Biden, Better Than He Looks

I can promise you one line that Joe Biden will get off tonight, even if he has to stand in the parking lot bellowing it: “General Motors is alive and Bin Laden is dead.”

Sure it’s trite. Sure it’s silly.  But have you noticed the media never really takes a hard whack at it?

It’s the secret of why Joe Biden — even if he steps in it — may have already won tonight’s debate.  He’s been (smartly) gaming the refs for the last 40 years.

As honest reporters in the DC media ecosystem will tell you, Joe Biden is one of the few surviving examples in Washington of the bluff, grinning, hail-fellow-well-met glad-handers. The guy works the media, and he’s good at it.  BBQs. Drinks. Dirty jokes.  The comic ineptitude masks a DC relationship player. 

He’s really, really good at it.  And he’s been doing it since Paul Ryan was in diapers. 

He’s convinced them that his borderline logorrhea is charm and that his folksy (often fabulist) anecdotes are substitutes for policy.  Biden has the superficial knowledge of the Congressional creature he has always been: notecards, not briefing books.  Talking points, not depth of knowledge are the markers of Biden’s style.  Well staffed, not well-considered.  A very senior official in the Coalition Provisional Authority once rolled his eyes as he recounted to me “Joseph of Arabia’s” wacky determination to split Iraq into three states. “The guy had no effing idea what he was asking for, but he was like a dog with a bone.”

For all that, he’s good at it.  He’s good at getting pass after pass from his fan club.

Biden is good in debates.  The Ryan guys went back and watched Biden in debate footage, and he’s disciplined, structured and not the clown or populist blowhard he plays on TV.  Do not underestimate Biden’s ability, honed in decades in the Senate and one hell of a lot of Democratic primary debates, to deliver a lot of hard hits tonight.

And don’t underestimate the power of his long, loving relationship with the Gang of 500 to give him a cushion to land on, even if he falls off the stage tonight.

More tonight.

  1. katievs

    Rick, this is brilliant.

    I still have good hope, though, that enough Americans are concerned enough to spot the difference between practiced politician and serious man.

  2. Keith Doherty

    I can’t help but feel a little concerned, partially because of articles like this:

    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/10/10/old-smirkin-joe

    (well, first it made me angry, but I’ve relaxed a bit and am mostly just “concerned”:-)

  3. Doc

    This is only about the 20th post/blog/article I’ve read today saying Biden wins tonight no matter what, as well as giving us 12 different reasons why the odds are stacked against Ryan.  I guess there is no need to watch.  Done deal.  Game over.  Same situation with the polls two weeks ago. Romney was done.  Obama was the declared winner.  No need to vote.  No need to follow the news or subsequent polls.  That changed didn’t it?  Why don’t we take a deep breath, pour ourselves our beverage of choice, settle in and watch, AND HAVE A LITTLE  #*$*%$ OPTIMISM FOT A CHANGE!!!

  4. Rick Wilson
    C

    Oh, I’m a chipper guy.

    Doc: This is only about the 20th post/blog/article I’ve read today saying Biden wins tonight no matter what, as well as giving us 12 different reasons why the odds are stacked against Ryan.  I guess there is no need to watch.  Done deal.  Game over.  Same situation with the polls two weeks ago. Romney was done.  Obama was the declared winner.  No need to vote.  No need to follow the news or subsequent polls.  That changed didn’t it?  Why don’t we take a deep breath, pour ourselves our beverage of choice, settle in and watch, AND HAVE A LITTLE  #*$*%$ OPTIMISM FOT A CHANGE!!! · 0 minutes ago

  5. Trace

    Take a deep breath and watch this.

  6. At The Rubicon
    Doc: This is only about the 20th post/blog/article I’ve read today saying Biden wins tonight no matter what, as well as giving us 12 different reasons why the odds are stacked against Ryan.  I guess there is no need to watch.  Done deal.  Game over.  Same situation with the polls two weeks ago. Romney was done.  Obama was the declared winner.  No need to vote.  No need to follow the news or subsequent polls.  That changed didn’t it?  Why don’t we take a deep breath, pour ourselves our beverage of choice, settle in and watch, AND HAVE A LITTLE  #*$*%$ OPTIMISM FOT A CHANGE!!! · 2 minutes ago

    Right on, Doc.  I am really tired of the fratricide. 

    These last 25 days before the election are the metaphorical equivalent of the Battle of the Bulge. If you are not willing to put everything you have into supporting Mitt and Paul then I say to you: go home now. Leave the field of battle to those of us willing to beat plowshares back into swords with our bare hands if necessary. At least we’ll know who we can really count on.

  7. dittoheadadt

    “For all that, he’s good at it. He’s good at getting pass after pass from his fan club.”

    Problem is, Paul Ryan’s not in that club. Biden won’t get away with his usual bluster, because no one can run interference for him. It’s one of the reasons Obambi did poorly. Their useful idiots in the media can’t get between them and the public, in these debates.

    Whatever idiocy Biden tries to pass off, Ryan will be ready to rub his nose in it. And the Democrat Party stenographers can’t do anything about it.

  8. Chris Johnson

    Nope.

    It’s not going to work this time.

    Biden’s advantage in this debate includes the format, 2 minutes, that should keep him from wandering off.  It is also reasonable to expect that Raddatz will scrupulously enforce that time limit, which will protect him.

    However, the American public is in no mood for his nonsense, if it ever was.  The press and the spin is irrelevant.

    At a company Christmas party, most people will put up with a sales guy that everybody knows is a blowhard.  But not this year.

    And I don’t think that most of the press is going to give the blowhard a pass, this year.  The press sees their own numbers and are starting to stake out middle positions, in a futile attempt to save their jobs.

    People talk a better game than they sense, to keep the mood positive.  But they know that things are very bad and the blowhards are the first people to be looked past.

  9. Sweezle

    I hope Biden brings up GM. All Ryan has to do is mention that the taxpayers are still on the hook for GM ($28-100+ billion dollars) and the GM bondholders were also shafted. Bankruptcy would have saved us all a lot of money and GM might even be a successful company today after downsizing and renegotiating union contracts.

    But I get your point. Biden will be on his best behavior and will try his best. And the MSM will certainly like him better and ignore any “facts” he gets wrong.  But I still have a lot of faith in Ryan for tonight too.

  10. Cutlass

    Yep. so long as Biden doesn’t embarrass himself, the manic press is going to explode with headlines of “GAME CHAGER!” “JOE SAVES THE DAY!” Blah, blah, blah. 

    They’ll do the same with the next Romney-Obama debate: “OBAMA IS BACK!!!”

    The media is expert at coloring the public’s initial impressions of politicians and events and then reinforcing those biases. However, once they lose control of the narrative it becomes more difficult to deceive the people.

    Once the people have seen the naked emperor, the image is not so easily un-seen.

  11. ParisParamus

    “If I gave you 25 billion dollars, I’ll bet you could keep almost any company going for a while.”

  12. Pencilvania

    the retort to Bin Laden/GM:

    Iran’s nuclear reactors are working, and 23 million Americans aren’t.

  13. Frozen Chosen

    Rick, I think you bring up a good point here and I don’t expect Biden to implode as some expect.

    While Ryan clearly has a superior command of the facts and details his challenge is to present those in the succint manner required by a debate format.  He needs to counteract Uncle Joe’s talking points and bromides which tend to play well in a 1 or 2 minute answer. 

    No easy task to be sure but I am confident that Ryan is up to the job.

  14. ChuckMenoFalls

    For at least the last three years I’ve been looking forward to Paul Ryan on a national debate stage, fighting this battle.  Yes, sadly and contrary to my previous desires, Mr Ryan is on the warm-up stage. 

    Still, if I was looking forward to Ryan debating an empty suit, I’m not going wobbly because he is debating an empty skull. Sure, Joe is skilled and practiced on this stage and quite possibly ended Giuliani’s bid in 2008 (noun,verb,911). Joe will take his shots.

    Mr Ryan can simply disarm Biden by accentuating where they agree:

    • Biden’s insistence that Barack Obama is not ready to be president (2008 primary debates).

    • That the middle class have been buried during the last four years
    • That the current administration plans to raise taxes by 1-2 trillion.

    Those are his words, unvarnished, and completely accurate.

    I understand the media will have their narrative, and they are eager to reclaim accomplice status after a week of disheartened acknowledgement. I’m going into this anticipating Mr Ryan will deliver a performance that makes the result self-evident, as he did to both Obama and Biden at Blair House.

  15. genferei

    I can understand why the Dems play along with the Gang of 500 – they are the same people (Axelrod, Carney, etc.), after all. Why does the GOP do it?

  16. Johnny Dubya

    The GM/Osama line always sets my teeth on edge. The GM creditors were thrown under the bus, completely disregarding the normal priority of claims on a company’s assets, making Obama a populist strongman in the mold of Hugo Chavez. The Osama raid was something that absolutely no one would have red-lighted, unless his name was Joseph Biden. That Joe counseled the president against the raid and now crows about it irritates me so much.

  17. Pilli
    At The Rubicon

    Doc: [ ]  Why don’t we take a deep breath, pour ourselves our beverage of choice, settle in and watch, AND HAVE A LITTLE  #*$*%$ OPTIMISM FOT A CHANGE!!! · 2 minutes ago

    Right on, Doc.  I am really tired of the fratricide. 

    These last 25 days before the election are the metaphorical equivalent of the Battle of the Bulge. If you are not willing to put everything you have into supporting Mitt and Paul then I say to you: go home now. Leave the field of battle to those of us willing to beat plowshares back into swords with our bare hands if necessary. At least we’ll know who we can really count on. · 1 hour ago

    Edited 1 hour ago

    Guys, this isn’t fratricide.  This is simply acknowledging how badly the deck is stacked against Republicans.  Joe Biden didn’t get to and stay where he is by being stupid.  He knows how to play his game.  Ryan needs to keep him away from his game.  He needs to have those quick jabs that Biden can’t counter like Pencilvania noted in #12 above..

  18. Doc

    I agree that Ryan is faced with a difficult task tonight.  But it goes against my nature to concede defeat before even stepping into the ring.  Comments like this are not productive:

    It’s the secret of why Joe Biden — even if he steps in it — may have already won tonight’s debate. 

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