After watching the vice presidential debate — linked above — I was absolutely flabbergasted at Joe Biden’s rudeness. Biden’s disrespectful attitude and the moderator’s unprofessional tendentiousness distracted from any meaningful discussion of the issues. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen at this political level. Biden was giggling like a schoolgirl after a gossip session at cheerleading practice, and he brazenly interrupted Paul Ryan approximately 5,438,348 times. It’s understandable to interrupt once or twice during a heated debate, but to strategically interrupt nearly every sentence to obfuscate the valid points being made by the opposition is astonishingly rude.
At times I felt the moderator, Martha Raddatz, was clearly tag-teaming with Biden. She would ask Ryan intricate questions requiring specifics — while Biden received no such tough questioning — and she refused to tell Biden to stop talking over Ryan. In other words, she refused to moderate the debate, which is required of a moderator. Raddatz allowed Biden free rein to completely dominate Ryan and stop him from finishing his sentences. After the fifth or sixth interruption, Ryan should have dropped the gentlemanly courtesy and gone to war with both Biden and Raddatz. Unfortunately, Ryan let the interruptions continue, and he was clearly thrown off his game. I expected much better rebuttals from Ryan, and he didn’t deliver the performance I expected of him.
One of Ryan’s most irritating flubs was on the abortion question. He had the opportunity in front of millions of people to expose the fact that Obama goes beyond the typical Democratic position of supporting abortion; Obama enters the realm of supporting infanticide. Instead of pointing out this fact, Ryan talked about Obama being sympathetic with China’s one-child policy. Who cares that Obama is sympathetic with China’s one-child policy when the man refuses to support legislation that would protect the lives of children that are born as a result of botched abortions? Moreover, Ryan didn’t adequately expose the nonsensical sophistry of Biden’s abortion position. Ryan literally let Biden get away with the following argument on abortion: “As a Catholic, I oppose abortion, but it’s A-OK if you choose to have one.” I have seen Ryan give speeches, and he is undeniably articulate. However, as a debater, he has shown that he has no killer instinct.
Overall, I believe Biden won this debate, but not without underhanded tactics. He won by constantly interrupting his opponent and with the help of biased moderation. With that said, part of the blame must go to Ryan. Given that the mainstream media clearly has a liberal bias, conservatives need to be exquisitely prepared for every scenario and expect anything to happen. Whoever prepped Ryan didn’t do a very good job of preparing him with respect to offering rebuttals. Biden clearly had the stronger rebuttals. There was one point in the debate that was really embarrassing, where Ryan cited Scranton’s increasing unemployment rate and said that increasing unemployment is happening all over the country. Such a clumsy argument from Ryan was immediately batted away by Biden who simply said unemployment has recently gone down nationally. (See the 24:00 mark.) A better formulation of the same argument would be to talk about the failure of the stimulus, with specific focus on what the Obama White House predicted their stimulus would do for the unemployment numbers versus where the unemployment numbers are now. Ryan’s clumsy argumentation allowed Biden to score cheap points on issues where Ryan’s positions were essentially accurate.
(Don’t expect this kind of tough-love analysis from other conservatives, though. They just enjoy screaming “MEDIA BIAS!” and behaving as though every conservative misfortune can be summarily blamed on the iniquitous liberal mainstream media.)
Despite Biden’s shocking misbehavior, he will benefit from this debate — and I doubt Ryan will. Ryan was completely dominated and subdued, and the post-debate conversation is about one man: Joe Biden. That’s not good. Biden made Ryan an irrelevancy at their debate—and Ryan unwisely let it happen by sitting politely like a gentleman while being pummeled by a relentless brawler. Unlike Obama, Ryan has no second or third chance to make it up.