Free Markets, Free People

VP debate

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 14 Oct 12

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the vice presidential debate and game the electoral college.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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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.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
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