Biden's triumph was only partly about personality. It also had to do with strategy. He knew exactly what he was doing on that stage. Was he over the top? Absolutely. But for the most part Biden drew the response he had been seeking.
"I want to talk to you very briefly," Martha Raddatz told Biden and Ryan, "about your own personal character... what could you both give to this country as a man, as a human being?" What Ryan brought to the debate as a human being was hard work, including the ability to cram all night memorizing his talking points, and healthy habits -- he was well-hydrated and in good shape -- but no depth or wisdom. Biden, on the other hand, brought loads of experience and much more depth. But, in a different way, no statesman-like mastery of himself. He was a 69-year-old hothead in control of the facts, but at the mercy of his anger. In our troubled times, we are in desperate need of real character in our leaders -- which calls not just for intelligence but for wisdom and the ability to navigate not just the corridors of power but the dangerous shoals of one's own emotions.
As much as Paul Ryan tried to mislead, omit, or obfuscate the positions of the Romney-Ryan ticket, the GOP record in Congress tells all the parts of the story that Ryan didn't.
Paul Ryan ended the one and only vice presidential debate last week just as he began it, conveniently stepping on the facts. Ryan stepped on the fac...
Paul Ryan stepped into the vice presidential debate prepped with a cadre of misstatements to confuse voters. But he didn't get away with much, what with Vice President Joe Biden giving him a drubbing and moderator Martha Radditz repeatedly holding his feet to the proverbial fire.
The lights are being removed, the podiums are gone, and the cleanup crew is sweeping up the tiny, tiny pieces of Paul Ryan that were left all over the stage last night. Heh. Well, maybe not really, but it certainly seems that way, doesn't it?
Biden not only trounced Ryan, but also, in the process, trounced Romney.
Now, that's a debate! After a weak wonkfest last week, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan traded uppercuts and right crosses, not light taps (you can almost hear the brakes tighten on the Romney momentum).
There is nothing virtuous about selfishness and there is nothing objective about Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy, which is little more than a sly attempt to whitewash her own flaws.
After last night's debate, it's clear that Paul Ryan has a lot to learn when it comes to foreign policy. As an Afghan War Veteran, I can unequivocally say that he hasn't a clue as to what is going on in Afghanistan.
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.