Thursday night’s debate raised more profound questions than who won and who lost.
First, I’ll give you my scorecard – briefly, because you’ve already been deluged with post-debate analysis.
I thought Paul Ryan came out on the winning end of the encounter. Notice I didn’t say he won the encounter. That would ascribe too much responsibility to him.
Ryan won because the other guy acted like a loutish, slightly deranged bully, while Ryan mostly kept his cool in a deeply strange situation.
But Vice President Biden won more of the exchanges on policy than he lost, seeming to either have the better argument, get the last word, or direct the debate off topic and offer up a winning point, even if wholly unrelated to the question. And even if inaccurate too.
Ryan appeared stiff, unexciting, and a little over-prepared. He stuck to the script when improvisation was called for. And he failed to wipe Biden out as expected on domestic policy.
Nevertheless, over-prepared is better than unprepared. Ryan won a few exchanges too and explained conservative policies fairly well, making the choice clear for voters even if he lost a debating point or two. Because of his adequate performance and his success at not seeming like he was auditioning for The Joker in the next installment of Batman, The Movie, I give the debate to him.
Which brings us to Biden.
Biden’s act last night raises very serious questions about his fitness to serve as president should it ever come to that.
And it was an act. It’s clear to me that the giggling, the sneering, and the occasional indignant outbursts were carefully rehearsed, a calculated attempt both to diminish Ryan and throw some red meat to a dispirited Democratic base. “Yeah, get him, get the little jerk,” you can hear lefties across America snorting as Biden tore into the despised Ryan.
That the vice president of the United States could put together a performance that was just one step short of Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on a desk at the United Nations should be deeply disturbing to average Americans.
Though calculated, Biden’s outlandish behavior and his uncanny ability to pull it off belongs nowhere near the West Wing of the White House. Unless Biden’s debate prep partner was Al Pacino and the practice sessions were rehearsed at the Strasberg school for method acting in New York City, the behavior you saw last night has to be part of who Biden is: A crude, angry bully who may be a borderline lunatic.
Americans need to ask themselves not who won the debate, but whether they want such a man in charge of an office whose occupant steers the the future of the human race and, quite possibly, its fate.