If there’s one thing both sides agree on after last night’s vice presidential debate it’s that Joe Biden’s antics were distracting and at times, entirely inappropriate. One seasoned news reporter was appalled and visibly shocked on air as he recalled the “disrespectful” behavior displayed by the vice president of the United States.
A stunned-looking Chris Wallace of Fox News declared Vice President Joe Biden’s debate performance “unprecedented” and his attitude towards Republican opponent Paul Ryan “openly contemptuous.”
“I think I have watched almost every presidential and vice presidential debate since the first four Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960, and thinking back over the last few minutes, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight,” Wallace said.
“You can talk about the smirks, the smiles, the head-shaking, the mugging, — it was openly contemptuous and disrespectful. And it wasn’t just the facial gestures. It was also the words. In the course of the night, he dismissed various arguments by Ryan’s as ‘malarkey,’ ‘bunch of stuff,’ ‘I don’t know what these guys are talking about,’ ‘loose talk,’ and ‘bluster.’
Wallace was referring to Biden’s frequent interjections, and it was determined that the Vice President interrupted Ryan a total of 82 times, according to RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
“It was really quite an extraordinary, and I have to say, from my experience, unprecedented performance in a presidential or vice-presidential debate by one of the participants,” Wallace said.
Biden’s demeanor is hardly surprising. Liberals rely on sarcasm and laugh cues directed at other liberals to command debates. Ridicule, as Saul Alinksky wrote, is man’s most potent weapon, and the ridiculed have to appeal to those who mock them for relief. To his credit, Ryan remained calm and held his ground. His frequent descents into wonkery might have bored voters, but Biden’s bluster repulsed them.
Wallace’s comments appear to reflect voters’ initial reactions: Pew Research polled an overall unfavorable rating of 51 percent and, tellingly, a 52 percent unfavorable rating among independents. For potential voters beginning to tune in, the Obama administration appears to be represented by a second-rate, sulky professor and a deranged old man.
If Obama mimics Biden in the next debate, Romney may very well steamroll him yet again.