Bubbly Joe Biden vs. Attila the Republican

Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past inactive to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.

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176 Responses

  1. North says:

    I dunno Tom, Biden has a rep as a pretty plucky debater and I’ve not heard anything much about Ryan’s own debating skills (though he has stood his own in some roundtables).
    I doubt ol’ Joe is gonna take your advice nor do I think he should. The absolute last thing the Dem’s campaign wants is another debate where their candidate plays passive and lets the GOP candidate do all the talking.Report

    • wardsmith in reply to North says:

      “The absolute last thing the Dem’s campaign wants is another debate where their candidate plays passive and lets the GOP candidate do all the talking.”
      North, Obama spent three minutes talking MORE than Romney did (and CNN was kind enough to have a running clock just to prove it).. When he “had five seconds left” out of his two minute turn, he went on for another 1:30 blithely ignoring Leher’s pleas to cease and desist. But of course the Liberal line is he needed even /more/ time to continue to say nothing (or more importantly keep his opposition from having a chance to talk at all).

      It will be interesting tonight if as I suspect will happen, Ryan gets to debate TWO opponents, Joe Biden and the “neutral” moderator. After last week’s debacle, I know where I have my money for the next 3 debates. Yes the liberal media has a liberal media bias, yes the sky is often blue, yes the sun rises in the east. Yes liberal will deny this even exists. Yes journolist never happened (that was /so/ 2010).Report

      • North in reply to wardsmith says:

        Ward, Obama took more time absolutely. But he spent it blathering, mumbling and fumbling ineffectively in the weeds looking for his missing reading glasses while Romney carried off the show. Obama took more time, but Romney talked more, Romney communicated more. That’s not a criticism of Romney, it’s a stinging indictment of Obama.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to wardsmith says:

        Articles of faith. The Catechism.Report

  2. bookdragon says:

    This assumes Paul Ryan is brilliant. Facts not in evidence.

    Arrogant, otoh, definitely. Given that his numbers don’t add up and he can’t explain them using actual arithmetic, just a simple well-placed question might be the ticket to giving him rope to hang himself.Report

    • Morzer in reply to bookdragon says:

      Paul Ryan’s legislative achievements in 13 years of Congress:

      1 renamed post office
      1 tax break so that he can play with his bow and arrows in the woods on the tax-payers’ dime.

      Impressive by Republican standards, perhaps.Report

  3. Annelid Gustator says:

    there’s Joe floating around like a side of bacon

    That’s a funny line.Report

  4. Adevarul says:

    MSM (main sewer media) has been outed and proven to be totally in-the-bag for the LEFT, biased and without credibility. Afraid that Ryan will offer real substance, the MSM is prefacing all editorials…er news…with THIS REALLY DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING. Even though either of these men could become POTUS.
    Even the moderator for the VP debate is a shill. Do your research and then you will not be surprised if she maneuvers for Biden. Then there is the D factor. The Obama team continues to lie and say he “had a bad night” when he really spent the night trying to redefine (spin) Mitt Romney’s plans because he had NO substance of his own. Since that was obvious and he/Biden still cannot debate on their record, you can expect them to become shrill d icks with a media ready to pander to them. Watch for either or both of the BB Dem team to go to the gutter with false accusations as soon as they see they are losing the debate and do not be surprised if they pull out the race card.Report

  5. Michelle says:

    Despite his gaffes, Biden isn’t stupid and has done well in debates past. His was the most watched speech of the conventions. Ryan is over-rated as a wonk and has had a tough time defending Romney’s tax plans in interviews. His convention speech was widely criticized as being riddled with lies. Yet, the latest polls favor Ryan to win.

    So we’ll see. I find Ryan to be smarmy as hell, an Ayn Rand aficionado who’s spent his whole adult life working for government. Oh, the irony. Should be an interesting debate.Report

    • Robert Greer in reply to Michelle says:

      I agree that Ryan is overrated as a wonk, and you can bet your ass the Obama camp has been feeding charming Uncle Joe quotes from Ryan’s Randroid past. But Ryan is pretty winsome himself, and his felicity with numbers makes him a formidable bullshitter. I really have no idea what’s gonna happen tonight, though I doubt Ryan will blow out Biden, and the media will probably spin it as a Biden win because they thrive on keeping the race dramatic.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Michelle says:

      Ryan … has had a tough time defending Romney’s tax plans in interviews.

      As someone put it earlier this week, one of the two rules Ryan has to remember for tonight is “It’s not about you.” It’s not about the Ryan budget, or Ryan’s proposals for SS and Medicare and Medicaid, it’s about Romney. And the guy at the top of the ticket made a sharp turn back towards the center on a number of policy areas last week. Will Ryan be the staunch conservative? Or will he be supporting the same shift that Romney made?Report

  6. Aaron says:

    The idea of Ryan as some sort of conservative wizard that will make Democrats disappear is strange, and profoundly unfounded. But this? The idea that Career Politician Joe Biden, who has fought in multiple national elections, is going to get completely steamrollered by a six term congressman from Wisconsin, who won a noncompetitive, open Republican seat in a rural area, never won by less than 57%, has never been on the national stage before in any kind of adversarial way, and spent the entirety of his career until 2009 as a completely undistinguished backbencher is profoundly stupid.

    I’m not even saying that Biden is going to mop the floor with him — who knows? If I were a betting man, I would say the odds are strongly in Biden’s favor, though. This “analysis,” however, is so unfounded as to be embarrassing. There is no substance to this post, there is nothing here that would justify its existence. It is merely Tom Van Dyke saying, “My guy is great! Your guy stinks!” Is this the level of argumentation expected from frontpagers here? Because this is just pathetic.Report

  7. Burt Likko says:

    As a general rule, if you’re the sort of person who’s going to point out left-wing media bias, portray Biden as afraid of grappling with the facts and policies and charisma Ryan brings to the table, and portay Biden as a race-baiting buffoon, well, you’re probably already a Romney voter and really, nothing Ryan says and nothing Biden says and no misstep taken by the moderator and no spin or assessment after the debate is going to change your vote. You’re going to watch the debate, enjoy the spectacle of David using his handsome wonkishness to utterly demolish a hapless, sputtering Goliath.

    OTOH, if you’re the sort of person who sees Rep. Ryan as an empty suit who wither forfeited or never had any substance or credibility to begin with and has become a huckster selling nothing but false assurance that he’s done the math, Biden as a hardworking and dedicated public servant with a scrappy blue-collar debating style, and who will point out right-wing media bias, you’re likley an Obama voter and really, nothing Biden says and nothing Ryan says and no misstep taken by the moderator and no spin or assessment after the debate is going to change your vote. You’re going to watch the debate, enjoy the spectacle of David using his direct and comprehensive understanding of the facts and his superior experience to utterly demolish a dishonest, insincere Goliath.

    If neither of these paragraphs describes you, then chances are you either are one of the literally hundreds of people who hasn’t made up their minds yet, or you don’t think a vice-presidential debate is particularly important. It is, after all, an undercard, a couple of attack dogs snarling and biting at each other, the actual “winner” of which will be determined by the merits and flaws of other men concerning events well beyond the ability of the debaters to control or even meaningfully influence.

    As for me, I’m skipping the Clash of the Gnomes.Report

  8. DBrown says:

    Not sure if you are joking or serious about ryan the know zero on budgets trying to write one. His math would make a fouth grader laugh. I really hope you are joking.

    That aside, I do think ryan has some really good ideas for Medicare and SS.Report

    • MikeSchilling in reply to DBrown says:

      I don’t know how these rumors start. No matter how many times he’s called Heinrich Himmler “a true visionary and my greatest hero”, Ryan was never a member of the SS.Report

  9. damon says:

    “the guy on the train who everybody likes, good man. They already like you, Joe”

    Being liked is nice. But so what? You pick your leaders on this aspect? I’m sure that a lot of people liked the concentration camp guards in Germany in WWII. I’m sure lots of people like the TSA guy who did this:


  10. Burt Likko says:

    And regarding the Gerry Spence quote: Mr. Spence’s career is a powerful object lesson for attorneys. The lesson is “Pick winners.” As a plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr. Spence chooses which cases he takes on and which ones he doesn’t. He investigates them thoroughly first, gets to know his clients and puts together his case from start to finish before he ever files a thing in a court. Then he goes on to win. I don’t say this to disparage his skills as a litigator. I think that looking for cases you’re going to win, and thorough preparation, are good litigation skills and Mr. Spence is to be commended for exhibiting them so well. Truly, I admire him for that. Not every lawyer has the luxury of passing on cases with bad merits, is all I’m saying.

    But his quote indicates that he thinks he lost that case (early in his career). I can’t help but disagree. Yes, the lawyer makes a difference in the case. But not the decisive one. If Spence’s client lost that lawsuit, it wasn’t because Spence made himself dislikeable by beating up on people the jury found sympathetic. It was because of a problem with either Spence’s client or the merits of his client’s case. It’s good of him to share his missteps from early in his career but I think he drew the wrong lesson from this one. The mistake was picking a case with a flaw exploitable by the other side, not poor execution at trial — and the mistake is compounded by missing that lesson. At the end of the day, lawsuits are about the parties, not counsel, and my experience is that juries are smart enough to see beyond the attorneys to the actual people.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Another valid interpretation is that you can smash up the witnesses all you want, but you have to explain why that matters. You have to explain to the jury that the point of this case is not emotional grandstanding, but who has the evidence to support their assertions. You can’t just expect them to look at a crying man staggering away from the witness stand and think “a ha, this means that ConHugeCo no longer has any way to factually support their statements in Paragraph Seven-B!”Report

  11. Mike Schilling says:

    Biden is the guy who managed to debate Sarah Palin without rolling his eyes. Ryan should be a piece of cake.Report

    • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      I tend to agree. Still it’s good that Tom put up a post this bold and I applaud him for his bravery. Depending on how the debate goes this post could end up looking prescient or very foolish.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Does anyone remember anything about Biden in that particular debate? I’m not saying that to score any points for any side; I’m just thinking that using that debate as and indicator of anything seems awfully risky. There might not be two politicians in the world with more different styles than Palin and Ryan.Report

  12. DRS says:

    TVD, I certainly hope you wiped the underside of your desk after you wrote this.Report

    • Glyph in reply to DRS says:

      Classy! If I am interpreting this ‘joke’ correctly, is it safe to assume that if TVD were female, you’d speculate as to whether his ‘panties were wet’?Report

      • DRS in reply to Glyph says:

        It is never safe to assume anything.Report

        • Glyph in reply to DRS says:

          True. With that in mind – and I know that explaining a joke will usually ruin it – but I think I must have misunderstood, then, the point of your initial comment. Can you please explain it to me?Report

          • DRS in reply to Glyph says:

            Well, it’s pretty clear he’s pulling for Ryan.Report

            • Glyph in reply to DRS says:

              Then nope, I got it.

              And I reiterate, ‘Classy!’Report

            • Aaron in reply to DRS says:

              Well, it’s pretty clear he’s pulling for Ryan.

              I see what you did there.Report

            • NewDealer in reply to DRS says:

              Oh well played.Report

            • MikeSchilling in reply to DRS says:

              Very, very nice.Report

            • Glyph in reply to DRS says:


              Look, I enjoy a good joke as much as the next guy, and have been known to tread up to, and perhaps over into, tastelessness here myself (and: full credit where it’s due, the ‘pulling’ callback is funny – I actually had to restrain *myself* from a ‘well-played’ reply); but I hope that I have refrained from ever implying my interlocutors here were “whackin’ it”, based solely on their political opinions, however wrongheaded I might think them.

              It just seems to go past ‘basic civility, respect, and decency’ as alluded to above.

              And as I implied originally, I doubt if the crack went in the other direction, gender-wise, that people would feel that was cricket.

              Just one Glyph’s opinion.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Hmmm , I didn’t really see a ‘moral equivalent’ aspect at all. Just a common courtesy one. I have made masturbation references here, I am sure; but I have never, to my knowledge, implied my interlocutor’s political opinions implied something about their sexual proclivities or masturbatory habits.

                As linked, DRS implied that some basic commenting civility is desirable; if I am not mistaken, that comment was actually in indirect reference to TVD; it therefore struck me as ironic, when no such concomitant civility was proffered by DRS.

                Let me ask – if a female commenter expressed a preference for Obama or Biden, and I commented that they obviously must make her panties wet or sexually arouse her – that’s cricket to you? Or does that seem a bit out of bounds for a civil political discussion?Report

              • DRS in reply to Glyph says:

                …I have never, to my knowledge, implied my interlocutor’s political opinions implied something about their sexual proclivities or masturbatory habits.

                Other way around: the physical determined the political. And I don’t think I “implied”, I believe I stated.

                Let me ask – if a female commenter expressed a preference for Obama or Biden, and I commented that they obviously must make her panties wet or sexually arouse her – that’s cricket to you?

                If you can find a way to make it funny, go for it. Although the analogy isn’t quite as exact as you think. Many of the words used for strongly expressed declarations can also be enlisted as euphonisms for male sexual gratification; my initial comment made that connection explicitly as did my follow-up comment, which would be totally innocuous in any other context. But once you switch the context, you add the humour. Context matters a lot.Report

              • Glyph in reply to DRS says:

                No doubt we’ve both now spent way more time on this than it deserves, but here goes:

                Context matters a lot. Indeed it does. And in this scenario, what context says to me, is sauce for the gander likely ain’t sauce for the goose.

                Here, let me try to show what I mean:

                DRS: Biden’s a seasoned pol and debater, and will wipe the floor with Ryan.

                Glyph: DRS, I certainly hope you changed your wet panties after you wrote this.

                DRS: …

                Glyph: Because Biden turns you on, and you were masturbating!

                DRS: ….

                Glyph: Ha Ha! Get it?

                Not only do I seriously doubt that hypothetical exchange would be cool, here’s the thing about my/your initial comment: it’s not a double entendre. It’s just a single entendre. It’s an insult, not a joke, because it says that there is no reason, only presumably-uncontrollable sexual instinct and behavior, behind someone’s opinion. And so I stand by my contention that the initial comment lacks class, civility or comedy.

                I’ll give you the ‘pulling’ callback as comic, since that one’s a double entendre (and comedy covers a *lot* of sins – heck, it was almost enough to make me drop the whole thing – but as your straight man, I claim 40% of that one. 🙂

                Anyway, there was a lot of talk around here recently about civility and courtesy and such, and IIRC, you were part of those discussions.

                I felt the comment crossed a line, so I said something.Report

              • Burt Likko in reply to DRS says:

                Anyway, there was a lot of talk around here recently about civility and courtesy and such, and IIRC, you were part of those discussions.

                And I, for one, appreciate your doing so, Glyph. I doubt anyone is opposed to edgy jokes, at least in principle. DRS’ original comment had a lot of sourness which in my mind raised doubts about whether its intent was good-natured or sneering. It was certainly more sarcastic than witty (although the follow-up joke was quite clever). Giving DRS the benefit of the doubt is the charitable read, but it’s good to point out why charity needed to be exercised in the first place.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to DRS says:

                DRS: Biden’s a seasoned pol and debater, and will wipe the floor with Ryan.

                Glyph: DRS, I certainly hope you changed your wet panties after you wrote this.

                ITYM :
                Glyph: And after that he can wipe off the seat of your chair.Report

              • Glyph in reply to DRS says:

                Dagnabbit, Mike, no. That’s not what I mean. And you know why? Because what you wrote, unsurprisingly, is an actual joke. There’s the callback/recontextualization of wipe/wipe.

                Interestingly, it doesn’t really change the core concept though, so I have no idea if it still would strike people as insulting, or if the joke would overwhelm the implied insult. Like I said, funny/clever covers a lot of sins.

                It wouldn’t surprise me to find that there are scholarly papers on the nebulous boundary between ‘joke’ and ‘insult’ (as an aside, and you’ve been interacting with me long enough to know this, I think I do have an OK SOH – so my ‘I enjoy a joke as much as the next guy…’ line was not an attempt to claim an attribute I don’t have, it was an attempt to give DRS an ‘out’ – because all of us have made a joke that didn’t quite work, or went too far, or we just couldn’t control our contempt or irritation or tone enough to make it work, and so we inadvertently crossed the line into just being plain jerky.)

                If you ever decide to do a post here on comedy and how it works – because I think you probably understand it better intuitively than most anybody here – know that you will have at least one built-in audience member to read it.Report

              • Rufus F. in reply to DRS says:

                That’s easy- if I say it to you, it’s a ‘joke’; if you say it to me, it’s an ‘insult’.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to DRS says:

                And if TVD says it to anybody, it’s an outrage.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to DRS says:

                That’s easy- if a woman says it about a man, it’s a ‘joke’; if man says it about a woman, it’s an ‘sexism’.Report

              • Glyph in reply to DRS says:

                And if TVD says it to anybody, it’s an outrage.

                Can’t quite find the clip I need to reply to this, but this should get across the idea.Report

              • DRS in reply to DRS says:

                Are you calling me a jerk, Glyph? Because I don’t think I needed an “out” from anyone, and I certainly don’t think I need to apologize for any of my posts.Report

              • Glyph in reply to DRS says:

                Sigh. I don’t know if you’re a jerk, DRS. I just know that that particular comment struck me as pretty classless and jerky. You don’t owe *me* an apology, certainly. I simply meant an ‘out’ in the sense Burt indicated – that is, a charitable reading that yr initial comment was intended to come across as funny, rather than classless and jerky, but just missed the mark for whatever reason – something everyone has done at one time or another, me included.

                If you maintain that your initial comment was within the bounds of ‘civility, respect and decency’ – standards that you yourself have recently advocated for, as indicated at that link – and you have no idea how anyone could see it otherwise, then there is nothing more to say.Report

  13. joey jo jo says:

    a republican who can count? that ain’t paulie. he uses mcmegan’s calculator.Report

  14. DensityDuck says:

    Hey, remember that post where we were all agonizing about where the LoOG commenting community was going and what it meant that Tom Van Dyke posts always turned into such mudpits?Report

  15. Kazzy says:

    Tonight? I’ll take the Steelers and give the points.Report

  16. Stillwater says:

    Good post Tom. I’m not so sure, tho. It seems to me Biden will have to go on the offensive here, a little bit at least, even if he doesn’t want to. I don’t think that’s really his game, tho, and could quite likely backfire. Ryan could get away with excessive wonkishness because doing so would fill in the gaps left by Romney last Wed. I’m not sure Ryan can pull that off, tho: only the rare politician can be wonky, accessible and personable at the same time. Also, not much hinges on this debate for Romney-Ryan, whereas a poor performance by Biden accelerates the Mitt-mentum. Seems to me there’s more pressure on Joe to make a splash. Here’s my prediction/advice: Joe needs to dip his toes into wonkishness to derail what will in effect be bland assertions (ie. lack of wonk!) from Ryan.

    But what the hell do I know? I thought last Wednesday’s debate wouldn’t substantially move the dial.Report

  17. Glyph says:

    I wouldn’t count Joe out – based on this he seems like a tough guy.Report

  18. Rufus F. says:

    “Wonkier than the wonkiest wonk, and wonkage is the Democrat game—there is their worst nightmare, Milton Friedman meets Genghis Khan—a Republican who can count, with 0.0% body fat.”

    Well, as I think you’re alluding to in the last paragraph, wonky ain’t exactly the electorate’s happiest dream. Right? That was supposedly Obama’s big mistake in the debate- coming off as too stiff and wonky when people like fired up and feisty. So your suggested Biden strategy would be to let Ryan lull the crowd to sleep? Might work.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Rufus F. says:

      Romney made such a big impact because he was (or at least appeared to be) knowledgeable and decisive. I think that Ryan can do that too. Probably will. But I’m not being asked to vote for him. I’m being asked to vote for Romney. Ryan only needs to be good enough to assure me that if Romney is put out of office or killed, Ryan won’t be so awful that I have real fears that the West Wing will be aflame on Jan. 20, 2017. I’ve already satisfied myself that he meets this actually rather low threshold.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I really think the most likely outcome of this debate is the most boring one- that they’ll both do fine and it’ll be a tie.Report

        • Aaron in reply to Rufus F. says:

          I think you’re right, but I also think that the media, always hungry for a narrative change, especially this close to the election, will read that as a Biden “win” and will start talking about how Obama is bringing it back around — especially considering the swing state polling seems to have shown a pretty minimal impact.Report

          • Rufus F. in reply to Aaron says:

            Right, we’ll be hearing them come up with whatever they can to make it seem like a second act plot twist. Having now watched the debate, I think I was right. Both of them are competent men who can articulate their ideas clearly and forcefully, in spite of those who dreamed that Paul Ryan would be a cross between Ayn Rand and Montgomery Burns or those who fantasize that Biden is Frank Drebbin.Report

  19. Jesse Ewiak says:

    Ask Rudy Guiliani how good Joe Biden is as a debater, Tom. 😉Report

  20. BlaiseP says:

    I wouldn’t miss this Myrmidon Slugfest for all the world. Twice as good as dwarf hurling. Neither one of these loquacious oafs can keep their feet out of their mouths.Report

  21. Michael Drew says:

    I was expecting it to just be great entertainment. Turns out it’s for a lot of the marbles.

    Somehow less interesting.Report

  22. trizzlor says:

    I never thought much of Biden either way, but I watched him speaking at TAPS where he talks about coping with grief (full) and I got more out of it than probably any other political speech I’ve seen. Now, obviously, this isn’t really the VP’s role and I feel pretty foolish having any emotional resonance with a politician, but it still made a lot of the “Gaffe-machine Joe” humor seem pretty shallow.Report

    • Aaron in reply to trizzlor says:

      Well, every once in a while politicians are humans, too, and Biden did suffer a truly horrific loss. He seems to have come back from it in a way that is, to me, completely inexplicable, but very inspiring. He also has a talent for communicating that fact, something that I think a lot of conservatives (and Tom Van Dyke in particular) have a tendency to discount.

      I found Dave Weigel’s piece on Biden’s debating prowess pretty convincing, but then I guess I would. I also think that if Ryan can barely keep his temper with Chris Wallace, he might be a lot more hotheaded than his wonkish rep really accounts for.

      Actually, now that I think about it, Ryan reminds me of a guy I knew in college. We came from the same home town, but weren’t friends — his roommate was a mutual friend, though, so we ended up hanging out a fair bit. He worked out a lot, was a business major, fraternities, the whole thing. About the 180 degree opposite of what I was and did in college. He ended up working for a major insurance company after college, and one of his first jobs was denying claims in the aftermath of Katrina. My point was, he wasn’t the smartest person I’ve ever met, but he was extremely facile way with numbers and policies, but he had no head for complexities or for ethical considerations that went more than skin deep.

      I don’t know if he was a Rand fan — probably not, I don’t believe he ever opened a book that wasn’t required of him. I haven’t thought of him in years, but now that I do, Ryan reminds me exactly of him. It is not a flattering comparison.Report

      • trizzlor in reply to Aaron says:

        Great link Aaron. Over/under on weather he uses the “legitimate rape” gambit? With all of the talk of women’s rights in the DNC and from the PACs, and especially Romney’s recent triple-flip on abortion, this seems like ripe territory for Biden.Report

        • Aaron in reply to trizzlor says:

          I would say he leaves “legitimate rape” out of it. Seems like a lot of downside for something he can get at a lot more directly via Ryan’s own record on abortion and rape in the House. We’ll see, though. I do think it’s going to be a much more interesting debate than people are predicting.

          Also interesting is the fact that Biden is defending a record that is slightly unpopular in the aggregate but hugely popular in the particulars, and Ryan is defending a set of policy proposals that are slightly popular in broad strokes, but hideously unpopular in the particulars — which is why there aren’t many.Report

        • Kim in reply to trizzlor says:

          Under, way way under. Hit women, women’s issues hard. But steer as far clear of actual abortion as possible. Talk about invasive ultrasounds. Talk about “marital rape”. Talk about Lilly Ledbetter and Fair Pay.Report

          • trizzlor in reply to Kim says:

            Why steer clear? I feel like Romney’s lifelong confusion over his abortion views is a perfect way to strap Ryan’s unpopular social views to the campaign as a whole. Ryan is actually quite poor at defending Romney’s screw-ups. And I don’t how far ahead they’re thinking, but that also sets up Obama to hammer the same points in the Town Hall.Report

  23. NewDealer says:

    Well I suppose we all need to read some concern trolling every now and then.Report

  24. Kolohe says:


    After this, the Vice President was OK in my book.Report

  25. Michelle says:

    So, a debate actually broke out at this debate. And, when all is said and done, I think the consensus will be that Biden is the winner.Report

    • North in reply to Michelle says:

      Agreed, Biden won on points, expectation and presence. It wasn’t a blow out win, Ryan didn’t do too horribly, but Uncle Joe took him to the woodshed on a few things.Report

      • Wardsmith in reply to North says:

        In a /real/ debate Biden would have been disqualified for how often he rudely interrupted Ryan and being openly disrespectful. My wife walked in and said “What an asshole” language she /never/ uses. Biden wins on “flow” but Biden lost on class hands down. He monopolized the clock and even bullied the /woman/ moderator. I think he lost women votes (not the partisan women on this site of course but the 150 undecided left).Report

        • Roger in reply to Wardsmith says:

          I just talked to three independents and all three said they thought Biden did a great job on substance, but his smiling and laughing were disrespectful and rude. All three said they found him arrogant and that they were would extremely put off by this behavior.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Roger says:

            …and I just talked to three independent working class woman voters from southeastern Ohio and they said Biden was awesome. 😛 [/ancedotesarenotdata]Report

            • My call: Biden threw away a clear win with his bad behavior. In a way, he was more presidential in his manner and poetic approach, but also less presidential when he blew his cool about halfway through. Fortunately for him, he caught himself and finished strongly.

              For Ryan, he personally broke even, didn’t hurt himself or the ticket. I think had he been more combative on Biden, it would have hurt him—his best moments were in keeping his adult cool when Biden interrupted and misbehaved.

              In the attack dog column, Ryan landed a number of effective shots on President Obama, whereas Biden’s slams on Romney were demagogic, trying to exploit “47 percent” and other rhetoric, not substance.

              As with the Clint Eastwood thing, the GOP strategy is to get America to give itself permission to toss Obama and not be afraid of Romney-Ryan. Ryan furthered that plan, scoring some blows on Obama and doing nothing to hurt the GOP ticket.

              For Biden, Job One was stemming the bleeding after Obama’s own disastrous performance. This he comfortably achieved, so where Ryan broken even, Biden was a plus for his ticket and campaign.

              To judge who “won” the debate is academic, since it’s not really a debate, it’s just one more facet of the larger campaign. Biden helped his side more, so he gets the nod if we’re keeping score. But if “undecideds” tend to break for the challenger, Ryan may have made it easier to dump Obama and not be afraid of the alternative, so it can’t be said he lost either.

              [None of this gets into the actual substance. Not sure it matters. Also, CNN had one of those moment-to-moment tickers and females were not digging Joe’s act until he settled down at the end.]Report

            • Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              note: no big surprise there. scotch irish like some fightin’ words. 😉
              Bigger comment: This plays better to some folk than others. Iowa, Minnesota, all the nice midwestern states aren’t so happy with conduct like this.
              Other places expect some scrappiness.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Wardsmith says:

          Al Gore, in my mind, won the first debate with Bush, but everything came out all wrong because everyone was focused on his demeanor. I haven’t seen the debate, but it seems that’s what at least Biden’s critics are going to be going for here. It might work, though on the other hand I sort of get the sense that Biden can get away with things that Gore couldn’t.Report

  26. Liberty60 says:

    I will compose my thoughts in a bit.
    But first I need a cigarette.Report

  27. Aaron says:

    Lest we forget: there are almost no truly undecided voters. The only real thing Biden needed to do tonight was stop the leak. I would bet that he did it. The narrative tomorrow will either be that Biden took Ryan to the woodshed, or that he took Ryan to the woodshed and was mean about it. Eitherway, it’s a change from the last week, and what the Obama campaign was looking for. Now, they can get back to driving up their margin/coasting over the finish on the fundamentals.Report

    • Liberty60 in reply to Aaron says:

      There isn’t really this pool of calm dispassionate moderate voters who are looking for one more graph or statistic in order to make their decision.

      Its more which base is enthused, which base gets out the vote and who is able to drive the narrative and set the agenda.

      My takeaway is that the themes we will be talking about are abortion, Medicare, and taxes.
      All friendly turf for the Dems.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Aaron says:

      Also, snap polls, unless they show a giant victory are close to useless. Look at how the polling moves.Report

      • Liberty60 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        And honestly, the pundits spin it for the average folks; last week it was unanimous for Romney; this week much more for Biden.
        That has a strong affect on viewer opinions.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Yes, we anticipated the minimization move, Jesse. However, that Ryan could be seen as winning at all surprises me, is all. Joe’s bad behavior is the only explanation I have, b/c I though he did very well in every other facet and Ryan didn’t do particularly well in any of them—except adult comportment, where the younger man was the clear winner.

        Aside from the swimsuit competition, of course. 😉Report

        • Michelle in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Unlike Palin, Ryan didn’t come off as a lightweight. I don’t think he’s the brilliant wonk the right and media have made him out to be, but he’s not stupid and he seems personable enough. Whereas Palin did McCain more harm than good, I don’t think the same can be said of Ryan.Report

      • Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Snap Polls are quite useful in stopping beltway stupdiity. They wanted to call every single debate for McCain last time. But the polls showed Obama winning by big margins, so they had to shut up real quick.Report

  28. Jason M. says:

    Biden was passionate and engaged. Ryan spoke in pre-programmed talking points, like a pull-string campaign puppet. Clear win for Biden, although Ryan didn’t “lose” the way Obama did last week.Report

  29. Tod Kelly says:

    It would appear that this debate happened in the same bizarro world that last week’s presidential debate occurred in.Report

  30. Kazzy says:

    My amateur analysis tells me that both guys probably accomplished what they set out to do:
    – Biden reversed course on Obama’s stinker and went right at Ryan, hard. In his own special way, he made clear he wasn’t going to let “mularkey” fly.
    – Ryan held his own, was able to hammer home his big talking points, and was able to dodge some of the more pointed attacks, particularly from the moderator.

    My guess is that each side thinks they won. And I think they both might have, if we view “winning” as “achieving what you set out to achieve”.Report

  31. Mike Schilling says:

    I’m writing in Buster Posey.Report

  32. Rmass says:

    watching the debate the one thing i loved more than any other was biden acting like a real time fact check on the bs ryan is forced to defend by fact of being on the gorden gekko ticket. but have to say worst moment for the republican ticket was when Paul Ryan, Budget Wizard of The Village!, could not explain the math behind the “Plan” to cut rates 20%, spend 2 trillion more on war than the DOD wants, and not stick it to the middle class all while causing the deficit to disappear and jobs to appear like mana from heaven because well, because tax cuts are awesome dont ya know.

    for the man who wrote the house republican budget he sure don’t know what voodoo rmoney’s tax plan runs on. or if he knows he can’t say because it would kill his party chance to win.Report

  33. MaxL says:

    So, after watching the debate last night this is what I learned: Raising taxes on income over 1 million/year by 4% (or any amount) won’t ever fix the deficit. But closing tax loopholes only on incomes over 1 million per year *will* fix the deficit. And pay for a 5 trillion dollar a tax cut and leave a couple trillion left over for more defense spending. I think I like the magic math better. We should do that.Report

  34. Shazbot3 says:

    Just want topoint out that rudenes is not disliked in America. Americans say they don’t like rudeness, but as long as it’s not directed at them, they really, really love rudeness.

    Rudeness is strong, unapolegetic, bold, etc., etc. at least on TV.

    Name one person in the U.S., on TV, who is too rude to be loved?Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Shazbot3 says:

      Joe Biden. Last night. CNN.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Oh get off it. Plenty of people loved him just fine. Did he turn off some people? Probably. Did a lot of people like him and thought he won the debate, also yes. Did he excite the base of a party you clearly despise? Also yes.

        You are about one of the least intellectually honest hacks I have ever seen. At least many liberals/progressives/Democrats realized that Obama performed poorly in the first debate.
        There is no such honesty in the Republican Party.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to NewDealer says:

          Thx for your reply. I can respond only as Paul Ryan did to rudeness, to note it briefly and move on.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to NewDealer says:

          “Plenty of people loved him just fine. ”

          Biden manlyrage plusgood my Democrat bellyfeel.Report

          • NewDealer in reply to DensityDuck says:

            If Republicans can have their read meat, so can Democrats.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck says:

            Ryan mingily davening, simpletalking. Two plus two equals five yes five that’s right.

            It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?Report

      • Shazbot3 in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        He is the first and only American to be too rude on TV? Odd, no? Who are the other Americans who were too rude to be liked on TV?

        I tell you, Americans idealize rudeness. (Maybe not in their home, but in their leaders, their heroes, their entertainers, etc.)

        I suspect that many Americans can’t even detect rudeness very well.Report

        • LWA (Lib W Attitude) in reply to Shazbot3 says:

          Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Micheal Savage and Bill O’Reilly were all in agreement; that this nation would be ever so much more polite and civil if it weren’t for those femiNazis, Socialist-Marxist traitors, and babykilling atheist union thugs.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to LWA (Lib W Attitude) says:

            Romney thought he was smug, Jesse Helms thought he was vindictive, and Bill Frist thought he made statements that lacked evidence. Ronald Reagan thought he over-simplified matters. W thought he talked in slogans. Dick Cheney thought he showed disrespect for his opponent. Sarah Palin said this is what John Hancock was warning about when he invented electricity.Report

          • Shazbot3 in reply to LWA (Lib W Attitude) says:

            The rudeness of all these folks is why they are respected to the degree they are respected. Even liberals respect their “feistiness, and toughness,” and their “strong belief in their own principles” secretly wishing that their side had someone who was just as tough, i.e. just as rude. (This is the sole reason Ed Schultz was created in a rudeness factory.)

            I resubmit that rudeness is valued by almost all Americans in most contexts.

            I don’t want to take the typical position and say that Brits, and Canadians, and South Koreans, and Fins, and New Zealanders aren’t rude. Everyone can be rude. But one of the primary distinctions between Americans and other first world cultures is the attitude taken towards rudeness in a variety of contexts.

            I don’t mean to be making the typical foreigners complaint about rude Americans. Actually, I think the average American attitude towards rudeness is a good thing. Rudeness is honesty in most contexts, and honesty is a good thing. (Living in Canada, for example, with the heavy burden of following the rules of politeness is not always so nice.)

            But the idea that Biden is too rude doesn’t make sense in the U.S.Report