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The Verdict: Biden won the debate and soundly beat Ryan

I am told that the mainstream media is trying to spin it hard in Ryan’s favor.  Lucky for me, I cut the cord last year so I don’t have to put up with the frantic spinning and pundits telling me what I should or shouldn’t be offended by.

Biden won.  Yeah, he smiled mockingly at Ryan.  Yeah, he laughed and interrupted.  So what?  Did that make what came out of Ryan’s mouth more agreeable?  More worthy of respect and consideration?  Hell no.  Ryan is a Ayn Rand conservative who wants to slash the budget so severely that we’ll become a nation of favelas and gated communities with the not-quite-seniors and poor carrying the burden of decades of tax cuts for the rich.  That’s what he is all about.  All you had to do was listen to the words that came out of his mouth.  Biden simply countered him very effectively.

I did have issues with what Biden was defending at times.  He wasn’t straightforward about Social Security and didn’t take retirement age changes off the table.  That infuriated me and probably all of the other people my age and a bit younger who have been pre-paying our benefits for decades.

But on the other stuff?  He trounced Ryan who came off as even less capable of taking over the office of president than Sarah Palin did four years ago.  Don’t take that as support of Palin or her conservative views. My protest vote in 2008 wasn’t about liking Republicans.  It was a protest.

Please don’t waste your time telling me how “rude” Biden was to Ryan.  That’s the operatives speaking through the media pundits, trying to get the public to condemn Biden by using the appeal to civility and politeness.  It’s the standard way to get effective people to shut up and sidelined.  The media likes Ryan and his budget plan, probably because none of them will be affected by it.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Biden won.

It also doesn’t change the fact that although Biden has demonstrated effectively how to defend his party and command the debate, I’m still voting third party this year.  It’s Obama and Geithner and his Wall Street handlers that I have a problem with and voting for Joe is not going to change that.  Joe is still only the vice president, as much as he seems to be wasted in that position.  Just like Hillary is a great SOS but could have been so much more.  Joe is an enigma to me.  He’s like a bright guy who got stuck in the sales department.  But in general, it just looks to me like the Democrats benched their best players in order to bet everything on Obama.  The whole party structure and function seems out of whack with the most effective parts of it on mute and this weird toxic strain of operatives in charge. Am I just imagining it?

But anyway, Biden- 1, Ryan-0.  That’s how I’m calling it.

21 Responses

  1. That’s how I see it too. And I’m especially glad because I cannot WAIT for Obama to attempt a repeat of Biden’s performance. I think it’ll play as well as the “You’re likable enough, Hillary” moment” … good times!

    • He’s not going to be able to do it I bet. On so many blogs people have given me a hard time over the years about my criticism of Obama. The debate in Denver was exactly what I have been seeing Obama do for years now. The Obama last week should have surprised no one who paid attention to him back in 2008. I get the impression that Obama thinks that everything should be handed to him–he should have to even bother debating Romney etc.

      • I completely agree. This is the Obama I’ve been seeing since he declared in 2007. It comes as no surprise to me.
        I do think he’s going to have a hard time winning debates. He obviously doesn’t feel strongly about Democratic positions. It’s not just Biden who has shown him up. Bill Clinton has had to do it on many occasions. Obama is lackluster when it comes to defending the party’s values and everyone else has to come to his rescue and remind the voters what those values are. Then Obama goes back to being lackluster and pursues his own strategy of serial capitulation to the Republicans, Wall Street and big special interests.
        Can he deliver a 2008 type speech or performance? Mebbe. But after his debate appearance this year, there will always be an unsettling feeling in the back of our minds: is he being real or was that other Obama the real one? And if the lackluster Obama is real, we’re screwed.

  2. All Biden had to do was talk like a Democrat for 90 mins and pretend that’s where they stand today … Part of the reason he’s VP is because he was an actual Dem for decades and still has some creds in that regard ….so no contest. Joe does a Lloyd Benson and wins

    That doesn’t mean they adhere to traditional Dem policies of course….part of the frustration over Obama’s lame mail in was ,couldn’t he at least pretend to be a Dem for 90 mins for god’s sake?

    Bipartisan Senate deficit deal to cut Medicare, slash taxes for the wealthy


    ….The aim is to reach an agreement that will be passed after the elections by the so-called “lame duck” Congress (whose term will expire at the beginning of January) for austerity measures and tax cuts for the rich. These measures are not being discussed by either presidential candidate or either party in the election campaign. They are to be put in place regardless which party controls the White House and Congress, with the electorate denied any opportunity in the elections to express its attitude to them.

    well of course

    • I was slack jawed when Obama said-paraphrasing-my position on Social Security is not that different from my opponent”s.

      • There are published references to Obama’s SS and Medicare agenda since at least 2007. The man is a devout neolib. Mediocre conventionalist on almost any topic that touches on policy. I don’t believe he’s capable of an independent thought.

        • Um, we try not to use labels here. The reason being that too many good people get dumped into one category or another based on some action that appears to be specific for a particular group.
          Wise people learn and adapt. Foolish people do not. A person who might have been a neoliberal 20 years ago might be a lot more nuanced today.
          I prefer to use the terms conservative and liberal and indicate how far along the spectrum the politician is and whether it is a long term trend or a passing fancy. So, I agree with Paul Krugman that Obama’s political compass is that of a moderate Republican from around 1992. And let’s not forget that moderate Republicans were not BFFs with the Clintons in 1992. That puts the players in the proper context. Just slapping a label of neoliberal on everyone who does something not in keeping with the tribe tends to obscure that context and the correct placement of the politicians on the spectrum.
          Obama is significantly to the right of Bill Clinton.
          TRUST me on this, liberals need to distance themselves from Obama as far as they can. He is ruining the brand.

          • Conservative and liberal are labels. Any description can be construed as a label. Obama is a dedicated neolib. And a mediocre conventionalist, which is absolutely a label.

    • I guess all we can do about that is to tell our Democratic officeholders and party people that we will never vote for another federal level Democrat ever again if the Dparty even perMITS any austerity measures to pass. Those Ds who claim to be against it have the power to kill it. If they don’t kill it, that means their claims to oppose it are false and designed to string us along. This is especially true of the DSenators who have all kinds of tools at their individual disposal to constipate the Senate into a state of total legisfecal crampdown. If they want to use those tools.

  3. I actually don’t get how Biden got away with his Libyan lie.

    • Biden’s been in the business for a long time: US senator January 3, 1973 to January 15, 2009. He’s had lots and lots of practice.

  4. RD:
    I’ve seriously thinking for months to give my vote to the Green Party-Jill Stein; after all I’m an environmentalist and for clean energy.
    But I keep reading that her votes -since there’s not chance of winning, will go automatically to Obama. It’s that true? What are your thoughts?

    • If it were true that Green Party candidate’s votes automatically default to a major party candidate, al gore would have won in 2000. The greens are a recognized party and if they have a ballot position with a candidate, those votes count.
      Now it might be the case that if you write in the name of a politician who is not on the ballot but is a member of a major party, the party reserves the right to absorb that vote. For instance, Hillary is a Democrat but she is not the party’s nominee. I have read that some states will give a Hillary write in vote to the party’s official nominee.
      But you’re ok if you want to vote Green. Corzine lost to Christie when a third party candidate in nj took about 6% of the vote. Those votes counted.

  5. I agree, RD, Biden won, full stop.
    It was nice to hear someone -not named Clinton-defending and promoting Democratic programs and ideas; if only his boss was on the same page.
    I’ve copped to voting for Obama last time, not in the primary-heaven, forfend-this time, I’m voting third party.

  6. I disagree. I think Biden went into the debate to do two things:

    1) Sound like a fire-breathing, honest-to-God Democrat in order to distract the base from the fact that Obama is really a Republican, and not a terribly bright one at that, and

    2) To reinforce the narrative that Ryan is a Randroid nutball (which he is).

    He was at least partially successful at (1), although I think he mainly appealed to those incapable of distinguishing rudeness from either strength or passion. You can have strong opinions and present them forcefully without acting like a lout.

    I think he was less successful at (2). For one thing, none of the questions really provided much opportunity to expose Ryan’s truly bizarre economic views. A lot of time was spent on foreign policy and I think Ryan really held his own there. He certainly came across as much more serious than Biden on television – where the split screen showed an earnest and articulate Ryan side-by-side with a chuckling, smirking Biden.

    Biden just struck me as rude and undignified. Maybe that stuff plays well with the Kossites, but I think many independent voters would have found it off-putting. If this was an attempt to get under Ryan’s skin and induce him to lose his cool, it was a failure. Biden did nothing to advance the notion that Ryan is a dangerous fanatic – although at least he wasn’t comatose and inarticulate like his boss. And he was mostly “on message” (again, unlike his boss, who described his Social Security position as fundamentally similar to Romney’s during the last debate).

    I thought Biden did have one brilliant, shining moment though – and that was on abortion. It was well-said.

    Overall, I found him disappointing. I’ve met Biden and spoken with him. Contrary to the image he’s acquired over the last few years I’ve found him well-informed, articulate, and serious. I didn’t see that Joe Biden during the debate.

    I rate it a tie (which, considering Ryan’s youth was pretty remarkable).

    I’m voting for Stein, anyway.

    • I don’t think you need to rationalize your vote for Stein by coming down on Biden’s behavior. I didn’t think it was that awful or rude. By the way, did you see that speech that Julia Gillard gave in Australia? In America, we are so timid that just grinning, laughing and interrupting is considered unspeakably rude but in other parts of the world, it’s perfectly acceptable.
      Plus calls for more civility are a time honored way of shutting up the people you don’t want to hear from anymore. Remember Occupy? They were so rude and noisy. Feminists aren’t ladylike so no one wants to listen to them. You know the drill.
      If you like Stein and you’re going to vote for her anyway, Biden’s performance last night shouldn’t have any bearing on your decision. In that case, you can afford to be objective about what he accomplished. I call it a clear, unambiguous win for Biden. Hands down. No question. In fact, it’s about time someone got rude with the Republicans. Democrats are way too accomodating to them and end up being wishy washy, which is probably one of the reasons you’re voting for Stein.
      We need a little more ridicule from the Democrats. They could learn some lessons from Julia Gillard as well.

      • I don’t think you need to rationalize your vote for Stein by coming down on Biden’s behavior.

        I’m not, and if I gave that impression I’m very sorry.

        To clarify: I’m voting for Stein because I think Obama has been an unmitigated disaster as a President, because he has trampled on civil liberties to an extent that Dick Cheney never dared, and because he’s given both liberalism and the Democratic Party a bad name. He’s destroyed any chance of real health care reform in my probable lifetime (I’m a couple of years older than you), done everything imaginable to wreck the real economy and worsen income inequality, and he’s corrupt, to boot. He’s not “wishy-washy”. He’s a conservative Republican (somewhat to the right of Reagan, and *far* to the right of Nixon) who happens to have a “D” by his name.

        I can’t vote for him, and I can’t vote for the Republicans’ whackjob economic/social agenda either. I also don’t believe I can push the Dems left by rewarding them for moving right.

        The debate has nothing to do with that. I did, however, find Biden rude and loutish. I disagree that it’s necessary (or even particularly desireable). Bill Clinton completely dominated Dole during their debates, and he was a model of decorum. If the Dems had actually accomplished anything positive over the last 4 years, they’d have been able to do the same.

        Ryan did better than I expected (probably because he had someone wipe the foam away from his mouth on a regular basis). All he had to do to succeed is not scare the hell out of people – and he was largely successful at that.

        • Rude and loutish?? Like I said, did you see Julia Gillard’s speech? Have you ever watched the House of Commons Prime Minister Q&A? We are so gentle to each other that merely interrupting someone and laughing at their crazy assed ideas is uncouth?? If anything, we should have been treating them like that for awhile now. We’re so fricking respectful that everything needs to be balanced and Republicans routinely go unchallenged on whatever fanciful policy meanness they can dream up. We have been going on about journalists who let Republicans get away with murder but we freak out when a politician calls the Republicans on their shit and mocks them?
          I’m sorry, I just don’t agree.
          It’s like all those fricking creationists who seem to get equal time in Texas. Sensible people have been far too nice. We need to laugh our asses off at the nonsense they preach.
          Did you ever notice that Republicans hide behind religion constantly? It’s because they know that it is considered impolite to challenge a person’s faith. So, you can wrap all kinds of nasty economic theory in a religious exterior and if you dare question it, you’re rude and disrespectful.
          I’m really surprised that more people are falling into this trap. We seem to never learn.

  7. I like to hear liars called liars and fools called fools. Biden came close.

  8. Over the years, I’ve come to recognize that you are a true Progressive. While you go with your gut in your assessment of politicians, and have acquired sufficient inter-leverage to hold firm to your evaluations, it may come down to your generation and the exposure you may or may not have had to the territorial instincts of the elders and their money. Tax, to them, is money gone. What remains under their control is theirs. 2008 confirmed their aversion to the stock market and slick young gunslingers in the banks. They would NEVER allow their account to be automatically debited and would walk away from the greatest deal if it requires electronic deposit. Likewise, they would walk away from anything they don’t understand (credit default swaps) and feel zero compassion for anybody who puts their trust in a “big talker.” They like substance, numbers they can look at and an emotionally even keel when discussing money. They operate from a budget and servo-mechanize accordingly. They have savings, insurance, property, serve in non-profit fundraising and are there for their neighbors and church members. They will elect the one who respects their control of their money, not the lurking punk spending it three ways to sundown before he mugs them at the night depository. Joe owes everything he became to 30 years of riding the train with Arlen Specter, who, despite the age-ist insults of the Progressives, was Pennsylvania’s Eyes and Ears.

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