Joe, When You’re Smilin’ — Does the Whole World Smile With You?

I have never been fond of the practice of deciding the winner or loser of a political debate.  Even after last week’s Obama Meltdown, I didn’t declare Romney the winner.  The reason for this has to do with the complicated nature of the debate itself.  Viewers can never be entirely sure about the agenda and goals of the debaters, thus they can’t know if the debaters really achieved their goals.

There were some commentators last week who proposed that Barack Obama intentionally performed as he did in the first presidential debate in order to garner sympathy from voters.  I don’t put any stock in that theory–it’s just pro-Obama cover.  But the idea itself demonstrates the nature of the beast.

It’s apparent to me that VP Joe Biden had his marching orders, and that he was a faithful soldier in the effort to return Barack Obama to the White House for four more years.  As I predicted yesterday, he came out swinging.  And he kept on swinging even when it wasn’t his turn.  He sighed.  He exhaled in an audible way.  He murmurmed and complained.  He shook his head.  He played up the drama and interrupted without end.  He sneered.  He laughed.  He was overbearing and condescending.  And all the while there was that obnoxious smile, apparently borrowed from the Cheshire Cat of Wonderland.

Some are saying that Biden did the same thing to Ryan that Romney did to Obama.  No way.  There is a qualitative difference in the mannerisms of the two.  Romney was in control.  He was dignified.  Biden was just … can I say it?  He was just creepy.

I’ll give one thing to Smokin’ Joe Biden.  He has a stage presence and a sure-footed dance step that could baffle anyone.  At times he seemed to be getting the upper hand on Ryan, who doesn’t have the experience Biden has in front of national crowds.  But then the buffoon emerged; the clown returned.  As Biden performed his antics I had the same puzzled feeling I get anytime a van of clowns drives into a circus tent:  the real show is paused while the big cat prepares for the next segment.

All in all, Joe was making up for the failures of his boss from last week.  He didn’t do it very well.

For me, one of the most powerful moments of the evening came as Ryan reminded the audience of the hometown roots of each of them.  Ryan is from Janesville, Wisconsin.  Biden hails from Scranton, Pennsylvania.  “You know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today?” Ryan asked.  “I sure do,” stated Biden, seeming oblivious to the importance of the question.  “It’s 10%.  You know what it was the day you guys came in?  8.5%.  That’s how it’s going all around America.”

The official jobs numbers from DC say things are getting better, but working America knows the truth.  The only way you can fudge the employment numbers to show improvement these days is by not counting those who have stopped looking for work.  Joe’s hometown is an example of what the Obama-Biden administration has done–and continues to do–to American prosperity.

The political pundits will be bombarding us with analysis all day.  I won’t recap all the great moments of the debate.  I will, however, remark about the final segments, those dealing with the question of character and and giving the candidates a closing remark.  I believe the comments at this point of the debate tell us who these men are at their very core.  They should also remind us how important our vote is next month.

When pushed to define his character, Paul Ryan spoke of honesty.  Joe Biden spoke of his record.  There was a time when Obama and Biden spoke of honesty, but they have failed to live it.  And there is little in the Obama-Biden record that has been of use to the nation.

In his closing remarks, Biden once again blamed the previous administration.  We inherited “God-awful circumstances,” he said.  Supposedly he and Obama want four more years to fix those problematic circumstances.  The problem is that no matter how bad things get, the road to recovery by now should be showing some signs of betterment if we’re doing the right things.  But we’re not.  We’re living on a credit card whose credit limit may eventually bring even more suffering than we’ve seen yet.  And that part doesn’t change just because the occupant of the White House changes.

In his final remarks, Ryan said that he and Mitt Romney “won’t duck responsibility or blame others.”  I, for one, want to give Romney and Ryan the opportunity to prove it.

Did Ryan take a thumping from Biden?  I suppose so, at least in the early segments of the debate.  It was the same kind of thumping a bully gives to the bright kid in class who doesn’t know yet how to handle himself on the playground.  But it became clear last night that the bright kid learns quickly.

Who won?  I like to think the winners were the American people, waking up from the nightmare of a failed presidency.


6 thoughts on “Joe, When You’re Smilin’ — Does the Whole World Smile With You?

  1. After last night I am actually worried about Biden as a president. He seemed unstable! The more I think about this debate the more horrified I become. I think the same thing will happen to others. I don’t think we will remember any of Biden’s answers, only his very worrisome behavior!

  2. I caught the last 20 minutes of the debate last night. The moderator related to the candidates her conversation with a ‘disenchanted’ soldier. The soldier was disappointed with how the candidates have executed their campaigns, tearing down each other instead of building up the country, and asked the gentlemen how they would respond to this soldier.

    The response from both men was complete dismissal of the question and, instead, to continue talking about the failures of the other side.

    Total. Disappointment. On both sides.

    • Yep, I caught that too, Drew. I find it disappointing. But in an imperfect world where there are no perfect candidates and no perfect institutions, what is one to do? Give up? I can’t do that. So I pick the better of imperfect candidates, based upon my overall trajectory for the future and for the good of all. That’s why I’m a staunch constitutionalist. I’m not entirely happy with Mr. Romney. I’m happier with Mr. Ryan. I’m disgusted with Mr. Biden and blown away by the lying and misrepresentation of the packaged but empty suit known as Mr. Obama.

      • Good point.

        So… when do we talk about campaign finance reform? I’m halfway through Republic, Lost and it seems that a lot of issues in DC are rooted in a Congressman’s dependency on money. Wasn’t always like that..

        A topic for a separate post, I imagine. Thanks for the posting and engaging!

      • I’ve not gotten to the issue of campaign finance reform in any grand way, but let me offer an initial assessment.

        I’m NOT for limiting money. Nothing is more dear than free speech. Giving money to a candidate is a form of free speech. We have lots of rules now, and you know what happens? Candidates get around them. I’ve studied only a couple of candidate filings of donated funds, but it’s clear to me that there is some monkey business going on. (I’d rather not post what I know here in public.)

        Our problem isn’t the money, per se. And besides that, no matter what we do, the powerful will find the dough they need.

        So controlling money isn’t what will work. FULL DISCLOSURE IS BETTER. MORE TRANSPARENCY IS BETTER. Candidates should have to put donors and donation details in the newspaper. Owners, directors, members, and executives of PACs should all be listed likewise. Put it all out there for everyone to see. Then let us make up our own minds.

  3. I think campaign finance reform has started. Without any new law, the power of the internet is changing Washington. Many of us who had resigned ourselves to the corruption of money see the first glimmer of hope. We have people in congress now, who do not have to answer to big money, I can hear Washington quaking in their boots from here. We now have men of honor, willing to run for office.
    It is imperative to stem the flow of cash. Charity money that goes through the government is the slush that runs the slime. I believe in charity, but want the government out of it!!! Government money can rob a person of thier dignity, Charity can be uplifting for both the giver the reciever.

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