I watched the Vice-Presidential debate last night and it was interesting. Paul Ryan turned out to be knowledgeable, well spoken, sincere, and young. For the first time in my life, there is a candidate for the highest office in the land who seems younger than me. I know Ryan can’t be much younger than me and still qualify as a Vice-Presidential candidate and a quick check on Wikipedia shows that he is about a year younger than I am, still he came across as almost boyish. I half expected his voice to crack. Still, for all his youth he carried himself with dignity.
If Paul Ryan was the boy wonder, than Joe Biden was Mr. Wilson, that cantankerous old man who is always yelling at the kids to get off his lawn. He was rude and disrespectful, continually interrupting Ryan and even the moderator. At first, while Ryan was speaking, Biden kept grinning and even laughing, even when the topic was as serious as Iran’s possible acquisition of nuclear weapons. He all but called Ryan a liar several times. As the debate went on Biden became less jolly and more angry, shouting all of his answers and generally behaving like a jackass. Strangely, Ryan remained calm and poised and did his best to get his points across. That couldn’t have been easy for him.
Who won this debate? I am not sure. I think Ryan did the better job but I am prejudiced, not just because Ryan is the Republican, but also because I think Biden acted like a bullying jerk. I do not like bullying jerks.
I imagine that the more devoted Democrats think that Biden did a terrific job. No doubt, they are boasting to one another that Biden stood up to Ryan’s lies, he kept attacking him, etc. But then, these are the sort of people who think that it is appropriate to tell a 12 year-old boy his parents should have aborted him because they have a Romney sign in their yard, or to tweet about assassinating Mitt Romney. I am not sure sure how Biden’s behavior will be seen by more normal people. It would seem that Biden hasn’t impressed the people of Iowa.
The Vice-Presidential debate probably won’t change the dynamics of the race much. After all, no one really pays much attention to the Vice-President. I do think that Biden’s debate behavior reflects very badly upon him. It is obvious that he has no respect for the dignity of the office he holds, nor with his generally buffoonish demeanor, can he ever be taken seriously as a leader. If Obama is reelected, he had better be extra careful with his health and safety. Speaking of Obama, Joe Biden’s behavior also reflects badly on the one who picked him as his running mate. I hope that Obama does not draw the wrong lesson from yesterday evening’s debate and decide that he needs to be aggressive. Obama should be more assertive than he was in the first debate and he needs to take the debates more seriously, but if he attempts to be a bullying jerk, like Biden, it will cost him.