The buildup and hype for Thursday’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Rep. Paul Ryan placed enormous pressures on the two men to carry out and execute specific goals for each of their parties.
Biden was given the task of re-energizing stalwart Democrats who were terribly disappointed and surprised by President Obama’s listless, inept and poor performance in his debate with Mitt Romney.
Various polls following last week’s debate shocked many, with Romney pulling ahead of the president. Obviously Biden was sent into Thursday’s debate to present a fighting, combative and passionate defense of the Obama administration.
Ryan, a relative newcomer to the national scene compared with the 69-year-old Biden, had the goal of showing he was knowledgeable about domestic as well as foreign policy issues, that he was thoughtful and that voters who call themselves “independent” or “undecided” could have confidence in his ability to serve as a sound, thoughtful vice president to strengthen the GOP ticket. He needed to introduce himself to millions of Americans and demonstrate he is on top of issues, articulate, and a sound thinker.
Each man did a creditable job and it is likely those who turned on their TVs to watch the show, those who were staunch, longtime Democrats as well as those who were loyal Republicans, probably turned off their TV sets thinking their man won the debate.
It would be interesting to know if the debate actually resulted in any significant changes among those who favored either candidate before the debate.
The unknown number of genuine “undecided” potential voters and how they reacted to the debate remains up in the air.
In one way, Thursday’s debate was good, entertaining television, but what it really did was set the stage and anticipation for the upcoming duel between Obama and Romney.
Unfortunately Biden’s behavior during the debate overshadowed any serious, sustained discussion of very important matters. His laughing, mocking, smirking, mugging and between 70 and 80 interruptions was effective in diverting a viewer’s attention away from what Ryan was saying.
It’s very likely this was part of his plan to try to rattle Ryan with the hope the congressman would show he cannot stand up to pressure and/or would lose control during the debate.
Following the debate, numerous seasoned political reporters said they had never seen in any previous presidential or vice presidential debates such a display of openly disrespectful, rude manners as Biden used in his tactics.
Throughout the current presidential campaign, various polls have tried to judge the “likability” factor of each candidate and how this might play in determining how a person decides whom to support. Will Biden’s conduct play a role, favorable or unfavorable, in the likability category?
As was the case with the presidential debate, the Obama-Biden administration does not enjoy a sparkling track record over the past three and a half years. Unemployment numbers, national debt, record numbers of people relying on food stamps, greater government involvement in the lives of all Americans, the housing situation, other economic factors, along with a deteriorating situation for Uncle Sam in foreign affairs, all combine to make it difficult for Obama and Biden to garner much support and confidence that the Demo team could perform any better with another four years in office.
Also, in believability factors, which should be critical in judging the character of a president and vice president, the Obama-Biden team should have taken a big hit with the manner in which the White House has dealt with the Benghazi situation. Obama’s pledge of being transparent has been shattered during the past three years, and today he is facing serious questions about how he and his surrogates have leveled with the public.
Given this record, both Romney and Ryan should have had a leg up in debating Obama and Biden because the incumbents must defend their performances.
It appears the Demo strategists decided the best way for Biden to deal with this difficult-to-defend situation was to try to disrupt and divert attention during the debate.
The stakes for this country are enormous. One party favors greater government control, and the other favors more individual freedom. When Obama was seeking election in the 2008 campaign he told his audiences that with their support he was only days away from being able to make fundamental changes in our government and in America.
Thus far, have these changes benefited the country? What changes would Obama call for if he were elected for another four-year term and didn’t have to worry about being re-elected?
There was no clear winner in Thursday’s debate and election day is drawing closer, putting increasing pressure on Romney and Obama in how they perform next week.
Will Romney come up with another winning performance, and how will Obama prepare to rebound with a strong, forceful presentation?
Consider the stakes in how Americans vote on Nov. 6.