October 12, 2012
BFD: Biden's Failed DebateBy William L. Gensert
This administration does not lend itself well to the split screen and the VP might very well need psychiatric care.
His smile was frightening. For most of the night Joe Biden looked like the Joker -- Nicholson not Ledger.
After 3 ½ years of Biden's playing the fool, it is hard to remember he was once considered a serious man, a serious politician. But...Barack wasn't looking for a serious politician -- he wanted a court jester -- and that's what he got.
Now, after playing the fool for so long he has become the fool. Yet, in the debate he wanted to again be a serious man -- or at least play one on TV. He clearly showed why Clint Eastwood called him the "intellect" of the Democrat Party.
Yet this debate wasn't like the one last week, where the loss was thorough and complete. On substance, it was Joseph Biden's most coherent moment in many years. If not for his behavior, which bordered on bizarre, he probably could have claimed at least a tie.
But, people don't like hyper-aggressive, rude leaders. Voters want to like their politicians and it's hard to like the nasty guy in the room.
And another thing, blaming the administration's disastrous response to the killing of our Libyan Ambassador on the intelligence community was singularly unwise. After all, who knows better how to clandestinely leak information damaging to the administration than a spy?
Biden leaned heavily on:
"Middle class, middle class, middle class..."
"47%, 47%, 47%..."
"My friend says, my friend will, my friend believes..."
...It wasn't long before it was obvious he was not using "friend" affectionately.
When Ryan mentioned Romney's generosity, Biden aired out his inner Soptic and talked about his late wife and child, both killed in a car accident years ago. I thought it was inappropriate, but from his face and demeanor, it seemed to be his one truly sincere moment.
The gaffes rolled on:
"I always say what I mean."
"4% green jobs didn't go under."
"Every senior, 55 and below."
Ryan smiled and Joe smirked.
Ryan explained and Joe seethed.
Ryan spoke and Biden looked manic.
Biden had a problem waiting his turn. Reince Priebus, head of the RNC said the Vice President interrupted Ryan "82 times." When he wasn't interrupting, he was visibly snarling at a composed Ryan.
He seemed to want America to see the contempt he had for "his friend." Rude and cranky, he laughed and made funny faces. He was constantly rolling his eyes, his face wild with derision, while waving his pen like a light saber from Star Wars.
During the last debate the President acted like a corpse. In this debate Biden played a zombie from 28 Days Later. I half expected him to lean over and take a bite out of Ryan's arm with those scarily white teeth.
...And why did he have such trouble with the numbers?
"800 million, billion dollars"
"2 billion, 2 trillion."
There is nothing like being precise.
And why is everyone from this administration so angry all the time? Aren't they the incumbents?
At one point, raising his voice to just below scream level, Biden lectured and seemed to almost threaten the moderator with that pen. Has anyone wielded a pen with such malice since Bob Dole? At least he used the pen as a prop to cover up for a war injury; Biden seemed to think it was a weapon.
When Ryan spoke and the split screen disappeared, banging and snorting could be heard. I don't think it was the moderator. Was this Biden's sleep apnea or perhaps latent Tourette Syndrome?
Of course, Biden is no Barack Obama and I would say until the closing portion, on the merits of their arguments at least, it was a tie.
But, once Biden whined about only getting 15 seconds to Ryan's 40 seconds, it was over. If you yell at a moderator during a debate, you better make sure you are in the right, which Martha Raddatz pointed out firmly he wasn't.
Incidentally, Raddatz did a decent job, as did Jim Lehrer last week. She interrupted Ryan more than once to keep him from making his point, or scoring points, but she asked pointed questions and at least challenged Biden on occasion. That's the problem with Barack and Joe; they can't even play nice with people who are clearly their allies.
In the battle of the closing statements, Ryan clearly won.
In the end, Ryan was measured, concise and serious, while Biden was manic, rude and Joker-like...again, Nicholson not Ledger.
Watching both Biden's and Obama's performances at the 2 debates, an undecided voter would still be clueless as to what the administration is proposing for a second term, except perhaps to move "forward" headlong into the same policies of the last 3 ½ years.
Many voters will find that scarier than big, bad Biden's manic grin.
FOLLOW US ON