Yesterday -- ten hours before the vice presidential debate -- I gave a speech outside Washington, DC. I told the audience that I really like both Vice President Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan -- that you can't find two nicer men in Washington. I have interacted with both of them over the years and both, in a city of egos, have stood out as being gentlemen, gracious and smart. I said it because I believe it. I admitted the obvious -- that individuals in the audience disagree with one of them -- but I vouched for both of them being decent and genuine.
Yes, today I still think they are both very nice men -- one night does not define a person. However I think I am going to have a hard time convincing people who watched the debate last night, and who don't know the vice president personally, that Vice President Biden is a nice guy. His sneering and inappropriate laughter overwhelmed the substance of what he said -- rather than showing strong conviction, he acted like a bully. As I search my memory of last night's debate, and as I surf the Internet and Twitter, what stands out for many (most?) is not what he said but how he acted. I doubt that is what he hoped to achieve. He wanted to reach and convince the undecided -- not play to his base (he already has the votes of his base).
Of course people should not base their vote on who they like but rather on who they think is the better candidate -- but it is hard to vote for someone you think is a bully and rude. There is a big difference between showing strong conviction and being rude. One can understand your problems and you believe can and will give you help -- the other you run from.
Cross-posted from GretaWire.