Last night was the Vice Presidential Debate. We expected Joe Biden to be...well...Joe Biden. What I didn't expect was for Biff Tannen to show up and try to turn Paul Ryan (unsuccessfully) into George McFly.
To get into a little bit of Rhetoric Nerd-speak, what Vice President Biden used was Proof by Verbosity. Essentially this is a rhetorical fallacy where one shouts down his opponent instead of allowing his ideas to stand for themselves. Joe Jessup-Biden showed up. He sat there and railed at someone who deserved respect as if that would win him points. In the process, while being verbose, Biden also spread on the lies nice and thick.
- Biden repeated statements that their intelligence after the Benghazi attack said that it was a spontaneous response to a video, and then later their intelligence was updated. Not so. The State Department officials who testified to congress have said they knew within ONE DAY that it was a terrorist attack.
- Biden repeated the lie that "letting the Bush tax cuts expire" for "millionaires" would not hit small businesses. Actually, Biden's "millionaires" include couples that earn a total of $250,000 per year. (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, $250,000 does not equal $1,000,000.)
- Biden repeated the lie that no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, would be forced under Obamacare to provide contraception.
- Biden claimed he voted against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Actually, he voted for them.
There were many more, and you can read about them on Breitbart.com.
All Biden did was make a fool out of himself. So let's talk about the other two participants in the debate. First, the moderator, Martha Raddatz. She was clearly in the tank for Biden. She allowed Biden to interrupt Paul Ryan 82 times in the debate, often allowing Biden to trample his opponent's attempts to respond. Raddatz herself interrupted Paul Ryan 34 times. She also clearly failed, and it is my contention did so intentionally, did not reign in Biden.
Liberals are claiming that this was the liberal response to Governor Romney's intellectual trouncing of President Obama in the first Presidential debate. However, Governor Romney did not shout down President Obama and did not interrupt him 82 times. Romney simply let Obama talk and then explained why he was wrong.
Then there was Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan was confident. He was packed with facts. (Liberals will of course argue this point, because they love to break out liberal fact-checkers who always call out conservatives but rarely do liberals. They will say "They are nonpartisan!" ignoring the fact that so is MoveOn.org calls themselves nonpartisan too.) Congressman Ryan's performance reminded me of watching the fight at the end of Rocky II. Joe Biden was Apollo Creed, punching and punching and punching (albeit with far less skill than Creed did) and Ryan managed to take the hits then hit back. At the end, it was Ryan who hit a knockout blow with his closing statement. He ultimately explained the difference between his that Biden failed to do.
Ultimately, the debate seems to have been received by a whole lot of people including Independents and women as the mean old geezer beating up the nice young man who lives next door and snow blows your driveway in the winter. One article worded it this way: "Angry Joe and Martha vs. that nice Ryan fellow from Accounting."
At the end of the day, this is not helpful for the Obama campaign. Governor Romney remains in the lead. President Obama isn't able to successfully go toe to toe with Mitt Romney and his calm, adult facts. Make no mistake about it: In terms of public perception, Paul Ryan won the day.