You Want To Win The Debate, But You Also Want To Win The Post-Debate

No one won this debate. And I suppose you could interpret that as me saying that Rep. Paul Ryan lost. But you’d be wrong. I think Vice President Joe Biden lost by being horribly belligerent and unserious. Ryan lost by not aggressively responding to Biden. And Martha Raddatz lost by interrupting at inappropriate times.

But allow me to revisit something I said during the debate:

Tonight, Joe Bi…

  1. Lady Grey
    Mitch Noyes

    Civil is code for wimp. You can stand up for yourself in a repspectul manner. Romney did it last week. Ryan let himself get rolled. He’s just lucky Biden was such an ass in the way he did it. 

    I would MUCH prefer someone standing up for themselves in a “respectful” manner the way Paul Ryan did last evening as opposed to a “repspectul” manner.

    There are points I wished he would have made but I do not mind that he let Joe Biden make a fool out of himself.

  2. Railroad Bridge Guy

    The RNC needs to point out that the Administration has been as rude and boorish for the last two years as Joe Biden was last night. No wonder the Congress and Paul Ryan can’t get legislation passed to get America back to work.

  3. ChrisC

    VP debates usually don’t matter, but I think this one will for the reason’s Mollie points out.  My wife made a very similar comment last night.  Hers was NSFW, but let’s just say she found him intensely unlikable.

  4. At The Rubicon

    Biden lost this debate for the same reason Gore lost that debate with Bush: Demeanor.  During the debate I was sitting there thinking, “Biden is killing his team’s one asset: likability.” This was confirmed when my non-political wife could barely keep from throwing a brick through the left side of the screen. Prior to the debate she had almost no exposure to either man. She now hates Joe Biden.

    Though some commenters have said that Ryan should have punched back, I think he made the correct tactical decision to let Biden come off as the obnoxious bully while he (Ryan) is the calm, articulate one who can keep his cool. It was clear that Biden was trying his best to get under  Ryan’s skin and make him lose his cool. For me (a very alpha male) Ryan gets hugh kudos for not lowering himself to the drunken bully’s level.

    It’s almost as if the Romney/Ryan campaign strategy team said, “Now it’s time to kill the Obama/Biden likeability.” They have succeded.

  5. John Hendrix

    I want to contribute a single datapoint regarding the impression that Biden made on a particular “low information voter”.

    Last night a friend dropped by while I was watching the debate.  He is a lineman who works on the high-tension lines that transmit electricity from power plants to Houston.  He is apolitical and is essentially uninterested in politics.  He didn’t know who Ryan was and I’m not sure that prior to tonight he could have named our current VP.  For example, at one point during the debate he asked, “If Romney wins will that younger guy on the right be the VP?”

    OK, the point of all of this character sketch is to provide a “low information voter” calibration.  Because my friend was unprepared to judge the  debate on the correctness or falseness of the statements themselves he was essentially limited to judging the debate’s atmospherics.  

    During the debate my friend became annoyed at Biden’s antics.  At one point he stated, “That guy is acting like a kid!”

    We can only hope that Biden made a similar impression on the majority of the undecideds.

  6. John Hendrix

    Mitch Noyes: Biden may have been everything women hate in a man, but Ryan was in a lot of ways everything men hate in men. He was tentative, passive, overly cautious and let himself get bullied and pushed around. He didn’t counterpunch effectively and missed many opportunities to go on the attack. He seemed weak and was playing defense all night.

    Biden was an obnoxious boor, but he made the points he wanted to make and landed some punches. Ryan was a pencil necked geek who couldn’t stand up for himself effectively.

    I think both candidates lost tonight. Ryan is just lucky he had less that he needed to accomplish tonight. · 2 minutes ago

    Edited 1 minute ago

    Wrong.  Ryan was cool while being baited to act poorly.  As far as respect from men, he got mine.  I’d have lost my temper quickly and looked like an idiot. · 8 hours ago

    Yeah, Biden would have gotten under my skin too.  I kept wanting Ryan to backhand Biden. 

    I think that both Machiavelli and Sun Tzu w0uld have approved of Ryan’s cool self-control when confronted with such a determined provocateur. 

  7. Adriana Harris

    I agree with Mollie. As a woman, granted a conservative woman who favors the Romney/Ryan ticket, I was appalled by Biden’s behavior. Not only was he rude and disruptive, but he appeared completely manic. 

  8. Doug Kimball

    Biden was sent in to rough up Ryan, not with argument alone, but with deliberate contempt.  The Obama Camp had to counter the One’s disappointing performance in the earlier debate, if only to satisfy the base needs of media hyperpartisans like Sullivan, Mathews and the rest of the MSNBC crowd who play to the base.  Ryan had to show he was thoughtful, serious and no lightweight, so he could avoid post debate Paliniation.  For both: mission accomplished.  In the aftermath, there is virtually no downside for Ryan, having comported himself well.  Biden, however, left little of susbstance to laud while he left much to criticize, and he was boorish and rude.  Those things will linger, fester in the mind and hurt their campaign over time. 

  9. Pseudodionysius

    Barack and Joe are now the Beavis and Butthead of electoral politics.

    Prior to the debates, conservatives pined for Ryan as the top of the ticket. Now, Mitt is the alpha dog on the ticket. Prior to the debates, Biden was the slow child, and Obama was the genius. Now, Biden is the alpha dog and Obama is the poodle.

    Rob Portman may have done better, and I’m certain that VP candidate Christie would have been interviewed this morning eating a big bucket of Barbeque Biden, gnawing on a drumstick and saying into the camera:

    “Not much meat on these Democrat bones, just like their administration’s policies. Excuse me for a moment. I caught some bad hair in my teeth.”

    Whether intentional or not, Ryan pulled off the closing scene in Gran Torino where Clint lost the battle but won the war.

    Mission Accomplished Joe Biden: Four More Beers!

  10. Keith Rice

    I just went to Yahoo! News expecting a mixed bag of comments. Instead it was overwhelmingly critical of Biden’s performance.

    This suggests that, even if they are heartened by it, Obama supporters aren’t going to admit they’re made proud by Biden’s victory. In the short run he’s done his job, he’s restored their wounded pride.

    If Obama gets roughed up again, they may take some lessons from Islamic militants to win their pride back.

  11. dittoheadadt
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: You can’t fight with a crazy person without looking like you’re crazy. It just can’t be done. It only makes you look crazy.

    That cannot be overemphasized enough (is that a contradiction?). We can all say what Ryan should have done, but that’s conjecture without the benefit of seeing what that actually would have looked like (e.g. “You can’t fight with a crazy person without looking like you’re crazy. It just can’t be done. It only makes you look crazy.”).

    I think Ryan could have been more assertive here or there, but other than that quibble, he would’ve done more harm than good going toe-to-toe with Biteme, and he did plenty good being the only adult in the room.

    As with the Hippocratic Oath, his mission was first to do no harm. He couldn’t win the election for Romney last night, but he could’ve lost it.

  12. Pseudodionysius

    Joe Biden:

    “The guy just so, so, so eager to protect your right that you’re not sure that right is worth having.”

  13. Mel Foil

    Ryan showed that he understands the role of Vice President. He had the proper perspective. His job was to support Mitt Romney’s policies. I don’t know what Biden thinks his job is. Freelance wise ass?

  14. Pseudodionysius
    Mel Foil: Ryan showed that he understands the role of Vice President. He had the proper perspective. His job was to support Mitt Romney’s policies. I don’t know what Biden thinks his job is. Freelance wise ass? · 0 minutes ago

    Someone better go over all of Neil Kinnock’s speeches with a fine tooth comb again.

  15. Pseudodionysius

    “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”

  16. The Mugwump
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: 

    But allow me to revisit something I said during the debate:

    Tonight, Joe Biden is embodying everything that women hate about talking with men.

    This was exactly the conclusion in my small circle.  Women don’t like bullies.  Biden likely drove off more than a few women voters.  How many is anybody’s guess.  

  17. Severely Ltd.

    I’ve been trying to sort this out and I like this assessment of Biden’s performance: Short term gain; Long (three and a half weeks) term loss.

    I think you pegged it.

  18. Barbara Kidder

    The reason Ryan ‘won’ is because he got Biden to over-reach, and lie!

    This provides Romney with very recent, quotable statements from Obama’s  Vice President, with which to challenge and question Obama at next week’s debate.

    Romney will run with this and quote Biden a lot next week…

  19. Marley

    Mollie, I wish Paul Ryan had just looked at Biden once or twice and said, “no Joe, you’re the one lying here!”   As for Martha, well Mitt Romney better take notes because her interjections and debating of Paul Ryan is what Mitt will get in spades from the next moderators he will see.  They will be arguing by proxy for Mr. Obama so there needs to be a strategy to deal with that effectively. 

    I was stunned at Biden’s constant smiling, head wagging, and flat out interruptions of Paul Ryan.  Somewhere in there Ryan needed to be more forceful in simply telling Biden to shut up and wait his turn.  Still Ryan did come off as being the calm and focused person in the room and hopefully the majority of people watching were as equally irritated by Biden’s boorish behavior.

  20. Kay Ludlow

    And to think that the Democrats believe someone like Biden will be a champion of women’s reproductive rights… *Shudder*

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