Friday, October 12, 2012

Precisely what did Joe win?

kw: politics, debates

I had a long day in D.C. yesterday (more about that in another post), so I'd pre-recorded the Vice-Presidential debate and watched it late. That got me to bed pretty late, and I'm squeezing in a long coffee break at work to make a belated comment.

There is a funny old film in which a seasoned swordsman displays all kinds of exaggerated techniques and fancy footwork. Meanwhile, his opponent either parries or stands back to watch the show, before stepping in to behead him.

There is no doubt that Joe Biden is a seasoned debater. He is also a bully and a clown, but as Delawareans like to say, "Yeah, he's a buffoon, but he's our buffoon." And for close to forty years they have been voting for him over candidates who had the temerity to display a smidgen of intelligence.

In the few post-debate minutes that I watched, the ABC folk were all saying, "Oh, yeah, Biden won hands down." Really? If this had been a debate rated according to the rules of Toastmasters International, I suppose you could say he out-pointed Paul Ryan, in the narrow sense of asking more questions, but with Ms Raddatz continually cutting Ryan short, a wise debate judge would have replaced her in the first quarter hour with an unbiased moderator.

Then there was all the grinning and grimacing. Does Joe really think we fall for his hamming it up? Paul Ryan mostly ignored Joe Biden's antics, concentrating on making the points he could, but occasionally just "let Joe be Joe", before snipping off his head. The moderator complained that Ryan was short of specifics, but he actually did have some specifics, while Biden had none. And Ryan pointed out repeatedly that Biden was using empty attacks to cover a total absence of reason.

In the next-to-last exchange, Paul Ryan did miss an opportunity. Joe Biden made five quick complaints against Romney and Ryan. Ryan's best answer would have been, "You just heard five bald-faced lies", but perhaps he'd decided not to call Joe a liar outright. If you count blows thrown (ignoring that they all missed), sure you could say that Biden "won". He left the stage with a trophy in his hand, and his head on the floor.

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