Free Markets, Free People

Biden and the VP debate: Effective or Gore 2.0?

In answer to the title’s question, it depends on what Biden saw as his mission.

Many of the election experts out there believe there are only 4 to 5% of the people left to convince they need to vote for a particular side. And through the years, VP debates have had little effect in that regard.

So, was Biden’s mission to convince those few percent of voters still deciding or was it something else?

If it was to convince, I think Joe Biden did a very poor job. As you’ll see in various news stories where polls and interviews with independents are included, he was considered to be rude, condescending and kind of weird, laughing at inappropriate times, etc.

But what if the mission was to fire up his base … a base that has been devastated by the performance of President Obama in the first presidential debate?

If so, he was likely effective. The base doesn’t care if he’s rude or condescending … in fact, that’s what they demand. What others call rudeness and condescension, they’re already calling “passion”. No great surprise there.

I think Jokin’ Joe’s job last night was to go out there and try to again rebuild some enthusiasm within the base. And with that mission, no matter how distasteful or disturbing his performance was to others, he probably succeeded. He wanted to fire up a little “Joementum”. Facts and figures? Hey, who cares, throw whatever against the wall and see what sticks. His job wasn’t to be right or wonky … his job was to be aggressive, overbearing and loud. Apparently that’s what many on the left equate with a good debate performance.

Remember, as we’ve mentioned any number of times, in close elections it’s about “enthusiasm”. Obama’s debate performance threw cold water on already waning Democratic enthusiasm. Joe Biden has attempted to relight the fire under the enthusiasm pot.

Performance wise, it depends on where you come from, politically, as to how you rate their performances. Most of the instant polls, less CBS, gave a slight margin of victory to Ryan. Both sides are claiming victory today. No great surprise.

Substance? Was anyone even paying attention to substance. Numbers and stats flew willy-nilly. There were a few good barbs from both sides. And, of course, the fact checkers will be out in force today. But does it matter?

I’m going to be interested to see the numbers of viewers for the debate as opposed to those who chose Thursday night football or a MLB playoff game. My guess is they’ll out draw the debate.

I was sitting at my grandson’s concert last night and I overheard two women behind me talking. One said someone had ask her if she was going to watch the debate and she’d answered “no”. “I already know who I’m voting for”, she said. And, incidentally it’s not the incumbent. The other woman agreed with her.

Another thought. Perhaps the Biden performance was his way to displaying to Obama what he thought he should do in his next debate. If so, it’s bad advise (something for which Biden is somewhat infamous). While Biden can sort of, kind of, get away with it because, well, that’s what you expect from Biden, it would be horribly out of character for Obama. It would also show a level of desperation that I don’t think Obama wants to portray. And, given the Biden performance, my guess is Romney would be ready for it.

Anyway, an interesting if mostly inconsequential debate. Ryan got to present himself to the American people unfiltered by anything but Biden’s sarcasm and sometimes loony laughing and he seems to have done fairly well if the insta polls are to be believed.

I think that’s pretty well the best he could have hoped for.

Biden? He did his job as he understood it and he probably succeeded as well. How this will all translate come November 6 is anyone’s guess, but if history is to be believed, it won’t have much effect at all.

Twitter: @McQandO
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39 Responses to Biden and the VP debate: Effective or Gore 2.0?

  • He was an effective asshole.  Effectively.

  • It was pretty much a wash. So in that case it helps team Romney.

  • Wasn’t this a reenactment of the NAFTA debate with Joe Biden playing the part of Al Gore ?

  • Though I think Biden would have been a member of Omega house, the only thing he missed making last night was a quote about the Germans attacking Pearl Harbor, or telling us that yesterday was a bad day to give up sniffing glue.
    After all these years he’s still the consummate dumbass jock that I remember in High School and College, constantly laughing and making mocking faces when someone brighter was the focus of attention.  The guy could be the role model for the characters Lloyd Bridges portrayed in Airplane and the Hot Shots movies.  I knew he was a fool, but I hadn’t seen him in that light till last night.
    Pretty sad if Biden is the Obama’s campaigns knight in shining armor eh?   How screwed are you if Joe Biden is your rescuer?

    • I can just see Biden saying “You men will be piloting the backbone of our proud American arsenal: The Oscar EW 5894 Phallus tactical fighter bomber.”

    • Is it possible that Vice President Joe Biden was suffering from a gelastic seizure or gelastic epilepsy ?
      The guy has had brain surgery.

  • There is no doubt Ryan won on substance. He told the truth and used facts, debated cogently and to the point, answered Biden’s slanders pretty well.

    That’s not the game Biden was playing however. You are correct in that he was throwing red meat, however fictional, to his base.  But he was also playing another game playing for a certain stripe of voter.   People who understand and have been following this stuff enough to have the facts at our grasp have pretty much made up our minds. The people he was playing for are the Saturday Night Live “low information voters” who haven’t been paying attention. He may have overplayed a bit and so appeared to be as desperate as he and Obama really are, but he did a very good job of building a case which was credible on the surface to those voters who *haven’t* been paying attention until now. With those people, he may have managed to trump Ryan simply by playing the martyred man of the middle class. Never mind that he committed more outright lies than not – the case and the way he made it are emotionally appealing to the audience it was intended for.

    • My guess is the “Saturday Night Live ‘low information voters'” were watching Thursday night football or MLB playoff’s, Dan. That’s why I’ll be interested in seeing those numbers. Most of them will reserve a night when nothing else is going on to tune in if they haven’t already tuned into the first presidential debate (and are done).

      • You have a point Bruce, but this is about the time people get interested, or start to believe they <i>should</i> be interested.  The debates have a sense of “we really should pay attention” attached to them that other things about the campaign just don’t.  My in-laws were planning to watch, and they’ve mostly tuned out of politics for a long time.  My wife and I keep a strict rule about no TV, radio, etcetera during dinner – but the debates every four years are the only exception, and while she got really angry and disgusted both times at the D side, despite being a moderately low interest voter she still thinks it’s a good idea for the kids (especially the elder) to watch.  Maybe I’m generalizing too much from my social circle’s habits, but I still think there’s a good number of people who haven’t paid much attention until now who nonetheless feel some obligation to watch the debates.

        • ” Maybe I’m generalizing too much from my social circle’s habits, but I still think there’s a good number of people who haven’t paid much attention until now who nonetheless feel some obligation to watch the debates.”
          No, I think you’ve hit on something, my youngest son has started to pay attention too.  Now there’s something I don’t think I figured on until he was, say, married, older, etc.   They’re genuinely becoming concerned with the path the country is on.

    • So, the same crowd that thinks John Stewart and Steven Colbert have news programs?

    • The only think missing from last night’s debate was Joe Biden telling Paul Ryan to “pull on my thumb”

  • If you’re STILL trying to rally your base while the League Championship Series matchups are set, you’re done. Joe did his job, but all he did was staunch the bleeding from a gusher to a drip. And speaking of drips, I’m pretty sure that Baracky won’t be able to show “passion” as well as Joe did. All Romney has to do is parry some of those early attacks and we’ll see the spoiled boy-king turn petulant. But I do hope Mitt is gaming out how to rebut the “liar” charge that Baracky will surely fling at him. He thinks it’s his magic word. And if Mitt disarms it, man will it be another long evening for the SCOAMF

  • What is obnoxious behavior to a Republican is acceptable, routine behavior to a Democrat. Democrets are so trashy, low class, obtuse, shallow and immoral that Republicans will never get along with them. So why bother to try? Personally, I’m for seceding and then watching them wither and die.

  • Fact: Democrats don’t want to elevate themselves. They want to bring the rest of us down to their level.

  • Jim Geraghty in a tweet termed Biden Vice-President Bath Salts.  Someone noted that he seemed to tire and drift in second part of the debate.
    Maybe that isn’t so funny…

  • Agreed.

  • Biden lied about Libya and he lied about how he voted on the wars in Afganistan and Iraq.

    Or perhaps he’s just really old and doesn’t remember how he voted back in 2002.

    • Notice how in the first segment, Biden projected Mitt Romney’s statement on the Cairo embassy’s apology to cover Libya.
      Didn’t we hear that there was no MSM coverage of Libya because they had been so busy bashing Romney for his Cairo statements ?
      But now, “Mitt jumped the gun before he knew about the deaths in Libya”, when that’s not what Romney even talked about.

    “Those rich people do not need their money”–Vice Pres. Bath Salts.

    • “Those rich people…”
      Those” rich people? spoken like the true son of the proletariat that he is.
      Well, he is a son of a something.

      • Joe doesn’t mean his rich people he means THOSE other ones.  Pretty simple really.  You know, “don’t tax him, don’t tax me, tax that man behind the tree”

      • Something else that occurred to me…
        What was VP Bath Salts so afraid of the American people hearing from Ryan?  Wasn’t that whole performance designed to silence Ryan? What does that tell us about the confidence in the Collective’s ideas?

  • Being a disabled American and living in a disabled/retired apartment complex, I can tell you that Joe Biden’s strongest moment was when he looked into the camera and ask seniors if they were better off since the doughnut hole in medicare perscription drug plans had been closed. This is extreamly popular with seniors makes and makes “Obama Care” much more popular with seniors than people think! At least for now.

  • My thoughts are pretty much in line with the article.

    If Biden’s job was to play to the base then he did his job.  If Ryan’s job was to present an acceptable alternative to Biden and be knowledgeable and articulate about the issues than he did his job.  If the mission was to go after the undecided voters I dont think Biden helped his cause and may have hurt it a bit and I think that Ryan didnt hurt his cause but maybe helped it a  bit.   So it was either a tie or slight edge Ryan depending on your point of view.

    I hope that Obama comes out swinging wildly like Biden did so Romney can unleash.  All ROmney has to do is get in some good jabs and Obama will see red, go off his talking points and put his foot into his mouth.  If Romney lands enough jabs you will see steam coming out of Obama’s ears and he will get into big trouble.

  • Enjoyed the link. I’m not trying to justify or endorse “Obama Care”. I was just pointing out that anything that saves Medicare recipents a lot of money will buy a lot of votes and reminding them of it was smart!

  • Biden was a perfect representative of his administration and his party.  This is how they have treated the GOP for years.  This is why we have a fiscal cliff.  Rational, reasonable people can’t negotiate with bullying, dishonest, nasty people like that (especially when they are so convinced of their own virtue and righteousness that it is impossible for them to be wrong).
    The liberal nutroots loved the way he represented them.  Says a lot.

  • Biden, a two bit overpaid actor that is second in command in the USA. How does this shit happen? Do you all really pay him?

  • They idea was to figure out what worked for the next presidential debate.
    The idea is about eclipsing their opponent.  The public got to see Romney unfiltered and reduced to an out of context soundbite for the first time last week.  They don’t want that to happen again.  And they’ll hope the memory of the first debate fades.
    This was a trial balloon to see how much railroading over top their opponent they can get away with from the moderator and before turning off the public.  This was not about Biden necessarily winning.  It was to interfere with Ryan’s first real meeting with the public.  As what Obama will try to do with Romney.  They are trying to play out the clock and prevent Romney or Ryan from getting the ball ever again.

  • Iowahawk: Biden Did What He Had To Do Last Night: Audition For a 5 PM Slot on MSNBC In January.

  • “Gore 2.0?”
    This was Gore 2.0 on steroids!