My Quick Take on the Debate

October 12, 2012

I got bounced off Twitter again tonight for what I suppose was excessive tweeting so here is my summary take at the end:

Biden was disgracefully rude; and the moderator both allowed him to get away with it and contributed to that disgraceful atmosphere herself, through her own interruptions and her own persistent, and argumentative follow-ups with Ryan — not Biden. Every time Ryan gained momentum, making a substantive point, Biden strategically interrupted him, and many times Ryan was scoring the moderator interrupted him too, as if she were collaborating with Joe. People may think Biden won on passion and was equal or had a slight edge on substance, but I am convinced it wouldn’t have been as close on substance if Biden had not been permitted to talk over Ryan as much. Biden did do a fairly good job defending an indefensible record, and Ryan acquitted himself very well on substance, despite being repeatedly interrupted. Biden was derisive, sneering and disrespectful even concerning the most sensitive subjects – from Iran to abortion. I wish Ryan had not been so deferential, but from what I’m seeing of initial shock polls, it appears that Biden’s strategy has backfired. People should not make the mistake of thinking Biden’s passion led to his rudeness. This was clearly premeditated in an effort to counter what the Obama analysts deemed was Obama’s greatest failing in the debate. Ryan came across as very respectful, thoughtful, and intelligent. I think Ryan began very well, and closed very well – because he was allowed to develop and articulate his points with less interruption. When the playing field was level, i.e, free of interruption – which moments were few and far between — Ryan bested Biden. I think this debate tees up the next two for Romney and Obama and I think Obama will try to be as aggressive as Biden, but probably less rude, once he discovers the public didn’t approve of it. Biden did help Obama in the sense of providing him the best possible answers, though factually incorrect and demagogic, for Obama’s failed record. So Biden’s performance, as flawed as it was, will not help Team Obama tonight and may have hurt it, but it will help Obama prepare for the next two debates.