Apparently, Vice President Joe Biden saw something I didn’t because last night’s vice-presidential debate wasn’t quite as entertaining as I expected. It was solid, and both Vice President Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan got their messages across to the American people. What struck me, however, was the manner in which those messages were delivered.
THE CALM KID
Congressman Ryan, who is known for his wonkiness and articulate nature, proved both qualities again last night. He was prepared for the debate with facts and rightful criticisms of the Obama Administration on everything from out-of-control spending, to weakness in foreign policy, to (finally in the debates) radical positions on social issues.
Representative Ryan was funny, genuine, and forthright. He responded to the questions, and to Vice President Biden’s attacks, with clear points and did so with a level head and in a calm, cool, and collected manner.
That stands in stark contrast to Vice President Biden.
THE UNCOUTH INCUMBENT
The Vice President, a U.S. Senator from Delaware before assuming the running mate position with then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, is known for being a tough debater and strong on foreign policy. Oh, and for his gaffes.
But last night, he really showed his [insert Democratic Party mascot here]. Despite the frequent flare-ups of Mr. Biden’s bad case of foot-in-mouth disease, I’ve never seen him in quite the light I saw him last night.
First, he was flat out rude. While Mr. Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who has been Mitt Romney’s running mate since August, was speaking, VP Biden was, almost without exception, shown on camera laughing. Now, I understand this was his way of attempting to portray Ryan as a liar, but it made Biden out to be a jerk, inconsiderate of the views of others.
And when he wasn’t laughing at Ryan, Biden was interrupting him. I lost count of the number of times he cut the congressman off mid-sentence, and it continued even after Mr. Ryan called him out for it, saying, “The American people will be best served if we don’t interrupt each other.”
When Biden spoke, he was articulate enough, and delivered his Party’s talking points and buzzwords with ease. But his delivery was as unattractive as his demeanor.
Biden came across as condescending, frequently speaking down to not only his opponent but to the moderator as well. He was hot-headed, on several occasions raising his voice in anger or (admittedly, in his closing statement) frustration.
Overall, Vice President Biden portrayed himself as that cantankerous old fart neighbor yelling at the kids, “Get off my lawn!”
BRINGING IT ALL HOME
Going into last night’s debate, Vice President Biden had a likeability, or favorable, rating of -14. That means 14% more people dislike him than like him (39-51). Conversely, Congressman Ryan had a +4 favorable rating. While, by and large, last night’s debate was a draw, Ryan came across as more likeable, a huge victory for America’s Comeback Team. Anyone watching last night’s debate must admit, if they have any shred of honesty in them, that the condescension and arrogance of the Obama-Biden ticket is not what America needs or deserves.