Pregaming the Ryan-Biden Debate

Joe Biden has never been anyone’s idea of a MENSA candidate, but he has a “hey ol’ pal, howya doin’?!?!” quality to him that lots of people find appealing, along with 974 teeth, so I expect him to score lots of likeability points in the debate with Paul Ryan. In addition, the vice president has been around since forever and has gained familiarity with the issues through longevity, if not through the application of a coruscating intellect, so I don’t expect him to be caught in too many policy gaffes. There are, of course, other gaffes that he might commit, but I assume that the vice president’s handlers are going to make sure that he is on a tight leash when it comes to his debate performance. I figure that so long as the vice president doesn’t drool all over himself during the debate, he and his camp will count it as a win.

Paul Ryan, by contrast, is very earnest, but also very wonky and professorial, which may not translate well on television. He needs to show some likeability and bonhomie, but he may not be as practiced at this as Biden is. Ryan deals best with fellow policy wonks, but of course, the audience watching the debate is not going to be filled with policy wonks. Rather, it is going to be filled with people who look for a candidate to be affable. And Joe Biden is primed to be affable.

One more thing: The press, having trashed Team Obama in the aftermath of the first debate, is looking to issue a story about how the president’s campaign ship has been righted, and how Joe Biden was the one who righted that ship. Don’t be in the least bit surprised if that is the line that comes out of Danville in the aftermath of the Ryan-Biden debate.

  1. Israel P.
    john marzan:  Biden is going to the debate angry, agressive Ted STrickland style, attacking Romney personally and Ryan on his Roadmap plan.

    Maybe the Ted Baxter style.

  2. Sandy
    Pejman Yousefzadeh: 

     Ryan deals best with fellow policy wonks, but of course, the audience watching the debate is not going to be filled with policy wonks. Rather, it is going to be filled with people who look for a candidate to be affable. And Joe Biden is primed to be affable.

    I don’t agree with this assessment of the audience, by which I assume you mean the larger audience, which is the only one that counts.  The appointment of the wonky Ryan gave Mitt his first boost.  The second came from the debate last week, in which the audience was apparently looking for someone who can change our direction, specifically the direction of the economy.  Judging by those results,  the audience will be happy with someone who makes sense and demonstrates an ability to actually solve real problems, and that would be Ryan. 

  3. Spin

    The most difficult position to be in during a debate is to have things in your past that you can’t really explain other than you flip-flopped and you had to follow party leadership, as was the case with Rick Santorum.  If you made an unpopular decision as a legislature but you can explain why you did it, you are fine. Ryan is fine.  He knows why he did the things he did, has said the things he’s said, and he stands by them.  I expect he will go after the administration’s record on spending, highlight his own policies as being necessary to get the country back on track, and utter variations of this phrase:  “That’s just not true, Joe, it doesn’t matter how many times you say it.”

  4. Albert Arthur

    I agree with Sandy. Romney had a lot of details in his debate, and he was overwhelmingly seem as having crushed Obama. People like details. Obama’s been attacking Romney all year for not being specific, but Romney came out and was specific and people saw him and knew that the image Obama’s been trying to paint of Romney is wrong. I don’t see why it would hurt for Ryan to drown Biden in specificity.

  5. Kim K.

    ” but he has a “hey ol’ pal, howya doin’?!?!” quality to him that lots of people find appealing, along with 974 teeth, so I expect him to score lots of likeability points in the debate with Paul Ryan.”

    This may be true for someone who is encountering Biden for the first time.  At first he may come across as a genial, if offbeat, uncle who happens to know lots of stuff. But I find that any good ol’ boy appeal  he may have tends to fade the more you know of him.  And after awhile he just seems annoying.

  6. Frank Soto
    C

    I feel the need to point out the over use of the word “wonk” in our present political discussions.  

  7. Edward Smith

    I think Ryan possibly knows and certainly knows of Biden much better than Obama either knew or knew of Romney.  So Ryan probably has a better idea of how to handle Biden than people are giving him credit for.  I think it is unreasonable for anyone to expect Ryan to clean Biden’s clock the way Romney cleaned Obama’s.

    But I don’t think Biden will come out a clear winner either.  Ryan will come out as having held his own.  Which will be enough to satisfy the Republican base, and sway more of the Undecideds.

  8. Johnny Dubya

    Small correction:  It’s 974 caps, not teeth.  And goodness knows how many hair plugs.

  9. Butters

    All this hand-wringing is deja-vu from last week’s debate. Have a little faith people. Ryan is going to crush it. 

    There is an incompetence narrative building around Obama. The contrast between Biden and Ryan will only magnify it. 

  10. wmartin
    Albert Arthur: I agree with Sandy. Romney had a lot of details in his debate, and he was overwhelmingly seem as having crushed Obama. People like details. Obama’s been attacking Romney all year for not being specific, but Romney came out and was specific and people saw him and knew that the image Obama’s been trying to paint of Romney is wrong. I don’t see why it would hurt for Ryan to drown Biden in specificity. · 1 hour ago

    Bill Clinton’s speeches and debates were filled with policy wonkery, and people liked them. They didn’t really follow or understand all the details themselves, but they liked knowing that Clinton himself could. I said before the debate that Romney should just go “full wonk” and he came close to it. Ryan, as you say, should do the same tonight.

    And I have indeed used the word “wonk” too many times.

  11. Devereaux

    “…Gained familiarity with the issues…”

    “…on a tight leash.”

    ?Are we talking about the same Joe Biden. Man hasn’t been “familiar” with an issue since Christ was a Lance Corporal. And there isn’t a leash strong enough to keep in stupid.

  12. john marzan

    as long as ryan keeps mentioning obamacare and putting biden and his boss on the defensive over it, he’ll do fine.

  13. ctlaw

    Biden will be asked softball questions.

    Ryan will be asked a question that highlights a difference between him and Romney. Even if he gives a quality response, the media will portray it as a great gaffe, a sign of discord, etc.

  14. john marzan

    Mark Hemingway thinks Joe Biden is going for charm offensive in tomorrow night’s debate vs Ryan. I disagree. Biden is going to the debate angry, agressive Ted STrickland style, attacking Romney personally and Ryan on his Roadmap plan.

    Paul Ryan thinks Biden’s debate strategy is to call him and Romney “liars”. That may be the Obama campaign strategy and the Mainstream Media’s as well, but I don’t think that will be Biden’s plan coming into the debate. How can Biden do that when he’s going to do a lot of lying and misleading himself? The Biden Strategy is to erect straw men knock them down one by one, especially on Ryan’s plan.

    I heard Ted Olson is Paul Ryan’s debate coach. Would have been better if Newt Gingrich was his sparring partner in preparation for Biden. Mr Olson is respectable and polite, Biden the opposite.  Newt is an excellent debater who is not afraid to mix it up and draw blood, and was the most high profile republican to publicly voice apprehension over Ryan’s “right wing social engineering” proposal.

  15. john marzan

    Paul Ryan is going to do a lot of fact checking in this debate.

  16. wmartin

    Good article from Ace here. Bottom line: we’re going to have a hard time getting a “win” tonight.

    http://minx.cc/?post=333737

  17. Edward Smith

    Biden needs to not lose.  If he does not lose outright, he can’t be blamed for the failure of the Obama 2012 campaign, and can retire with a semi-good reputation.  I doubt he cares much if Obama wins or loses, actually.  He is the one who does not have to lose … this debate.

    Ryan is just starting out.  He needs to win, or at least hold his own better than Biden.  If he flops, and Romney wins, he probably won’t go the way of Dan Quayle, but he will have to overcome that poor debate performance.

  18. john marzan
    Duane Oyen: Ted Olson is actually an excellent debate prep guy.  He is one of the foremost litigators in the US, and has spent 40 years doing mocks and game plans of possible opposing Counsel tactics and strategies, including mimicry of  personal presentation styles.  Newt is more likely to love the sonorous tones of his own voice than effectively inhabit Biden. · 3 hours ago

    Post debate, you still think ted olson was a good debate coach for ryan?

  19. john marzan
    john marzan: Mark Hemingway thinks Joe Biden is going for charm offensive in tomorrow night’s debate vs Ryan. I disagree. Biden is going to the debate angry, agressive Ted STrickland style, attacking Romney personally and Ryan on his Roadmap plan.

    Paul Ryan thinks Biden’s debate strategy is to call him and Romney “liars”. That may be the Obama campaign strategy and the Mainstream Media’s as well, but I don’t think that will be Biden’s plan coming into the debate. How can Biden do that when he’s going to do a lot of lying and misleading himself? The Biden Strategy is to erect straw men knock them down one by one, especially on Ryan’s plan.

    I heard Ted Olson is Paul Ryan’s debate coach. Would have been better if Newt Gingrich was his sparring partner in preparation for Biden. Mr Olson is respectable and polite, Biden the opposite.  Newt is an excellent debater who is not afraid to mix it up and draw blood, and was the most high profile republican to publicly voice apprehension over Ryan’s “right wing social engineering” proposal. · 21 hours ago

    We saw a lot of that today.

  20. john marzan
    john marzan: Paul Ryan is going to do a lot of fact checking in this debate. · 22 hours ago

    did not watch the entire debate. did ryan do a lot of that today?

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