Still ending, and beginning still.
- Cowper, English Poet (1731-1800)
Imagine if you invited someone into your home and tried to have a mature dialog about the issues of the day. Imagine further that every time it was your turn to speak, your guest immediately began laughing in grandiose histrionics, as if everything you were saying was the most ludicrous thing he’d ever heard in his life before you even had a chance to begin making your point. How quickly would that act wear thin and become downright obnoxious?
Now take it to the national level. In a serious debate, if one of the candidates makes a statement that seems so disingenuous to the other, once or twice you might see the other candidate unable to contain a smile of disbelief while his opponent speaks, but when a candidate responds to every single thing their opponent says with a condescending smile, a shaking of the head and a chuckle that suggests they’re hearing something along the lines of the most ludicrous thing they’ve ever heard anyone say, by the third or fourth time they do it, their act is so overblown and overdone it becomes quite obvious how completely fabricated their responses are.
An endless stream of guffaws, shit-eating smiles and eye rolls as he tried to mock every single point Paul Ryan made before he even got a chance to begin to make it – that pretty much sums up the performance of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. in last night’s debate, a vice president who was totally unbecoming of the office, behaving without a modicum of the seriousness worthy of a national debate and laughing during what should have been a serious discussion of the challenges that the nation faces. Biden was smug, condescending and belligerent during every moment his debate opponent spoke. Biden wouldn’t even make eye contact while Ryan spoke, completely dismissing him, showing no respect and nothing but disdain. It was unprofessional, unseemly and far beneath the dignity that we expect of a debate of this magnitude.
And how ironic that during a time when America is hypervigilant in its awareness and its campaigns against bullying, we were forced to witness a vice president bullying his opponent at a level we’ve never seen before in a national debate. Of course, I’m sure the Democrat base was ecstatic to see Joe come out swinging wildly as he did for the full ninety minutes, especially coming on the heels of a Presidential debate where Obama lost to Romney by the biggest margin in Gallup polling history, a 72% to 20% victory for the challenger, but on the heels of Obama’s listless and lackluster performance in the first debate, Biden’s performance last night smacked so much of desperate overcompensation.
For anyone outside the Obama supporters who are completely beyond reasoning with, I seriously doubt it went over well with most of the rest of America to see Biden interrupt Ryan over 80 times in a 90 minute debate, and I imagine his act was even less popular with most female viewers who would rather view a cordial, respectful and intelligent discussion of the issues. As one woman in the post-debate CNN focus group said, Biden was “being a buffoon in general.”
It reminds me of that incessant, condescending sighing that Al Gore was heard making during the 2000 presidential debate and how much it turned Americans off against him. Chris Wallace, a man who’s been around to cover every debate since Nixon – Kennedy in 1960 said this: “All all Gore did was sigh, this was an opera performance by Joe Biden.”
Wallace also said, “I don’t believe I have ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of another as Joe Biden was to Paul Ryan.”
It was a disgrace is what it was.