It has happened to all of us. You’re on an airplane, train, at a doctor’s office or in a long line and the person next to you starts talking. Not just talking, but being annoying, condescending, and opinionated. There’s nothing to do but wait it out.
That’s how it must have felt for Paul Ryan last night in his debate with Joe Biden. It sure felt that way in the audience.
Post debate analysis says Biden interrupted Ryan 83 times. Was that all? At times Ryan couldn’t speak two words without Biden butting in. Then there was the smirk and the laughing and the belittling “my friend” he kept throwing Ryan’s way.
The antics began as soon as the first debate question. Most people would get their footing before beginning the clown act. Not Joe. Moderator (hardly moderate) Martha Raddatz started with foreign policy. Biden immediately went to “we killed Osama” mode, chest thumping and insisted they’d follow him to the gates of hell to get a terrorist. Then when it was Ryan’s turn, Biden began smiling like hell. Then smirking.
Ryan repudiated the YouTube protest story the administration concocted. It took Obama two weeks to acknowledge it was terrorism, Ryan explained. He said we’re projecting weakness abroad and that the Obama foreign policy was unraveling. How could you forget the date, too? It was, after all, 9-11.
Biden began shaking his head and interrupting. He blamed the lack of security on Republican budgetary cuts. He said the cuts were devastating, so devastating he couldn’t enumerate them. Then he made the fatal mistake of blaming the intelligence community and saying Ambassador Stevens did not ask for more security.
In blaming intel, he’s bringing down the wrath of all of them on Obama’s administration. They will not suffer this, but continue to spew information like sewage out of a drain pipe. You don’t mess with those guys. Even the media finds that hard to take. Someone later asked Obama campaign chief Stephanie Cutter about Biden’s denial of a request for aid by the ambassador. Her reply: “I didn’t catch that.” Really? What was she doing? Out for coffee?
Then Raddatz shifted to Iran. Bombastic Biden said they’d put the most crippling sanctions ever on them! I almost expected him to add they sent a curt letter to them, too. Biden looked condescending when Ryan answered Raddatz’s query if Romney/Ryan could fix it in the two months before Netanyahu’s time frame hit. She didn’t ask Biden that.
Biden then went to the tactic of referring to “Bibi” (Netanyahu). It was taxing to hear him go on about him. Biden insisted Obama has talked to “Bibi” as much as to any other leader, even though Ryan pointed out when he had a chance to meet with him and others from the UN Obama skipped out to go on talk shows.
Once the discussion proceeded to the economy, Biden couldn’t say “middle class,” “Main St. vs. Wall St.” and “tax cuts for the extremely wealthy” enough. Did he have some quota to meet?
Ryan inserted a personal anecdote about Romney’s generosity and countered Joe’s reference to the 47% by saying Romney cares for 100% of Americans. He chided him saying, “the vice president knows sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.” It was the best line of the night and dismissed the 47% reference.
Biden, in a very tacky move, mentioned his wife who died in a car accident when he was younger. That was supposed to counter Romney’s caring story. Did you hear the little violins?
Ryan brought to our attention that when the Obama administration came into office with one party control. They could do whatever they liked. They passed the stimulus, promising unemployment would go under 8% – didn’t happen. They promised the economy would grow at 4%; it’s at 1.3%. They gave out energy grants to their friends without the 5 million green jobs they promised materializing.
Martha moved on to Medicare and Social Security. Ryan said he knew what they did for his family. His mother uses Medicare and they got Social Security help after his father died when Ryan was a boy. He said the Obama people got caught with their hands in the cookie jar raiding money from Medicare to fund Obamacare. This set off a torrent of interruptions from Biden as he didn’t want the truth to spill out.
Unbelievably, Biden objected saying that Democrats didn’t work with Ryan. Ryan pointed out that Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon drew up a bill with him. Biden just kept on smirking, laughing and interrupting.
At this point, Americans watching must have jumped up and said to Biden, “For the love of God, shut up!” But he didn’t and Raddatz started interrupting, too. She was a poor moderator. She favored Biden and let him blabber. If Paul Ryan hadn’t brought it up, she would never have mentioned the huge debt crisis we face. It’s one of the more important issues of the campaign.
She did find time for abortion and for religion. Raddatz asked each what role religion has played in your vision of abortion. Ryan bested Biden on this one. He told of how his pro life stance came not just from faith, but from reason and science. That is, when he went with his wife to see their baby’s ultrasound, he saw the heart beat and knew life was there. Ryan also mentioned that the freedom of religion issue.
Biden, did too, but he told a whopper. “No religious institution has to pay, refer or be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide.” What? Then why are Catholic institutions suing them? Ryan asked that, too.
Biden warned that a Republican president would name Supreme Court justices who would ban abortion. He specifically mentioned Scalia. Scalia? He’s been a brilliant justice.
The wrap ups were welcome at this point. Enough hot air and bluster had come from Biden to melt Ryan’s hair. Raddatz asked “what would you give, if you win, that no one else can?” Are we at a job interview? It was like the question thrown at applicants about what your weak points are.
Ryan answered they’d give growth to the economy, not stagnation. Joe went for the middle class warfare stuff. Besides, we know he hasn’t done anything in the past four years except be a gaffe machine.
As it ended, I was struck by the fact that Biden’s people had to replicate the stage for him so he could practice. They could have used an old table as that was the whole set. Is he that stupid?