● Likeability: Between his constant interruptions and the whirlwind of bullsh*t he unleashed, Joe Biden basically made it impossible to take away any substance from this debate. Unfortunately for him, his performance was a disgrace. He smirked, snarled, scoffed, interrupted and condescended all night. He came across like a jackal. I have never seen a debate where one participant acted this shamefully. His behavior was honestly beneath the dignity of the office.
What’s even more bizarre are the things he laughed at. He laughed at Iran getting a nuclear bomb. He laughed at Ryan talking about Romney helping a family in need and giving money to charity. He even abused the moderator the one time she asked him a hard question and basically accused her of bias: “you be straight with me.”
His bad manners was all the talking heads talked about, and early polls suggest that it cost Biden the debate. CNBC has Ryan winning 56% to 36%. CNN’s poll has Ryan winning 48% to 44%.
● Ryan’s Failure: I don’t see Ryan as the winner however, so much as he’s just not the loser. Ryan’s made four mistakes. First, he essentially brought a textbook to a “yo’ mama so fat” contest whereas he needed a strategy to call out Biden on his lies and his disgraceful behavior. Secondly, he let the biased moderator push him around. He needed to stop letting her cut off his good answers mid-stream. Third, he lacked a unified theme to give the audience something to take home. Fourth, he needed to connect more dots to exploit his victories. For example, when Biden lied about Catholic hospitals being happy with Obamacare, Ryan countered with “then why are they suing Obama?” This was excellent, but he failed to press this point and explain it clearly. Never make the audience think!
● Stop Criticizing Jim Lehrer: I saw virtually no bias out of Jim Lehrer. Raddatz, on the other hand, was bias incarnate. She gave Joe free rein of questions, tossed him softballs, and advocated for Obama while throwing harsh, biased questions at Ryan. More importantly, she interrupted Ryan every single time he got on a roll. She also took attacks Biden made and demand Ryan answer those, but never once questioned Joe about anything Ryan alleged. This was an unbelievably prejudiced performance.
One particularly amazing example of a biased question was when she started her question on Afghanistan by claiming that Obama had succeeded in defeating al Qaeda, had all but wiped out the Taliban, had stabilized the country, and had basically won the war. Then she asked Ryan why he wanted to keep troops there indefinitely in light of that. The problem is, none of that is true, nor is Ryan advocating keeping troops there.
● Some things Slow Joe said: If Joe’s lips were moving, he was lying, and I mean that. He used fake numbers. He invented events. He claimed personal knowledge of things that didn’t happen and denied things that are on tape. He invented policy positions for Romney and attacked his own straw men. Here is what he said:
● Joe scoffed at the idea that the Democrats ever controlled both the White House and the Congress.● Some things Ryan said: Ryan made some solid points, but I don’t think any of them will be remembered because they were buried in Biden-grade bullsh*t. Here is what he said:
● Joe blamed Obama’s conflicting lies on Libya on the intelligence community. The same community he swears will tell us the precise moment Iran is ready to build a bomb.
● Joe said Iran isn’t building a bomb. Even the IAEA disagrees with this. His “logic” was that they are only making the radioactive material needed for the bomb, but not the bomb itself. That’s a logical and factual pile of crap. Joe also laughed when Ryan said that if Iran isn’t stopped, others in the area will try to build the bomb as well. This has long been acknowledged as true on both sides of the political spectrum.
● Joe said that they got the toughest sanctions ever on Iran (ignore all those tougher sanctions on Cuba and the Soviet Union). He laughed at the idea that Russia watered them down, which they did. He pretended that this would stop Iran from selling oil, even though they are selling directly to China.
● He promised Obama would get whoever killed our ambassador to Libya, which sounded extremely hollow and like fake bravado when he said it. And he actually claimed that Romney didn’t want to see Obama bin Laden killed.
● He said Israel was lying when they claimed Obama’s policies differed from theirs.
● He kept accusing Romney of wanting to start a war in Syria before claiming that Romney’s policy was exactly like Obama’s and that Romney couldn’t identify a single difference. When Ryan identified differences, Joe ignored those and falsely accused Romney of wanting to send ground troops.
● He claimed Obamacare does not force religious institutions to fund or provide contraception or abortion, even though it does and even though those same institutions have sued Obama to stop it. This was right after saying that Ryan wanted to force his views on other religions and claiming he would never do that. He also tried to attribute the comments of Todd Akin about there being different kinds of rape to Paul Ryan.
● Joe kept repeating the 47% line, which Romney has explained and disowned. He blamed Bush for Obama’s failures, and refused to address a single point in Obama’s record.
● He kept trying to scare seniors by claiming Romney wants to privatize Social Security or Medicare (something Romney is not advocating).
● He exploited his dead wife, as he shamelessly does in every debate he’s ever been in.
● He kept using long debunked claims about Romney wanting a $5 trillion tax cut. He lied about Obama’s own tax numbers, claiming Obama only wants to tax millionaires. He lied about the waste and fraud in the “green jobs” loans Obama made. He lied about Ryan passing budgets to slash education (education spending went up, not down).
● Joe kept claiming he spent his life fighting for Main Street against Wall Street, even though he used to be scoffingly referred to as the Senator from MBNA for his efforts to help big banks squeeze the middle class on fees and to make it harder to discharge credit card debt in bankruptcy.
● On the one trillion in automatic cuts coming from the military, the moderator first tried to take those off the table to help Joe, but he blundered right back into them. Then he bizarrely claimed that the Republicans asked for those (even though it was Obama/Reid), that Ryan even claimed “I’ve been looking for this moment a long time,” that Biden would never agree with those cuts and wanted to stop them, but that they were necessary and the military wants them because they want to be “smaller and leaner” and thus Joe supports them. . . but Ryan is evil for proposing them. Good luck figuring that one out. He also simultaneously claimed Ryan wanted the trillion in cuts while also wanting two trillion in new military spending. Hmm.
● He said that we are seeing the unraveling of Obama’s foreign policy all across the Middle East. This is something even the left is admitting. Indeed, Der Spiegel had a run down of everyone making this point recently and it was a huge list. Unlike Romney, Ryan did not elaborate.All in all, I think this debate will be forgotten. Joe lost because he was extremely unlikable. But that won’t hurt Obama because no one will vote on the basis of liking or not liking Joe Biden. I think the left will be thrilled at Joe’s boorish behavior and the right will be incensed, and moderates will scratch their heads and wonder why they didn’t watch the football game. The theme I would hope conservative run with from this is the lengths to which Joe and Obama will go to avoid discussing their record.
● Ryan said Obama has done nothing to slow Iran from getting the bomb. He said that taking the military option off the table, putting distance between us and Israel, allowing Russia and China to water down the sanctions the Congress wanted (fyi, a bipartisan bill), and granting 20 waivers on those sanctions has sent a green light to Iran to continue.
● He attacked Obama for letting Russia dictate policy on Syria, for waiting too long to take action and for calling Assad a reformer.
● He attacked Obama for giving a precise timeline in Afghanistan, though he and Romney agree with the general timeline, and for withdrawing American troops while still requiring those who are left to continue the same missions and level of effort. Biden countered that the Afghans are taking over those jobs, but that is not true.
● He said that Obama’s strategy of hope and change had turned into “attack, blame and defame” and he pointed out that Obama and Biden were smearing Romney because they had no record they could run on. And in that regard, he pointed out Obama’s list of broken promises, though he did not do this nearly as well as Romney: (1) no one loses their healthcare under Obamacare, even though 20 million will, (2) middle class taxes won’t go up for anyone earning less than $250,000 a year (“millionaires”), but Obamacare raises 20 taxes on the middle class, (3) healthcare costs will go down under Obama, but they are up $2,500, (4) the deficit would be cut in half, but it doubled in size, and (5) he would unite us. There’s a lot he missed here.
● He explained Romney’s tax plan, which is to lower rates across the board ($1.3 trillion in cuts) but to offset that by eliminating deductions which the rich use ($1.2 trillion) for a net change of zero dollars, with a shift of the actual tax burden up onto the rich and away from the middle class. He was going to explain how this will lead to 7 million new jobs, but let himself be cut off. He said they would not accept tax cuts that (1) increased the deficit, (2) increased taxes on the middle class, or (3) resulted in a downward shift of the tax burden.
● He pointed out that the average tax rate on business in the world is 25% and that Obama wants to raise the tax rate on small business form 28% to 44.8%.
● He pointed out the big lie in Obama’s class warfare rhetoric of “the rich paying their fair share” by noting that if we taxed the rich at 100%, it would only fund the government for 90 days. So when Obama says he will raise taxes on the rich to pay for more spending, he’s lying about the revenue source.
Thoughts? Anything I missed?