Friday, October 12, 2012

Biden was not only condescending and disrespectful to Ryan...He was downright CREEPY!.

He did look like creepy old uncle Joe drunk at a family anyone would be able to tolerate that this creepy old guy could ever take over as President if anything happened to sitting President is beyond me....

Biden accused of being disrespectful in vice presidential debate with grins, laughs

Published October 11, 2012

Vice President Biden was aggressive in taking on Paul Ryan in their debate Thursday in a way President Obama wasn't last week against Mitt Romney, but Biden's smile may have stolen some of his thunder.

The vice president, especially toward the beginning of the debate in Kentucky, could be seen grinning and laughing -- some have said smirking -- during Ryan's answers, as he prepared to dismiss Ryan's points as "impossible" and "malarkey."

After the debate Republicans were quick to pounce on Biden's poise, calling it inappropriate and disrespectful -- even "unhinged."

"You almost can’t blame Joe Biden for being so unhinged. It must be frustrating to debate when you have a record that is so hard to defend and not a single tangible plan for the second term besides tax hikes," a statement from the Republican National Committee said in drawing attention to notable tweets about Biden's mirth.

Shortly afterward, the party put out a video montage of Biden grinning and laughing.

Former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer, for example, tweeted, "The contrast between cool Ryan and overbearing Biden really hurts Biden. Biden is too hot - not effective."

Even members of the media pounced.

"Biden's smile is out of control," NBC News' David Gregory tweeted.

And Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, added: "SNL will have to devote entire show just to Biden's facial expressions."

But Democrats quickly shot down the criticism, casting it as evidence of Republican desperation.

"Twenty-nine days out and they have been peddling this crap, and they don't even have the guts to put their tax plan out. They deserve to be laughed at," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said. "Biden knew the person he was up against is a very immature person who is not ready for this job."

And Obama campaign manager Jim Messina defended Biden, saying he's simply a "happy warrior" for the middle class.

It remains to be seen whether that aspect of Biden's performance will help him, hurt him or be of no concern to voters.

But Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots argued it was worse than just an off-hand smile.

"Our vice president has shown he is an abusive political bully who belittles, mocks, ridicules and laughs at his opponent, the moderator, the viewers and anyone who questions this administration's lack of leadership," Martin said. "Solutions require respect. These skills the vice president, and this administration, clearly lack."

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, a Fox News contributor, said he thought Biden delivered a strong performance overall, but it was "diminished" by the "smirking."

“I don’t know about the likeability of that smirking … I found it condescending and overdone," Trippi said.

Noonan: Confusing Strength With Aggression A draw on substance, but the vice president loses on style.


The vice presidential debate was uniquely important because if Paul Ryan won it or did well, the Romney-Ryan ticket's momentum would be continued or speed up. If he did not, that momentum would slow or stop. So the night carried implications.

The debate, obviously, was the Republican versus the Democrat, a particular kind of conservative versus a particular kind of liberal, one philosophical approach versus another. Beyond that there was some iconic weight to it. It was age versus youth; full, white-haired man versus lean, black-haired man. Youth is energy—new ideas and new ways. But age can stand for experience, wisdom. Youth can seem callow, confident only because it is uninformed. But age can seem reactionary, resistant to change in part because change carries a rebuke: You and your friends have been doing things wrong, we need a new approach.

Joe Biden had to do what the president failed to do—seem alive, bring it, show that he respects America so much he'd bother to fight for it. Mr. Biden is voluble, sentimental, scrappy. Could he focus his scrappiness enough to deliver targeted blows?

Mr. Ryan had to introduce himself to the American people in a new way—at length, in a contentious environment. He had to communicate: "I haven't been a national figure long, but I know what I'm doing. I'm not radical or extreme and I'm not here to destabilize, I'm here to help make things safer by putting them on firmer ground."

History is human; both men had things to prove. Mr. Biden had to show the White House, the Democratic base and himself that he still has it, that he's not the doddering uncle in the attic. Whatever happens, at almost 70 this is his last grand political moment. Would his career end with a whiff or a hit? And the debate was his opportunity to save Barack Obama. Might that be personally satisfying? Obama staffers are often quietly condescending about Ol' Joe. What sweet revenge to publicly save the leader of those who privately patronized you. If I read Mr. Biden correctly, this would have crossed his mind.

Mr. Ryan had to show the voters, the GOP and the political class that Mitt Romney did not make a mistake in choosing him. There were other candidates, some impressive. He had to demonstrate that Mr. Romney's faith was well and shrewdly placed.

So: a pat on the back and a gold watch for the old man? Or a "Thanks for coming in, we're going in another direction but let's stay in touch" for the young one?

So, to the debate:

There were fireworks all the way, and plenty of drama. Each candidate could claim a win in one area or another, but by the end it looked to me like this: For the second time in two weeks, the Democrat came out and defeated himself. In both cases the Republican was strong and the Democrat somewhat disturbing.

Another way to say it is the old man tried to patronize the kid and the kid stood his ground. The old man pushed, and the kid pushed back.

Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy!" he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere. Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore's sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting.

Mr. Ryan was generally earnest, fluid, somewhat wonky, confident. He occasionally teetered on the edge of glibness and sometimes fell off. If I understood him correctly during the exchange on Iran, he seemed to suggest to moderator Martha Raddatz that a nuclear war in the Mideast would be preferable to a nuclearized Iran. Really? That easy, is it? Mr. Biden had one of his first good moments when he said, essentially, "Whoa." Actually he said war should always be a very last resort, which is always a good thing to say, and to mean.

Because the debate was so rich in charge and countercharge, and because it covered so much ground, both parties will be able to mine the videotape for their purposes. On the attack in Benghazi, the question that opened the debate, Mr. Biden was on the defensive and full of spin. He pivoted quickly to talking points, a move that was at once too smooth and too clumsy. He was weak on requests for added security before the consulate was overrun and the ambassador killed. "We will get to the bottom of this." Oh. Good.

Mr. Ryan was strong on spending and taxes. On foreign affairs and defense spending, he was on weaker ground. Medicare and Social Security were probably a draw. Mr. Ryan coolly laid out the numbers and the need for change, but Mr. Biden emoted in a way that seemed sincere and was perhaps compelling. He scored when he knocked Mr. Romney for his 47% remarks, saying those who pay only payroll taxes pay a higher rate than many of the rich, including Mr. Romney. Mr. Ryan in turn scored on the unemployment rate in Scranton, Pa., Mr. Biden's hometown. It is 10%. It was 8.5% when the recession began. "This is not what a real recovery looks like." Mr. Ryan on abortion was personal and believable. Mr. Biden seemed to be going through the pro-choice motions.

I have just realized the problem with the debate: it was the weird distance between style and content, and the degree to which Mr. Biden's style poisoned his content.

In terms of content—the seriousness and strength of one's positions and the ability to argue for them—the debate was probably a draw, with both candidates having strong moments. But in terms of style, Mr. Biden was so childishly manipulative that it will be surprising if independents and undecideds liked what they saw.

National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn't work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.

And so the Romney-Ryan ticket emerged ahead. Its momentum was neither stopped nor slowed and likely was pushed forward.

Meaning that things will continue to get hotter. The campaign trail, commercials, all sorts of mischief—everything will get jacked up, cranked up. Meaning the next debate is even more important. Which means, since the next debate is a town hall and won't be mano-a-mano at the podium, that the third debate, on foreign policy, will be the most important of all.

Ms. Raddatz acquitted herself admirably, keeping things moving, allowing the candidates to engage, probing. There was a real humanity to her presence. We just saw Jim Lehrer beat up for what was also good work. May her excellence go unpunished.

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