Although much younger than Biden, Ryan was the only adult sitting at the VP debate table.
As I observed the words and demeanor of Vice President Joe Biden all throughout last night's debate, a line from Hamlet kept running through my mind.
"That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain," William Shakespeare wrote. How better to sum up the most unctuous, disingenuous vice president in this writer's lifetime?
The radical left-wing Delawarean showed the same loathsome traits that he displayed during his debate with Sarah Palin four years ago. But this time, because he wasn't facing a woman he wasn't walking on eggshells, terrified of offending female voters. This allowed his worst characteristics to rise to the surface, unburdened by natural inhibitions.
While his opponent, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), was relatively relaxed, Biden was everyone's obnoxious, overbearing, opinionated relative who makes up for the weakness of his arguments by making them loudly. As conservative comedian Brian Sack tweeted, the debate was "Too Chill Boy vs. Obnoxious Grandaddy."
Throughout the debate Biden made no attempt to conceal his contempt for Ryan. It is hard to say if Biden showed greater disdain for his adversary than President Obama showed for Mitt Romney in the Colorado conversation last week.
Some observers, buoyed by impossibly high expectations, were destined to be disappointed unless Ryan landed a devastating knockout. Ryan did well but such a punch never came. A knockout always seemed unlikely because Biden is so well known for exaggerating, telling tall tales, and saying downright absurd things.
"The vice president knows sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way," Ryan said.
Even though Ryan clearly seemed to be feeling the pressure, he wasn't cowed by Biden. He taunted the vice president, noting that Biden is "under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground" after Romney pulverized Obama during the debate last week.
Ryan lamented that "hope and change" had been replaced by "attack, blame, and defame."
"President Obama had his chance," Ryan said. "He made his choices."
Ryan rejected the fundamental transformation of America sought by Obama. "We will not try to replace our founding principles," Ryan said. "We will reapply our founding principles." Although much younger than Biden, Ryan was the only adult sitting at the table.
One thing is for sure: both Obama and Biden are hardcore haters whose self-esteem exceeds their actual abilities.
Last night the senescent Biden resented being taken on by the sometimes brash, young, handsome, genuinely brilliant lawmaker from Wisconsin.
Never before was so much pricey dental porcelain displayed on live television as the unstatesmanlike Biden, chuckled, mocked, and guffawed his way through the 90-minute encounter. His constant, obnoxious interruptions were tolerated by the moderator, left-wing journalist Martha Raddatz, who frequently challenged Ryan, demanding specifics from the challenger. Raddatz asked little of Biden.
Barely a word of truth escaped the vice president's lips.
Biden threw the intelligence community under the bus in order to support the Obama administration's ongoing coverup of the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. From the start the administration portrayed the assault as a spontaneous uprising sparked by anger over an anti-Islam video. For two weeks officials tried to pretend that terrorists weren't involved.
In the debate Biden said intelligence agencies failed to do their jobs and fed the White House bad information.
The administration didn't initially know the attack was instigated by terrorists and hadn't received requests from officials for additional security, Biden said, lying on both counts. Evidence now establishes that the administration learned about the attack before it happened. There is also proof that the late Ambassador Chris Stevens, believing he was marked for death by terrorists, pleaded with the administration to provide additional security. Each day brings new revelations of administration malfeasance in the sorry affair.
Biden dramatically swore to find the killers. "We will track you to the gates of Hell," he vowed.
Ryan countered that what happened in Benghazi was proof of the "unravelling" of Obama's foreign policy of weakness and appeasement. Obama has refused to admit that the Islamic world hasn't abandoned its hostility to the U.S. That would conflict with his messianic narrative in which diverse peoples across the planet are united and inspired by the president.
Romney's controversial criticism of the Obama administration's condemnation of an anti-Muslim video nobody saw and that apparently played no role in the Benghazi attack was admirable, Ryan explained.
"It's never too early to speak up for our values," Ryan said.
The best Biden could do was to note that left-wing journalists agreed that Romney should have kept his mouth shut. Romney's criticism of Obama's apology for the video was "panned by the media all around the world."
Predictably, the Vice President made a number of characteristically ridiculous assertions.
Biden said that Syria was five times larger than Libya. As Newt Gingrich tweeted, Biden was "absurdly" and "totally" wrong. Libya, a huge North African country, is 679,362 square miles compared to Syria which is merely 71,500 square miles in size.
Biden condemned super PACs as "abominations" even though the Obama-Biden team uses them enthusiastically. Priorities USA Action super PAC unleashed the Joe Soptic ad, probably the most dishonest –and certainly the most vicious – presidential campaign ad since Lyndon Johnson’s apocalyptic “Daisy” ad in 1964 painted Barry Goldwater as a budding Dr. Strangelove.
The ad features Soptic explaining directly to the camera how his wife died after Bain Capital, the firm Romney once ran, bought the steel company he worked for and dissolved it. Soptic blames Romney for the loss of his health insurance and subsequent death of his wife.
The Soptic ad was funded by the super PAC’s donors. Among those donors are the alleged comedian Bill Maher and the Service Employees International Union.
Biden invoked class warfare too many times to count and blamed Republicans for the nation's ballooning debt levels. He said Democrats had saved Medicare by cutting $700-odd billion from the program, a lie Ryan nailed him on. Democrats "got caught with their hands in the cookie jar," taking the $700 billion and using it to fund Obamacare, Ryan said. If the cuts aren't reversed Medicare patients will have a much harder time getting seen by doctors.
It wasn't so much a debate as an argument between a mature person and a toddler.
Clint Eastwood seems to understand what a nonentity Biden is.
During his surprise appearance at the Republican convention in Florida, Eastwood seemed to share my frame of mind about the Cheshire Cat temporarily residing in the U.S. Naval Observatory.
In his extemporaneous riff before an empty chair representing the empty suit that is Barack Obama, Eastwood said, “You’re getting as bad as Biden. Of course we all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party. Just kind of a grin with a body behind it.”
The more Joe Biden smiles, the more voters realize he's not the man the media built him up to be.
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