Debate reaction roundup
Primarily from the right side of the internet...
Joe Biden appealed to Democratic partisans, firing them up by attacking and, even more often, smirking at Paul Ryan’s arguments. But smirks only work when your audience starts off agreeing with you. That would be the case with strong Democratic partisans, but it’s not at all that clear that it appeals to Independents, or to those who are undecided or moveable. He was trying to dismiss Ryan’s arguments as ridiculous, in line with Democratic talking points that no rational person could possibly agree with him, but I think that only works with people who are already convinced. He may have increased Democratic voters’ enthusiasm—down in the dumps after Barack Obama’s performance eight days ago—but he didn’t do much in the way of converting those who are not already converted.Fred Barnes
The only good thing about Thursday night’s debate for the Obama campaign was that it involved Biden rather than Obama. As a result, it’s not likely to have any impact in the election and may not even affect the polls over the next few days.
What were the Obama strategists thinking? Yes, Biden’s performance may have pleased the Democratic party’s liberal base. So what? Their votes are in the bag. Obama needs to attract the small bloc of undecided and swing voters. They’re not likely to lurch his way on the basis of the show Biden put on.
There’s a way to disagree with your opponent without acting like a jerk. The most recent example: Romney’s firm but polite disagreements with Obama in their debate last week. One can be assertive but affable, tough but cool. Come to think of it, that was Obama’s style in the entire 2008 presidential race. It worked brilliantly. Biden did the opposite in front of tens of millions of American voters. It didn’t work brilliantly.
Randy Barnett (quoted by Glenn Reynolds)
Ryan had to pass the vice president test tonight or the ticket would have suffered. He did, which against the hard charging Joe Biden was no mean feat. So there is no change in the current dynamic of the race.Mark Levin
Joe Biden was off his meds, flailing with his hands, interrupting, repetitive, and whiny, which is what most of his base has wanted. And Paul Ryan was calm, cool, and collected, with a better second half in the debate.Paul Mirengoff
Joe Biden was always going to be an attack dog tonight. After the presidential debate, the Democrats needed him aggressively to promote their post-debate excuse that Romney is all smoke and mirrors. Moreover, Biden is well suited for the attack dog role.
I didn’t expect, however, that Biden’s demeanor would be so off-putting. The ridiculous toothy smile didn’t come as a shock. But the smirking, mocking, laughter, constant interruptions of Paul Ryan, and cranky interaction with moderator Martha Raddatz, whom he chided at one point for allegedly misstating the facts, did.
My sense is that Biden’s demeanor cost him the debate.
Quick reaction around the networks and websites: Both Biden and Ryan scored some good points. Biden's sneers and constant interruptions were a turn-off, disrespectful in the extreme, to those who value courtesy in personal communications. The CNN tracking of men and women Independents throughout the debate found women favoring Ryan over Biden. That's a reversal from the past leaning of women toward Obama (now, Obama and Romney are about even in the polls with women). Biden's condescending attitude came through as consistent with Obama's. That's a negative for those tired of being talked down to by those whose promises and self-regard are hollow.Wall Street Journal
Biden may have encouraged his base by his boorishness, and Ryan may have not met his base's expectations of being tougher on Biden's assertions -- even when wrong as to facts. But, for many Independents the comparison comes down to Ryan's civility Vs Biden's rudeness.
So now we know what Team Obama's comeback plan was following last week's defeat in the Presidential debate. Unleash Joe Biden to interrupt, filibuster, snarl, smirk and otherwise show contempt for Paul Ryan. The carnival act contributed to the least illuminating presidential or vice presidential debate of our lifetimes.Mollie Hemingway
From the opening bell, Mr. Biden seemed to take to heart the interpretation that President Obama offered this week of his debate performance—that he had been "too polite." That was not a problem for the Veep, whose marching orders were clearly to steamroll the overmatched moderator Martha Raddatz and dismiss everything Mr. Ryan said with a condescending sneer.
By unofficial media counts, Mr. Biden interrupted the Republican some 80 to 100 times. Mr. Ryan let the bully get away with too much for our tastes, at least until he finally pushed back on the interruptions or until Mr. Biden lost steam in the last half hour. But as anyone who's been in a tavern past midnight understands, it's hard to win a fight with a guy who is shouting from the corner bar stool.
But this 90 minutes wasn't about an exchange of ideas or a debate over policies. It was a Democratic show of contempt for the opposition, an attempt to claim by repetitive assertion that Messrs. Ryan and Romney are radicals who want to destroy "the middle class." Mr. Ryan's cool under assault was a visual rebuttal of that claim, and we certainly know who looked more presidential.
No one won this debate. And I suppose you could interpret that as me saying that Rep. Paul Ryan lost. But you'd be wrong. I think Vice President Joe Biden lost by being horribly belligerent and unserious. Ryan lost by not aggressively responding to Biden. And Martha Raddatz lost by interrupting at inappropriate times.
I'm even willing to give this debate to Biden, in the very short term. But in the long term, I bet he lost it. Think about what will stay with people after the debate. They'll remember a rude, interrupting man.
I have no doubt that these things will fire up the Democratic base. They were looking to get fired up and Biden showed some passion.
But think about how it comes off to women. Heck, think about how it comes off to average Midwesterners. Does that persona age well?
While the media might enjoy the narrative shift for a few hours, I think it's going to be hard to overcome Biden's many misstatements, his blustering persona, and his shocking lack of seriousness about the office he holds and the problems we face.