Joe Biden Undresses Paul Ryan (With His Eyes)

Random debate notes. I started playing the drinking game and it hit hard early.

I’ve pretty much decided by the end of the debate that Joe Biden was coached to laugh at whatever Paul Ryan said.

Here’s the problem: He’s laughing at the moderator, he’s laughing when Ryan is talking about foreign policy. Ryan says “Americans are dying” and Biden is smiling. Not a good place to chuckle.

I was particularly curious as to how people interpreted the phenomenon, so I started a poll. Go ahead and take it.

I was actually sort of worried that the moderator (who’s spouse works for Obama) wouldn’t be fair, I actually think she did a really good job.

I also think age is catching up with Biden – on the question of the “Bush Tax Cuts” (why not? we call the healthcare package “Obamacare”) Biden said he was not going to continue the cuts. While this makes economic sense in terms of reducing the debt and deficit, this doesn’t jive with the whole “save the middle class” message Obama is trodding. Then Biden points out “the opposition” is trying to “have a vote for the middle class tax cuts and have a vote for the upper class tax cuts”. Why not break it out to a separate vote?

One of the things that pissed me off about Ryan was he should have pressed the two level flat tax he proposed but it didn’t come up. It’s an interesting solution – if we make everyone decide what’s fair for everyone and fucking stick to it, things might be vastly different.

Also Biden just equated the turks with the saudis and jordanians. Some idiot is going to paste that into the foreign policy question. Ryan called him on it by pointing out who’s committed state sponsored genocide, but on the other hand Turkey provides the air corridor to the gulf. I happen to like Ryans stance in putting boots on the ground (“Only in the national security interests of the American people”).

The abortion question was a stinger for Biden – Biden had previously said he was 100% against abortion and justified that with the obvious “but it’s not my place to tell people what to do” (he is only the vise president after all). Delaware gets a C from NARAL, which gives it a firmly middle ground performance. Massachusetts gets a B. Biden listened to Ryan (again, whats with the laugh?), tries to frame Ryan for being against abortion (which he isn’t), then comes up with a bizarre quit about not telling Jews and Muslims what to do. Islam holds the same beliefs the Catholics (Christians) do. Jews are split down the middle as there’s no rabbinic guidelines on when life begins. As per usual, there’s no mention of third party religions or the “nones.”

The hilarious question at the end was “are you embarrassed at the tone of the debates?” Biden completely dodged it and jumped to closing statements, which is a reasonably solid plan for the debate structure but does nothing for his position. Ryan didn’t call Biden on the laughing, although I think I would have. Ryans closing statements (oops, I mean “tone of the debate”) summed the position up nicely, which was a Clintonesque “It’s the economy, stupid”.

Closing remarks were roughly the same as the tone of the debate question, clearly neither side was particularly interested in discussing it.

DEBATE SUPERTHURSDAY

Gwen Ifill is the moderator of the debate. Now, normally I applaud debates because I want the candidates to square off as much as possible. At the very least, it reveals a lot about the candidate under pressure without having to fly a 747 at them.

The problem with Gwen Ifill, however, is she needs Obama to win.

Apparently she wrote a book about it. Her defense of the book is “Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?” said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, “I don’t know what it is. I find it curious.” Apparently Obama is only a small part of the book.

What does her publisher say?

ABOUT THIS BOOK

In THE BREAKTHROUGH, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.

Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, and also covers up-and-coming figures from across the nation. Drawing on interviews with power brokers like Senator Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict and the “black enough” conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history.

THE BREAKTHROUGH is a remarkable look at contemporary politics and an essential foundation for understanding the future of American democracy.

About the Author
GWEN IFILL is moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Before coming to PBS, she was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, and had been a reporter for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and Boston Herald American. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Nice that she never mentioned being the moderator, you would think that would be a good feather in her cap. Amazon’s summary is roughly copypasta, but here it is anyway:

Product Description
In THE BREAKTHROUGH, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.

Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, and also covers up-and-coming figures from across the nation. Drawing on interviews with power brokers like Senator Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict and the “black enough” conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history.

THE BREAKTHROUGH is a remarkable look at contemporary politics and an essential foundation for understanding the future of American democracy.

About the Author
GWEN IFILL is moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Before coming to PBS, she was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, and had been a reporter for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and Boston Herald American. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Frankly it sounds pretty positive towards Obama, and if the premise of the book is accumulating political power, it’s going to look awfully silly if Obama doesn’t.