The Ryan-Biden Debate Is History
I am sitting here in my study at 10:40 PM having just watched the Ryan/Biden vice presidential debate. I have been noting to myself all week that I have no plans late tonight or tomorrow morning so intended to write a personal commentary on the debate.
Been sitting here for close to ten minutes and do not yet know how to begin. Chalk it up to writer’s block, I guess, precipitated by being bombarded with nearly ninety minutes of audio and video, the contents of which were entirely unexpected, and have left me a bit wordless.
I have followed Paul Ryan’s campaigns for a while now. His incomparable efforts to create a sane budget for America, ‘The Path to Prosperity’, have been impressive beyond words. His efforts to obtain sufficient support for those sane budgets have been no less impressive. His tireless work on budget preparation, seriously aimed at cutting government spending, protecting the military, restoring economic freedom, unlocking American energy production, strengthening health and retirement security, reforming the tax code, and reducing the power of special interests, has eclipsed that of anyone in congress, and certainly has put to shame the efforts (or should we say the lack of effort?) on the part of the president of the United States himself.
In those attempts to gain support for his budget plan he was nothing less than passionate and eloquent at every turn. Since accepting Mitt Romney’s nomination to be his vice president, he has been equally passionate and eloquent in his speech at the republican convention, and in his stump speeches along the campaign trail. A few have called him mesmerizing along the lines of Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan.
The man who took part in tonight’s debate was not that man. I would describe tonight’s Paul Ryan as reserved, cautious, and somewhat intimidated. He was no less dedicated to his and Mitt Romney’s mission to depose the scoundrels who have purposefully and premeditatedly hastened America’s demise. He was no less dedicated to a reverence for truth in pursuing that goal. But his demeanor, and his choice of subjects with which to inform the American public, were sorely lacking.
On the other hand, his opponent, who spent a week in pre-debate seclusion, no doubt being indoctrinated and groomed by his many handlers, came loaded for bear. And his arsenal was replete with many weapons, not the least of which was a programmed penchant to mock and ridicule, to disallow the completion of any opposing comments that he chose to delete through interruption, and to cite facts, figures and refutations made up out of whole cloth whenever convenient.
It may appear simplistic, but I believe the main difference between the two tickets in this campaign boils down to the fact that one ticket is comprised of basically decent and honest men who, all of their political lives, have valued truthfulness and disclosure, while the other ticket’s main campaign tools rely on secrecy and lies. The stark difference between both tickets was expertly portrayed in Danville tonight. Paul Ryan was respectful, honest and focused on genuine facts, figures and reason. Joe Biden was rude, deceitful, and focused entirely on accusations and emotion.
Paul Ryan provided dry facts and figures – something that the average, uninformed American tunes out. He listened to Joe Biden spew lie after lie, and, rather than rebut him with a passionate refutation of those lies, he calmly cited figures, the accuracy of which was unquestionable, but really unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and they were figures in which the average viewer is basically disinterested.
Biden was at times literally laughing out loud at Ryan, at times grinning with his trademark Grinch-like grin, at times snickering, and often interrupting and asserting that it was Ryan who was using bogus figures, which wasn’t the case at all. And, for the most part, Ryan sat there taking it like a fifth grader being scolded by his teacher.
Martha Raddatz allowed Biden far more time to answer questions. She interrupted Ryan consistently, and allowed Biden rebuttals to Ryan’s rebuttals without allowing Ryan the same privilege. Both Ryan and Raddatz (who, by the way, invited Barack Obama to her wedding, and he and Michelle attended) pretty much allowed Biden to call the shots, behave rudely, and lie to his heart’s content.
A decent, honest, duty-bound American leader, who has America’s best interests at heart, and who is genuinely seeking to pull our beloved republic back from the deadly abyss that was created by his opponent’s policies, allowed himself to be bullied by that opponent, and, indirectly, by a member of the overtly biased mainstream media who fostered the bullying tactics.
I must confess that I walked away from the debate fifteen minutes or so before it ended. Couldn’t quite take any more of Biden’s spectacle, Raddatz’s bias, or Ryan’s dispassion. I did not hear Ryan’s closing remarks, but I believe he would have gained a few debate points if he had ended those remarks by turning to Biden and saying, “I believe you have insulted the two of us, and the American people, who tuned in tonight in the belief that they would be witnessing a serious, civil debate between two dignified men who are seeking the second highest office in the land. Instead you delivered to them theatrics, undisciplined interruptions, choreographed smirks and laughter, condescension and disrespect unbecoming to the office you hold and inappropriate in a debate of such genuine importance.”
I do not support or respect Paul Ryan any less as a result of his performance in tonight’s debate. He has too sterling a record of achievement and dedication, and a personal character that is beyond reproach. A ninety-minute debate in which he did nothing more than attempt to make truthful points is incapable of damaging so strong a foundation. With that said, I have long believed, and still do, that the majority of the American electorate really knows very little about any of the four candidates. The majority of the American electorate simply has not done its homework. For that reason, these debates have significantly more impact than they rightfully should. And for that reason Paul Ryan did not do the Romney/Ryan ticket any favors tonight. We need to pray that Mitt Romney can pick up the slack in Hempstead and Boca Raton.