates of all time. Instead it was one of the worst.
The format was fantastic. Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan were seated at a table, a format whose intent is to reduce bombast and promote more of a calm discussion. This was the format for the 2000 Vice Presidential debate between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman, which remains the gold standard in debates from a substance and tone standpoint.
Yet even a format specifically designed to encourage civilized discussion could not take place. Congressman Ryan was calm, cerebral, polite, and serious. Vice President Biden was not. He acted like the drunken lout at the bar who cannot stop rambling long after everybody else has moved to a different table.
Mr. Biden was rude, condescending, and downright obnoxious.
He repeatedly interrupted Mr. Ryan and spent good chunks of the debate laughing, smirking, and sighing like a five year old child not getting his way. His behavior made Al Gore in 2000 seem polite.
Mr. Biden even sparred with moderator Martha Raddatz, which made zero sense since she spent the whole night trying to help him. President Obama was a guest at her wedding, and she made no pretense about her liberal biases, which was reminiscent of Beth Reinhard of the National Journal in her obvious bias.
Jim Lehrer moderated the first presidential debate, showing why he is one of the best. Mr. Lehrer was criticized for “letting too much go,” but this was a good thing. The candidates should be allowed to spar back and forth. It is called a debate for a reason.
Cutting Paul Ryan off in mid-sentence, Ms. Raddatz would let Mr. Biden ramble on for several minutes, and as in the Presidential debate Obama/Biden ticket was given the edge in time allotted.
It did not matter. CNN poll numbers released in the last hour show Mr. Ryan won, 47%-44%. And make no mistake, that 3% is going to matter.
Despite Mr. Ryan having to overcome Mr. Biden and the moderator, he did so by showing the world who he is. Paul Ryan is a first-rate intellect with a deep understanding of policy issues and a unique ability to communicate complex facts in a simple and intelligible manner.
Mr. Biden well he acted like an abusive bully in a bar fight. He is the administrations attack dog and he takes his role seriously. After Mr. Obama had his clock cleaned by Mr. Romney, Mr. Biden was given orders to bring fire back to a campaign that was being accused, even by liberals, of becoming complacent and listless.
Mr. Biden was not there to speak to Middle America. His purpose was to fire up the hard left basket cases at MSNBC who prefer belligerence, bellicosity, and bluster to decency, civility, and humanity.
Following the Presidential debate, MSNBC-Chris Matthews complaint that Mr. Obama was not hateful enough. He did not take Mr. Romney and rip his eyes out.
Mr. Biden did not make that mistake. He kept referring to Mr. Ryan as his “friend,” which was not meant as a term of endearment but as an insult of the “you are anything but” ilk, while claiming that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan do not care about people and would rather let them die than help average Americans.
Mr. Ryan kept discussing policy, while Mr. Biden nearly burst a few blood vessels from self-righteous indignation. Which based on his health history could be a dangerous for the man sitting one step from the Oval Office — for now. Read A stroke away from the presidency—Joe Biden’s Obamacare hypocrisy
In typical liberal fashion, Biden kept insisting that Romney and Ryan were liars without offering a single specific verifiable example of an actual lie. Mr. Biden’s source was himself, which was also his verification.
Credit where due, Ms. Raddatz did start out tough by asking if Libya was a massive intelligence failure, which would seem almost a gift to Mr. Ryan; Until she let Mr. Biden off the hook when he issued a platitude about “getting to the bottom of this.”
As they are getting to the bottom of Fast and Furious one might surmise.
Biden crudely interrupted early and often, blathering “That’s a bunch of malarkey,” and “That’s not true.” Then he stammered for a few moments unable to get out a word on several occasions.
Biden said of Romney and Ryan that “These guys bet against America all the time.” Really? The men who volunteered to save the Salt Lake City Olympics and a decent man from middle America bet against America “all the time.” Just think about that.
As for the original question, Biden blamed the intelligence community and said they changed their assessment on Libya. This is totally untrue, and Mr. Biden knows it.
He actually said “We did not know they wanted more security.” It is his job and he should have known and his statement is a lie. Isn’t he the foreign policy V.P. chosen to make up for then candidate Obama’s lack of experience?
Mr. Ryan caught him and said that “There were requests for more security. Those requests were not honored.”
When the moderator asked about a military strike on Iran, Mr. Biden made the entire world laugh with him by insisting that sanctions were working. The key question asked by the moderator was whether a military strike was worse than Iran getting a nuclear bomb.
While Mr. Biden chuckled, Mr. Ryan was insisting that Iran is nowhere close to getting a bomb. Maybe Mr. Biden secretly is an Iranian Mullah, because they were laughing as loudly as he was.
Mr. Biden actually asked “What more can the president do, stand before the United Nations?”
The correct answer to that question would be “Something. Anything. Yes, if that is what it takes.”
Biden says that Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu has been his friend of 39 years, and called criticism of the Obama hostility toward Bibi and Israel as “a bunch of stuff” insisting “We will have the world behind us, and that matters.”
People at this point could have reasonably asked what world Mr. Biden was referring to, or what color the sky and the pie in that sky in that world is.
Ms. Raddatz asked if the candidates could get unemployment under 6%, and how long it would take if they could. Mr. Biden had an unfortunately truthful moment when he admitted “I don’t know how long it will take.” He then switched the subject to the false claim that the Obama administration “rescued General Motors.”
Biden actually said of Romney and Ryan that “It’s about time they take responsibility.” In making this statement, Mr. Biden did not mention the he and President Obama have been running the country for the last four years or that the responsibility of which he speak sits on their desk, for now.
Struggling to make any shot he could land, Mr. Biden then mentioned Grover Norquist. At some point in the evening when he really needed to break the desperation emergency glass, he trotted out a gratuitous cheap shot at Sarah Palin.
Underscoring the Obama-Reid-Wasserman-Schultz-MSNBC civility tone, Biden said that Republicans “are holding hostage the middle class tax cut.” With Mr. Ryan pointing out that we are going in the wrong direction. “This is not what a real recovery looks like.”
As for Romney, Ryan noted that “He gave 30% of his money to charity, more than both of us combined.”
The best laugh line of the night came when Biden tried to bring up the 47% remark that got Romney in hot water.
Ryan deflected it superbly by saying that “As the Vice President knows, sometimes the words come out the wrong way.”
Or they are taped for the world to hear.
Biden continued the cliche and hyperbole trains with moldy oldies such as “We saved one million jobs” and “I’ve never met two guys who are more down on America.”
He said things would be better if Republicans “got out of the way” and “Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me a policy.”
Mr. Ryan kept trying to offer policy prescriptions, but it was tough hearing every word over the static of his two opponents at the table, one who was supposed to be an impartial referee.
Ryan did remind everyone of those things we should not forget; “Let’s not forget that they came in with one party control,” and yet they could not get government under control. Ryan mentioned “90 billion in pork” to cronies and “100 separate criminal investigations.”
Joe kept interrupting. Then he mentioned Moodys, not noticing the irony that Standard and Poors downgraded America’s credit rating on Obama’s watch.
Ryan asked “Where were the five million green jobs being created?” Which is not answerable so Raddatz shifted to entitlements. Do the programs have to change?
Ryan responded “Absolutely.” Ryan pointed out that Medicare was being raided for Obamacare and while Ryan spoke seriously Biden kept laughing.
Biden said “Folks, follow your instincts…Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad.”
Mr. Ryan finally had enough of Mr. Biden’s behavior, telling him “Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under duress to make up a lost round.” He told Biden to stop interrupting him.
Biden laughed, sighed, and stared at the sky. The moderator asked why we could not raise the Medicare age like we did with Social Security. Biden did not answer the question, instead criticizing the Ryan voucher plan.
Ryan quoted Obama’s 2008 comments about scare tactics. Biden kept interrupting. “Folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this?”
Ryan responded that “This is what politicians do when you don’t have a record to run on.” Raddatz asked about taxes, and bumbling stumbling Joe made up the number “800 million billion,” a point of hilarity for debate watchers.
He again said Republicans were “holding hostage” middle class tax cuts. Biden then confused 250 million with 250 thousand.
Ryan noted that Romney’s plan to cut taxes and grow the economy will create “7 million jobs.” He also ably exposed the class warfare argument by reminding us all that: “Taxing the rich at 100% will fund government for 98 days. There are not enough rich people to pay for all of their spending.”
Biden insisted that supply-side economics are “Not mathematically possible” to which Ryan pointed out that JFK and Reagan employed it, and it worked. Mr. Biden then snarked “So now your John Kennedy,” which is an asinine statement as Mr. Ryan was simply pointing out that the program does indeed work, and has worked.
The statement was a sound byte; it was un-gentlemanly and insulting.
Ryan also said that coming together requires honest efforts. “I understand you guys are not used to doing bipartisan deals.” No duh.
Raddatz showed her bias on Afghanistan, by forcefully asking why we do not just leave now. Ryan again showed why he was the only adult in the room. “We cannot lose the gains we’ve gotten.” Ryan pointed out that we should listen to the Generals more regarding troop levels.
Biden said “Martha, let’s keep our eye on the ball.” As usual, nobody had any idea what he was talking about. Biden claimed that the Obama administration “decimated aL Qaeda,” which is factually false. They have spread around the globe.
Just ask Ambassador Stevens and the men killed in Syria on 9/11/2012.
Ryan cited the “Absolute unraveling of the Obama foreign policy.”
He is against a hard deadline of retreat from Afghanistan that has zero flexibility because “We don’t want to broadcast to our enemies, ‘wait us out, and you can then come back.’”
“We don’t want Our allies to trust us less and our enemies emboldened.”
Raddatz wanted to know if the Obama surge ended early due to political over military concerns. Biden responded by attacking the moderator and saying “You be a little straight with me here too.”
Ryan calmly explained weather conditions and how pulling fighters out early puts them at risk. Raddatz asked why Syria was different.
Biden stated the obvious to even the oblivious. “It’s a different country.” Then he stammered while criticizing Romney. He said the other side should speak up but they had to wait for Mr. Biden to stop talking.
Ryan pointed out that “We wouldn’t refer to Assad as a reformer while he is murdering his own citizens.”
He pointed out the Obama flexibility comment about Vladimir Putin. Or that one year after Obama said Assad should go, he is still slaughtering his own people.
Ryan pointed out that working through Kofi Annan at the United Nations gave Assad more time. Biden said “My friend never answers the questions” after Ryan just did.
Raddatz asked What happens if Assad does not fall.
Ryan accurately explained that Iran would have its best ally, and our credibility would be shot. We should engage in intervention only in “the national security interests of the American people,” Ryan says.
Humanitarian concerns do not justify ground troops.
Things devolved into touchy-feely claptrap when the candidates were asked to talk personally about their religion.
Ryan spoke about why he is pro-life and said “I respect people who don’t agree with me on this.” He made exceptions on abortion for rape, incest, and life and health of the mother.
Ryan mentioned the assault on religious liberties and mentioned Biden’s support for China’s one child policy.
Biden said that he accepts the Church’s doctrine but will not enforce it as American law. Biden stated that no religious institutions had to cover contraception.
This is patently and completely untrue. Read Catholics sue Obama over birth control mandate - New York Daily from May 2012. Obviously Mr. Biden has memory issues.
Which led Mr. Ryan to ask “If the churches agree with you, why would they keep suing you?”
Biden then invoked Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia because apparently the Sarah Palin emergency magic bullet had already been used up and he had nothing else to grow a beanstalk.
Raddatz asked another waste of a question about a soldier lamenting the tone of the campaign, as if Obama and Biden have any interest in getting out of the gutter.
Biden babbled about Romney’s 47% remark. Then he babbled about Super PACs. Romney only cares about the wealthy. Romney makes “slipshod comments.”
Ryan pointed out that Obama is all about “Attack, defame, blame.” He cited Obama lies. “You can keep your health care.” “I won’t raise taxes on the middle class.” He’ll “cut the deficit.”
“Leaders run to problems to fix problems. Obama has not put out a credible plan. We have a plan. Obama has a speech. This administration, we get speeches, not leadership.”
Biden claimed that the Ryan budgets “eviscerate” what people care about.
Raddatz asked the candidates What they could give this country
Ryan offered “Honesty.” “Solutions to problems.” “Pro-growth policies.”
Biden said “My record stands for itself, everybody knows what I mean.”
At that moment he may have admitted to wanting the Romney campaign to win the election. Then Joe meandered about “Leveling the playing field. Look at my record.”
Yes, with Mr. Obama, he has certainly leveled everything in sight. He has leveled everything except the American people.
The closing statements began with the typical whining from Biden about how Obama “inherited a God-awful circumstance.” Biden then said “You probably detected my frustration with their attitude toward the American people,” and the post debate spin rotated just a bit faster.
What Americans detected in this debate was Mr. Biden’s condescending attitude and abominable behavior that excites MSNBC but turns off the American people.
Ryan summed it up best by concluding that “President Obama, he had his chance. He made his choices.” “Obama’s policies have failed, 15% of Americans are in poverty. “You deserve better. Mitt Romney wants to earn your support.”
“With a jobs crisis in America, wouldn’t it be nice to have a job creator in the White House?”
“We will not blame others for the next four years, we will take responsibility.”
Polls, even those from liberal outlets, showed that Mr. Ryan won the debate, although by a smaller margin than the shellacking Romney gave Obama.
CNN Politics reports that “Forty-eight percent of voters who watched the vice presidential debate think that Rep. Paul Ryan won the showdown, according to a CNN/ORC International nationwide poll conducted right after Thursday night’s faceoff.”
Yet what really translated on this night was that Paul Ryan showed why he is ready to be a leader. Joe Biden showed that quality at the 2012 Democratic Convention. His speech was him at his finest.
During this debate, he was one rung below what could be considered a human being and it just continued his legacy of name calling, dropping f-bombs, and gaffes about slavery, Indians and convenience stores saying “In Delaware you can’t go into a 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts without a slight Indian accent.”
Human beings do not act like he does. They do not behave this way. And sitting Vice Presidents certainly should not.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS
Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at TYGRRRR EXPRESS
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