Thank you, great to be back.
"That was certainly a lively debate the vice presidential candidates had."
Well, keep in mind, it was a sideshow, but it was a very entertaining sideshow. It had to be. Remember, the veep candidates are there to fight in the mud so their bosses stay clean.
"And then there was your theory that Joe Biden was throwing out stuff to see what stuck for Obama to use later this coming week."
Yup. And in that regard, Biden failed miserably.
"I didn't get that."
Think about how Biden was just four years ago when he was debating Sarah Palin. He was cool. Calm. It was like Bugs Bunny going against Daffy Duck. Biden knew all he had to do was keep his cool and Palin would start acting like a loon and bring about her own demise. During the recent debate, he wasn't cool and calm at all. Thanks to the split screen keeping both candidates on the air almost the entire time, we saw Biden rolling his eyes and acting in disbelief while Ryan kept cool. It made him look antsy and impolite.
"Is it really that much of a problem?"
The initial reaction of the D's was that Biden didn't do anything to embarrass them. Not he delivered a sound trouncing, but he didn't make it worse for Obama. When that's the immediate spin, there's a problem.
"I thought he handled Ryan pretty well."
Not a bit. Ryan was actually the sharper of the two. Biden let a lot of opportunities pass. Too many. He tried to hammer Ryan on how general his proposals were, Ryan would trot out just enough to make what he was proposing seem viable, and Biden would continue to hammer those generalities. The way you handle generalities is to provide something concrete. And just like Obama last week, the counterproposal seemed to consist of, "Have faith, this will work out." I have never seen a ticket as vulnerable as Romney/Ryan so left alone by the competition. The only explanation for why Biden let Ryan off the hook so much is the same explanation I had for Obama last week -- Biden was scared.
"Scared of what?"
The swing voters Romney has been going after. The fact is, there is a lot of resentment that has been building for the last few years, and Romney and the R's in general were already staking it out before their primaries started. The D's just figured people would come back to them. Like Bullworth said, "We ignored you because the special interests give us more money than you do. And who else are you going to vote for? The Republicans?" All you have to do is look at the attempted attack on the leaked 47% footage.
Out of all those conventions and gatherings both parties have, only one had a mole and it was just at that moment? No. The footage was taken by a staffer and leaked. The campaign is all about controlling the image, and this was aimed right square at people who feel there are too many handouts to people who don't deserve it. Nothing in this campaign happens on accident.
"Point taken. Please continue."
It was 8:24 Chicago time when Biden addressed the 47% comment, something Obama never did. And what was Ryan's reaction? "I think the vice president knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way." That was a warning shot, and Biden heeded it. Biden has said too much over the years because of his own run on mouth, and Ryan was ready to drag out all kinds of stuff if Biden pressed. Basically, Ryan bought his ticket a free pass. Notice that Obama still isn't using the 47% line, but continuing to hammer Romney on all kinds of other stuff.
"Sounds like letting Biden The Attack Dog loose wasn't a good idea."
Wasn't. Ryan also got him on foreign policy. We have people who still believe 9/11 was an inside job. The attack on the American embassy in Libya is going to have people demanding answers. The Obama administration was saying it was because of the Muslim movie that everyone was upset. No. The Middle East has always hated America, and anyone who checks out the news from places other than America, like Britain, knows that the Taliban and Al Queada are regrouping and getting stronger again. Have you noticed how often we are killing their #2 operatives? They aren't going away. And Biden's only response was to not only dismiss the threat, but also to say a pullout without the forces being properly trained was the best idea. "Then they'll HAVE to step up!" They won't be able to, and we'll be right back where we were.
"What's the solution?"
No idea. I can't really think of any that will bring our troops home and not leave a haven for terrorists to operate from. But I do know the plan of a firm pullout date come Hell or high water isn't it. It's already not working, and we're still there.
"Anything else stick out at you?"
Ryan was pandering to the elderly.
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicade are going bankrupt. But there are enough senior voters that trying to take that away from them, especially now when the economy is in the toilet, inflation is going up, and they've been relying on it already makes it a political third rail. But people younger than them want to hear about reforming it. So Ryan created a new cutoff. They would, you should pardon the expression, grandfather in the current recipients, and change the rules for those coming up. Best of both worlds, it makes them look like reformers while not riling the senior voting block. But it also gave Biden his best shot of the night, and his biggest wipeout.
Ryan continues to talk about privatizing Social Security. Biden pointed out that, under the proposal, people would have lost their asses during the economy contraction. You can't argue with that. The R's have always said it would never happen, and it did. So Biden scored a big hit with that one, and I expect Obama to incorporate that into his patter during the town meeting this week. But then Ryan reversaled. He asked why, given the numbers and the administration's acknowledgment that the programs are going bankrupt, why couldn't Biden at the very least agree with the plank in the Repulican platform that reform was needed? Biden let the matter drop.
"So what do you think the presidential candidates will take into Tuesday's debate from this?"
Not much. Romney has momentum on his side, thanks to him keeping such a low profile for so long. He's fresh, he's new, he's basically using the mentality that had a new leader in the R nomination to his advantage in the final month of the campaign. With everyone reacting positively not only to Ryan's points but how Ryan reframed the debate, Romney just has to stay on message and his following will continue to grow. Obama needs some ammo, and Biden didn't give him enough. I said before, this election comes down to personality, not actual policy. Obama is going to present himself as a wise sage and the better choice because can you really trust Romney?
"It doesn't sound like you have much faith that it'll work."
Like I said, Obama is no longer a blank slate selling hope and change. The backlash started as soon as he approved the bailouts. The conventional wisdom is you spend the first term of your presidency trying to get elected to the second term. The Obama juggernaut got a lot of people angry before the wheels fell off. He is trying to live down the "Gotta go fast!" nature of his first two years. The last two years were too quiet with no major legislation thanks to the gridlock from the Kamikazes....
The Kamikazes. The Tea Partiers elected to the House who managed to nearly shut down the government several times last year. Wonks on the Hill call them the Kamikazes because they won't reason or bargain, they just charge hard and if things go down in flames, so be it.
"And you don't care for Tea Partiers to begin with."
I hate Tea Partiers. The Tea Partiers can kiss my Polish ass. They were bad enough, control of the House is in play despite the numbers. GG, you dipshits. Anyway, the only thing Obama did that I could actually applaud was blowing Don't Ask Don't Tell to shit. Even if he loses the White House, the R's can't put the genie back in the bottle now that gays are opening serving. It may have been a political move....
"He did it because it was the right thing to do."
....yeah, which is why he waited so long to do it.
"...well played, sir. The keep is thine."
...but yes, you are right, it was the right thing to do. The motivation is suspect, but the results were good. But that's it. ACTA, SOPA, all kinds of things were going down, and instead of focusing on Congress where the laws are made, everyone is focusing on the President. He's in trouble. We're in trouble. Because as long as we don't watch the shell with the pea under it, as long as the place actually creating the bad laws is left alone while everyone whines about the presidency, the American people are going to lose.
"So the message to take away from the debate is...."
Watch the local level. The presidency is not the end game. If you want politicians to actually listen to you, work on the ones who are supposed to listen to you, not the one who listens to them.