Romney certainly has an enormous amount to improve upon when it comes to telling the truth: 43 percent of what comes out of his mouth is mostly false or worse. It makes sense, then, that he would forget to pass this lesson along to Paul Ryan.
On the style versus substance front, the GOP rep accused the Vice President of being loud, overbearing and rude. The very same qualities they called bold and commanding when Romney wore them last week. Hey, you guys: make up your mind. Pot-kettle-black much?
Conventional wisdom tells us that vice presidential debates don't do anything to swing elections. Don't tell that to the estimated 43 million people that watched the debate.
Wouldn't it be nice if we had leaders who made choices based not upon a secret code of ideology or moral principle -- on a faith that provides their guidance system -- but upon the actual conditions of an issue as it expresses itself?
What was Biden to do when the congressman used his time to falsify the Obama record and plans? What was Biden to do when Ryan was spouting his fusillade of fabrications about Obama defanging the military or supposedly snubbing Bibi Netanyahu, or cuddling up to Assad?
Many people go into politics because a fantasy holds them captive. And the fantasies come in many kinds. There are those a leader may hold about himself, or about the role he has to play, or about the problems he is expected to solve. In Obama's case, the largest fantasy was perhaps this: that you can fight for a cause and win without fighting against anything. By nature and disposition, Obama is a man who blends and consolidates. The plaintive undertone that you hear sometimes, under his heartiest shout, really says to his listeners "How can anyone reject what I'm saying? This is so reasonable. And we know it already -- it's enough to remember what we know. Now, come along with me and agree that this is what we've always stood for." But not everyone will call it reasonable unless the arguments and history are laid out in a connected order. In last night's debate, Joe Biden brought a reminder of what it sounds like when a politician offers reasons.
The stakes are too high, the challenges are too great and the work of rebuilding this country on the other side of the Bush Administration debacle is too important to leave it to "trust us -- the details are behind the curtain in Box #2."
Biden seemed to be on steroids and amphetamines, as if he were trying to overcompensate for last week's lackluster performance by his boss, President Obama, in his match-up against Mitt Romney. This led to Biden actually punching himself around the ring a few times.
Let's hear it for Martha Raddatz, the brilliantly skillful moderator of the vice-presidential debate: She got a clear yes from Rep. Paul Ryan to this question: "If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?"
What does that say about us when the winner of a debate is chosen, not by what they say, but by how they look and sound as they say it, or by how they react to what their opponent is saying?
Historically speaking, vice-presidential debates have had a smaller effect on the horse-race polls and ultimate outcome of the election than the three presidential debates. That being said, I certainly don't think that this debate will be a non-factor in this campaign.
Ryan's views should once again strengthen women's support for the president. But when will these politicians remember that women also care about wage equity, Social Security, the education of their children, Medicare and health insurance?
If you are simply comparing Martha Raddatz to last week's moderator, Jim Lehrer, then, "mission accomplished." However, if you were to look at her performance in a vacuum, Raddatz was at times as aggressive as she was docile.
It is not that I don't think education is a subject worthy of national debate -- it is a critical issue in our society -- but it has been so botched by our two major political parties that I cringe every time education is mentioned in a political speech or debate.