By Alan Caruba
The Biden-Ryan debate will be the subject of millions of words written and spoken, but, if remembered at all will likely be remembered for Vice President Biden’s obnoxious behavior. One was reminded of the Bush-Gore debate of 2000, but Biden's behavior went beyond Gore’s boorish sighing and pacing.
Those with any familiarity with the issues knows, too, that Biden lied on several occasions. Early on in the discussion of Iran, Biden said “There is no weapon at this point.” Assuming he was referring to enriched uranium capable of being weaponized, he’s right, but Iran possesses any number of missiles to which a nuclear warhead could be fitted. Thus, it is mostly semantics as to when “now” is. Sanctions have not worked to deter the weaponization process and most guesstimates put it within a few months; perhaps early spring. To suggest there is no weapon may be technically correct, but it is still deceptive.
Biden’s assertion that Mitt Romney “had no commitment to jobs” despite his career as an investment capitalist who was instrumental in building into companies with many job was also deceptive and, of course, Romney’s main campaign theme has been jobs.
Biden also dodged an early question about Libya and the Benghazi attack that cost the lives of the U.S. ambassador and three others, saying “We did not know they needed more security there”—an outright lie--blaming the intelligence initially received and then employing the scare tactic—something he did throughout—saying “The last thing we need now is another war.” Sometimes you get a war whether you want one or not and the Middle East is replete with that potential.
Ryan retained his composure throughout, but some observers thought he was too deferential to the Vice President. Better that than responding in kind to having his opinions dismissed as “malarkey” and “all that stuff.” Ryan scored points replying that “Sometimes the words come out of your mouth the wrong way.”
Indeed, whatever Ryan wanted to say was harmed by Biden’s non-stop interruptions and, at times, by the moderator’s. I often wondered during the debate if Ryan would ever be allowed to complete a sentence.
Worse, perhaps, was the continuous and inappropriate laughter of the Vice President, along with what was clearly a great deal of smirking that suggested his disrespect for Ryan.
What we saw and heard was a repeat of the last nearly four years of the Obama administration, one incapable of telling the truth and unwilling to deal with the hard issues whether it was the economy, defense, or foreign affairs.
Whether it was Afghanistan where our troops, as Ryan noted, “are less safe” because of the stated withdrawal date and the “green on blue” attacks, or Syria where Ryan said, “Nobody is proposing to send troops”, he was constantly having to respond to the straw men and scare tactics of Biden.
If one actually lasted the full ninety minutes, Ryan had by far the best closing statement saying “That’s what we get from this administration—speeches.”
“I never say anything I don’t mean,” said Biden and that has been his problem as Vice President. He has said so many foolish things it is hard to take the man seriously.
I doubt the vice presidential debate will have much effect on the outcome of the election though it may have swayed some “undecided” and independents who were as offended by Biden’s behavior as I and others were.
© Alan Caruba, 2012