Friday, October 12, 2012

VP Debate

Collected here are my tweets from last night, some of which were retweets of other comments I liked. There are also a couple of comments which are retrospective, as I was on the road for the first half of the event.

Twitterstream:
Will be on the road, listening and not watching for most of tonight's debate.

I'm concerned that expectations are such that Obama gets a boost from Biden not falling asleep on stage. Or off it.

Only real question of the night is this - can Paul Ryan make people think, "I like these guys - they know what they're doing..."

If so, regardless of Biden performance, Romney/Ryan momentum continues...

(As noted above, I was not online or viewing when the debate started.  The next four comments are recorded afterwards, but they represent my thoughts at the time.  Let me just say that, while Biden's interruptions were beginning to grate, I was not happy with what I'd heard when I arrived at home.)
Listening to the first set of answers, on Libya, and Ryan sounds tentative.  Biden sounds forceful and knowledgeable. 

Biden got all of the class warfare buzzwords in there with the 47%, didn't he?  Given that he had to know it was coming, Ryan's response sounded weak.

Ugh.  Great story about the family in Northboro, but not at all responsive to the question.  GM shouldn't be an asset for the administration, and Ryan lets it stand as one.

Worse, he lets the accusation that R &R would have allowed American car industry to go down the tubes to stand.
I think that the Obama/Biden base is probably stoked right now. The independent middle that they need - not so much...

Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed Schulz - they're a lot happier tonight than they were last Wednesday.

Energetic class warfare, shouting down the Republican - the leftist base has got to be swooning...

I listened to the first 40 minutes or so. Biden did not sound obnoxious for the first 20 or so, but the interrupting got bad.

Did it wear thin faster with pictures?
John Dickerson on CBS: Obama said he was too polite; can't be said of Biden.
- Ramesh Ponnuru 
I like Paul Ryan... for a politician. That's like having a favorite mold.
- Frank J. Fleming 
 Lesson: liberal base hates civility. Loathes it.
- Dan McLaughlin 
Slow Joe clearly thought he was reprising Bentsen-Quayle. But Ryan's not Quayle and Biden's not Bentsen. Fail.
Biden claims state dept at fault over Libya cover up but we will know when Iran goes nuclear. Which is it? State dept is or isn't competent?
- Chuck Woolery 
Krauthammer: On radio, Biden won. On TV, Ryan won. I agree...

My takeaway - Biden was obnoxious, Ryan took a while to get started. Bottom line, no change in momentum, so that's positive for Romney...

Laughing at the Luntz focus group, so impressed by Biden's grasp of the facts. Easy enough if you just make it up as you go along.
A couple of next day thoughts:
  • If the fact checkers were truly objective, or "fair and balanced," they'd go to town on Joe Biden's "malarkey." I'm not sure that there's enough time left between now and the election to cover all of the misstatements and misleading statements he made last night. But he's Joe Biden, he's been doing it for years, and I don't expect much coverage of it. And it really doesn't matter, except that the Obama campaign has made such a commitment to the narrative myth of Romney mendacity. 
  • There was no Bentsen-Quayle moment.  (Biden thought that he could make one.  He was wrong.)  Paul Ryan came across, particularly as the evening went on, as knowledgeable, capable, intelligent, and prepared.  Oh, and polite, particularly compared to the gentleman on the other side of the table.What the Romney campaign needed was a performance without gaffes, a performance that prevented the narrative from turning, today, to "selecting a VP was the first big decision and he failed miserably."  Paul Ryan had to come across to undecided voters as a likeable person and a credible VP candidate.  Period.  While the expectations were cranked up unrealistically high, the actual requirements of the performance made for a relatively low bar, and Ryan crossed it easily.
  • It is depressing to consider that our political future is in the hands of the likes of the group of "undecided" voters that Frank Luntz had gathered for his panel last night.
  • One thing I can't be sure of is how much of a disparity there was between the radio and TV perceptions last night.  It could be that Biden was much worse, and Ryan better, on television than radio.  And it could also be that Biden was better during the first half and Ryan worse.  Since I listened to the first half and saw the second, either possibility would account for my perceptions. 
  • If Barack Obama thought that he was "too nice...too polite" in the first debate, what does he think about VP Biden's performance last night?  I suspect that he's not quite delusional enough - close, but not quite - to think that he should behave that way when the second Presidential debate takes place next week.  Though I'd love to see it.  It would effectively end the campaign (and not the way that the Obama fanboys want it to...)
Going in, the momentum and fundamentals were all on the side of the Romney campaign. Nothing happened last night to change that. Therefore, it was a net plus for the Republicans.

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