What We Learned from the Debate
The story of last week's Vice Presidential debate was Vice President Biden's behavior. However, what that behavior tells us about the state of the nation coupled with the behavior of the moderator and the lack of substance in the debate made it - ironically - the most informative in modern history. Specifically, there were 4 major pieces of information revealed in the debate.
1. The Republicans still don't get it. There is a belief among decent people that everyone behaves admirably when it really matters. This naive belief has thrust the Republican party head first into debates moderated by people who have absolutely no desire to see an honest debate on the issues, but whose sole purpose is to score a victory for their side. They aren't looking for credence as journalists for being fair, they are looking for scalps to place on their mantles. The VP debate was no different.
There are numerous examples of how poorly the debate was moderated. This includes that fact that almost every question asked by Mrs Raddatz consisted of making an accusation and then asking the Congressman or VP to respond to. However, the best single example can be seen within the first few opening minutes of the debate when VP Biden responds to statements made by Congressman Ryan by asserting that it was "malarkey." Mrs Raddatz asks him to respond and be specific, and VP Biden lapses into a confusing rambling in which his sole retort to Congressman Ryan's assertion that there wasn't enough security was that Congressman Ryan's budget cut embassy defense as well. So he didn't refute the accusation that the administration did not respond to calls for help, but merely made a separate accusation. He then added that Governor Romney was somehow responsible for something because he made a statement too early in the situation. Although Mrs Raddatz asked him to be specific, he didn't address a single point.
2. Things are worse than we thought. One of the key indicators in determining the level of authenticity in a government is how it treats its opposition. When those in power simply dismiss and mock those who claim they can do better, they do so not only because they have nothing positive to run on, but because they believe that no matter how true the statements being made are, the media will never force them to actually address the points being made.
Numerous times during the debate VP Biden asserted that President Obama had brought the rest of the world in line behind the US. He stated that if action was necessary against Iran, then the US would act with the rest of the world behind them. However, this ignores the facts that most of the middle east was wholly opposed to US actions in Libya after we went beyond the no-fly zone and that numerous nations in the UN have stood steadfast against the US in our attempts to invade Syria.
VP Biden also asserted that the Republicans asserted that the Republicans put two wars and a prescription drug plan on credit cards. However, the moderator ignored the fact that the VP himself voted for those wars and the Obamacare reform uses the same credit card.
3. Yes, Joe Biden is an Idiot. Joe Biden says stupid things. That isn't an opinion or an accusation, but rather a statement of fact that most people dismiss as "Joe being Joe." However, Joe Biden's behavior was indeed the single most important indicator of why the Obama administration has been so ineffective both at home and abroad.
Everything that you need to know about Joe Biden came in the exchange surrounding tax rates. After Congressman Ryan stated that you can lower tax rates and raise revenue, VP Biden interjected that this was not true. Congressman Ryan noted that it had been done before and VP Biden flatly stated that this was not true and it had never been done before. When Congressman Ryan ended the debate on the matter by citing that Jack Kennedy did it, VP Biden shot back "So now you're Jack Kennedy?"
This demeanor of pretending to always be more enlightened on every subject, to always asserting that your opponent isn't just wrong but also unworthy of debate is childish enough. However for a sitting Vice President to be shown making bold and flagrant accusations which are wholly shown to be untrue mere seconds after making them and then turning to what can only be classified as a school yard insult on the level of "yo mama" tells you everything you need to know about how the administration deals with those outside of the White House.
4. No one wants to talk about the big stuff. Iran was talked about. So were a few other items. However, no one mentioned the quantitative easing policies of the administration or the failure of the constitution in Libya. No one wants to admit that there are tens of millions of people living in this country illegally that need to be addressed. No one wants to address the growing reach of the TSA or the listening stattions being built to spy on the American people.
Things are worse than most people know, and that goes well beyond the fact that Vice President Joe Biden behaved like he was participating in a high debate.