Paul Ryan probably wished he was home watching the MLB playoffs rather than sitting next to Joe Biden at last night’s vice presidential debate. Initial ratings suggest that viewership for the showdown was nothing special, unlike the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney which got a huge number and appears to have been a game-changer.
According to one estimate, the Wisconsin Congressman was interrupted 82 times by Biden. Ryan was also interrupted 31 times by the so-called objective moderator Martha Raddatz. Although he was unable to get all his points out, Ryan managed to keep his composure during this onslaught.
Biden may have won the debate or it may have been a draw. A CNN poll even indicated that 48 percent thought Paul Ryan won as compared to 44 percent to Biden (a CNBC poll gave it to Ryan by 56 percent to 36 percent)
It’s very unlikely that Biden convinced any undecided voters to gravitate towards the Democrat ticket, however.
The vice president and his handlers apparently have never practiced Tai Chi or another one of the internal arts. If they had, they would know that overbearing, condescending, and overly aggressive behavior is, in the long run, a losing proposition. To put it another way, the best leader is not necessarily the one with the loudest voice as an Apprentice cast member once said.
Joe Biden seemed to go down the same failed path as Al Gore in the October 4, 2004, presidential debate. No one remembers what was said during that event. Everyone who watched remembers, however, how Gore grunted and sighed while then-Texas Governor George W. Bush was speaking. Bush went on to serve two terms in the White House.
Instapundit‘s Ed Driscoll asserted that “Joe Biden’s weird performance last night, [was] a cross between The Joker, Dennis Hopper’s nitrous-fueled Frank Booth in Blue Velvet, and if you’ll pardon the insult to the two aforementioned men, Al Gore.”
Even mainstream media stalwart Tom Brokaw thought some of Biden’s behavior last night was inappropriate.
“Because really, who needed a Sesame Street character to grab all the post-debate attention when there was Joe Biden’s smile- or laugh, chuckle, grimace, grin, smirk, or ‘goofy face,’ according to various descriptions?”
Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal described Biden’s behavior in this way:
“Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster…
“National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn’t work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.”
Political strategist Dick Morris, who guided Bill Clinton to the White House in two elections, wrote this on his website:
“Vice president Joe Biden showed last night that he is not qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. There was no dignity, circumspection, courtesy, civility, or presidentiality in his performance in the debate with GOP contender Congressman Paul Ryan.
“Biden came over as a windbag and a demagogue. His constant interruptions, his phony and appropriate laughter and his grimace of a smile framed his bombast and looked like a schoolboy making faces at a rival.”
Rick Wilson of the Ricochet website provided a more satirical analysis of Biden’s debate performance:
“If you want a gibbering, snorting, mumbling clown with a rictus-grin locked on his mug a heartbeat away from controlling America’s nuclear arsenal, Joe Biden’s your guy.”
Similarly, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said this on FNC: “I thought Joe Biden came across like a guy you meet at a cocktail party or some political event, an obnoxious drunk who’s loud and boisterous and interrupts every conversation.”
If you watched the debate, what do you think of the way VP Joe Biden conducted himself?