Shorter Question Everything
I was literally – LITERALLY, Joe! – on the edge of my seat last night as I watched the VP debate. It was riveting and such a change from the 1st presidential debate. Not only because of Old Handsome Joe, but the moderator, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, was fantastic. I can only wish that these were the types of questions, the type of engagement that took place during the first debate. No softballs here and I have to say, I found it refreshing. She pressed, she questioned, she prodded, and when necessary, she reined the two of them in. In a word, she moderated. Nice to see.
Joe was fantastic which is what I expected. People on the right like to paint him as a gaffe prone buffoon but I think they did that at their peril last night. Ryan wasn’t as big a liar as Romney (I’m sure he’ll get there. Rev. Sharpton referred to him as a ‘fibber’ – a sort of a little liar, compared to Romney) but he was well coached to get quite a few in. Not as many as were in his speech before the RNC, but then he had to do this on the fly. Aside from the fibs, what Ryan mostly did was evade and try to run out the time on his questions – filibuster the debate. Both the moderator and Joe kept him nicely in check.
Ryan looked out of his depth on foreign policy, which isn’t surprising, although he did show that he’s managed to correctly pronounce foreign place names. So goody for him, I suppose. But it doesn’t change the idea that he doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about.
Even on those things he should be knowledgeable about – health care and taxes and the economy – he avoided answering, even when pressed by the moderator on specifics.
By the end of the night, when the topic turned to reproductive rights, it should be a deciding moment for every woman in the US. This is Ryan trying to put a positive spin on it. This is him putting the best face on it, and it still sounds terrifying. Think on that.
Obviously, I believe Joe Biden walked away with that debate. The right wing is having a pearl clutching fit over Joe being Joe and smiling. That’s what they’ve got.
I’m hoping this stops the hand-wringing.
• Complete Vice Presidential Debate 2012: Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan – Oct 11, 2012 – Elections 2012
Some observations – I’m sure there will be a hell of a lot more in the coming week!
• The one thing you don’t address — the one you know better than to pursue — the one that must be avoided at all costs — the one that must not even be mentioned in a debate with Joe Biden is a tragic car accident. The attempt to elicit sympathy for Romney by anecdotal proxy is a poor enough of a play. The decision to do so via an anecdote about a tragic car accident in a debate with Joe Biden means you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power. RYAN: “Mitt Romney’s a car guy. They keep misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed.”
This was humiliating enough, but when they started talking about war and peace, specifically in Afghanistan, Ryan looked like a toddler trying to cross the Hindu Kush.
He stammered. He vanished into his syntax. He gave Biden the chance to ask him if he preferred that American soldiers carry the fighting in the worst parts of the country rather than Afghan troops, a devastating comeback for which Ryan had no answer. He kept rambling about maintaining the country’s “credibility” until, if you closed your eyes, he started to sound like Robert McNamara in 1965. And when Raddatz asked him, deftly, what would be worse, another war in the Middle East or Iran with a nuclear bomb, he leaped in precipitously with the latter, while about 75 percent of the country, including the two other people on stage with him, looked at Ryan as though he’d lost his mind. He did, however, demonstrate a certain talent for pronouncing long foreign words that his briefers had taught him on Tuesday. Also, he explained winter.
For years, Paul Ryan has been the shining champion of some really terrible ideas, and of a dystopian vision of the political commonwealth in which the poor starve and the elderly die ghastly, impoverished deaths, while all the essential elements of a permanent American oligarchy were put in place. This has garnered him loving notices from a lot of people who should have known better. The ideas he could explain were bad enough, but the profound ignorance he displayed on Thursday night on a number of important questions, including when and where the United States might wind up going to war next, and his blithe dismissal of any demand that he be specific about where he and his running mate are planning to take the country generally, was so positively terrifying that it calls into question Romney’s judgment for putting this unqualified greenhorn on the ticket at all. Joe Biden laughed at him? Of course, he did. The only other option was to hand him a participation ribbon and take him to Burger King for lunch.
You know what’s the difference between Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan?
[Charles P. Pierce/esquire.com]
• “We don’t think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination.” – Ryan. So, Paul Ryan would stack the courts with conservative ideologues, but in his vision, he doesn’t want courts in a position to uphold women’s constitutionally-protected rights anyway — preferring instead that Congress and the White House start restricting Americans’ reproductive choices [as Ryan has already done. It neatly bypasses a court where at least a woman might get a word in, or where her rights might be considered].
• With approval ratings for Congress at an all time low, and with Congress being seen as obstructionist at every turn, maybe Ryan was on to something here: When Paul Ryan and Joe Biden take the debate stage tonight in Danville, Ky., the form of address the debate moderator is supposed to use with the VP’s opponent is “mister” instead of “congressman,” two sources confirmed to POLITICO.
• Biden v. Ryan – The Old Pro Takes On the Lying Kid: “That’s a lot of malarkey,” Biden said of Ryan’s lies — and then went on to slice and dice, smiling all the while. In a lively contrast to last week’s presidential debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, tonight’s match-up between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican rival Rep. Paul Ryan offered moments of riveting television as Biden used his populist persona to full effect against the wonkish and prevaricating Ryan.