I’m writing this as the Vice-Presidential debate concludes. I am watching it late and after-the-fact, having been out this evening during the normal time of the debate. So, my experience of watching this one is entirely different than the first debate. I have read no analysis of it, I have seen no Facebook or Twitter posts, nor did I watch this with other people. So here were some of my thoughts:
- I think Biden won this debate, though not by as large of a margin as Romney won the last one. Just like the last debate, this result was not what I was expecting.
- In spite of this, I really don’t think that Obama/Biden will get some sort of post-debate “bump” after this.
- Even where I have disagreed with Ryan politically, I have been able to respect his “new” ideas and bold, clear articulations and defenses of those ideas. In this debate, though, it seems like Ryan has been neutered by the Romney campaign. He is not good at “spinning” things for political reasons and he spent most of the night squirming and stammering.
- This humanizing factor (it was actually a little refreshing to see how much Ryan sucked at the spin) only highlighted to me the oily slickness of Joe Biden, one of the smoothest and always-“on” politicians since Bill Clinton.
- Speaking of: good Lord, I hated the grin and condescending smirk on Biden’s face throughout the debate! I actually wished Ryan would just slap it off.
- This moderator was wonderful. She absolutely held that balance between keeping the conversation reigned it, although I wish they had talked to one another more often.
- The questions were also really great, although I could not find a single straight or substantive answer to any of the questions the whole night. It was almost comical how much they simply dodged and evaded one another without answering a single thing.
- Both men, when asked about how their Catholic faith shape their views on abortion (one of the most interesting questions I’ve ever heard at a debate), mentioned briefly how Catholic social doctrine affected their thinking, and yet neither of them seemed to see how they are both hypocrites to that very doctrine! It was so frustrating! Biden actually started his (ultimately pro-abortion) answer with something like “my Catholic faith shapes my policies and my view that we have a fundamental responsibility to help and protect those most in need and those most helpless among us.” And then he defended abortion. WTF? Did he genuinely not see hear the words coming out of his mouth?
- As I’ve written about before, Catholic groups themselves have talked about how Paul Ryan’s budget in no way represents Catholic social priorities. And so, similarly to Biden, I don’t know how Ryan, with a straight face, can invoke Catholic social teaching to fight for the life of a child, only to abandon that child once it’s born–by cutting and removing the social and economic supports and services that allow women to have that child instead of aborting it in the first place. I guess the newborns are supposed to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” instead of becoming some of those bottom-feeding “takers” Ryan likes referring to.
- The most offensive question-answer of the whole night was the next-to-the-last question about negative political advertising and whether each candidate is ever “embarrassed” over those ads. I don’t know that I can remember more B.S. political grand-standing, not answering the question, and so many complete non-sequiters in one reply to any question I’ve ever watched a politician try to “answer”.
- Both of these guys are idiots on Iran.
- The whole Benghazi attack thing: of course the administration was lying for political reasons (and of course the Republicans are exploiting this for political reasons). The past two Presidents (not exclusively, but especially) have had a complete disregard for Congressional and Media accountability. Yes, they lied. But…yes, they’ve been lying for four years now about so many more things (just Google: “Wikileaks cables)”. The reason why nobody seems to care now (except for the Crazy-Cons out there) is because they’ve had their eyes shut and their mouths closed and any sort of backbone locked in a closet for the past four years as they’ve let the American public grow accustomed to this level of political lying. This is the fault of Congress, the Americans that allowed themselves not to care about any of this, and those that have attacked Wikileaks, whistleblowers, and those trying to expose America’s hypocrisy. I fully believe that Ambassador Chris Stevens’ blood not only belongs on the hands of Obama, but on every Congressional leader that has been aware of the unprecedented advances of Presidential power and its distance from accountability, and have defended it, praised it, fought for it, lauded it, and demonized those of us that would call it what it is and demand change. He died because you (both Republican and Democrat) let us Americans feel like we didn’t deserve transparency, accountability, and full knowledge of our governments actions in our name. It is your fault. A good and honorable man died because of your weakness and deference. I pray you lose sleep over that.
- Overall, a pretty boring debate.
[image credit: The New Yorker]