By Bob Meadows
The vice president debate has been swept into history’s closet, but before we let it go completely, I think we can all agree that the winner was the American viewer. We got to see an actual debate. Biden won, smirks and all, but not because Ryan Obama’d, meaning refused to defend any action he’s taken during four years in office. No Ryan, unlike the president, was in the fight. He just lost to a better debater.
Biden’s faces initially cracked me up. Then they made me cringe. Kinda like a Robin Williams routine. (Oh, a John Houseman impression again. Who’s John Houseman?) He didn’t need them. He spoke with passion and force and made good points. Was he telling truth? Do any of these guys? Most everything a politician says is a half-truth at best, and though some half-truths are more damaging to we the people than others, I expect no less than lies. But as long as you speak them with passion and force, your golden in a debate. It’s TV. Entertainment. Yeah I, like you, want to hear some specifics from Romney about his impossible tax plan. But I don’t expect to get them during a debate. (Truth be told, I never expect to get them. He can’t pull it off and then will blame Congress for making his impossible pie-in-the-sky plan unable to come true).
Ryan was cool. He made good points. He had a good line, about how Biden should be able to understand that words can sometimes stumble out of your mouth. But Biden had a great counter, how he always says what he means. (So the Republicans will have Blacks in shackles, Joe?) Did Ryan fill his comments with outright lies and half-truths, like Romney loving the auto industry and artfully refusing to answer the direct question of whether abortion rights are in trouble if his team gets elected? Of course he did. Good politician!
But Biden also made a great point establishing how the Great Recession began. Finally someone did. Yeah, the unemployment rate was lower when Obama took office, and then it rose. But you know what the unemployment rate was two years before Obama came into office: even lower. So it was already rising and kept going up. Now it’s falling. Yay! Republicans had the House, Senate, Presidency and Supreme Court for six years and we were in free fall by the time that era ended. Thanks for making that point, Joe.
The veep was so confident (arrogant? Smug? Rude? pick one) that he repeatedly talked over Ryan. Ryan had to be thinking there was an evil, yet smarter and quicker echo in the room. Biden was unrelenting: “I know [Romney] had no commitment to the auto industry,” he said at one point, reminding viewers that Romney voted against the successful auto bailout. “I’ve never met two guys more down on America,” he said at another, taking the I Love America badge Republicans usually wear so snugly.
And hey, never has ‘my friend’ been used in so hurtful a manner. Biden referred to Ryan as his best buddy a dozen times, but I’m betting Ryan defriended him on Facebook before the night was out. It made me wonder how Biden treats Bibi Netanyahu, whom he said has been his friend for 39 years. I’m sensing Biden is one of those friends who pins people on the ground and cuts their hair but doesn’t remember it 40 years later.
Ah, but let’s face it: This debate didn’t matter. Tom Brokaw pointed out how he moderated the 1988 VP debate, when Lloyd Bentsen uttered the famous “You’re no Jack Kennedy” line to Dan Quayle. Sure, we remember it 24 years later, but Quayle became vice president while Bentsen crept back to Texas wondering what hit him. The vice president doesn’t matter when it comes to how we vote. (Obama would’ve pitched a shutout in 2008 if it did. Right?)
The race is all about the top guys. So President Obama, please don’t embarrass yourself next week. Come prepared this time. At least be awake. That way, even if Romney crushes you like a grape once more, you will at least be in the fight.
© 2012 The Peoples News