“Hello, 9-1-1? There’s an old man beating a child on my TV.” ~ Bill Maher
The debate moderator, ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz’s decades as a respected professional journalist (and motherhood experience) kept the peace between squabbling pols and the tough questions flowing. No Fox News softballs or a first Presidential Debate open brawl which Jim Lehrer often was unable to keep on topic last week. Ryan was clearly rattled as moderator Raddatz kept asking for detail from a Romney ticket which avoids specificity (or back tax returns) as Vulture CEO Dracula recoils from Wolf’s Bane.
A confident Vice President Joe Biden could be flat broke if he had to pay a royalty for every Cheshire Cat grin to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who cemented the gesture into the body politic. Biden met every Paul Ryan wonder boy fibbing thrust, and deftly swatted each parry aside. Ryan must have been relieved of at least having avoided the hilarity of Sarah Palin’s 2008 debate debacle.
Biden went on the attack, hanging Romney’s embarrassing “dependent 47%” around a harried Ryan neck, reminding him the Republicans ought to be making pledges to average Americans instead of fealty to Grover Norquist. Ryan’s attempt to invoke the late President Kennedy was debunked by Vice President Biden almost akin to the slap down of bumbling ex-Veep Dan “I knew Jack Kennedy and … you are no Jack Kennedy” Quayle in the 1988 debate.
Ryan tried to paint the Administration of “weakness”, but the Party of the Elephant Hawks had little counter to Vice President Biden’s own son serving in Iraq, not the Romney boys wandering off on a “church” mission to try and wean the French off of their wine. The Romney-Ryan foreign policy he-man posse was definitely low-calorie on intervention specifics.
As opposed to backbencher boy wonder Ryan, Vice President Biden was able to say “And I was there” in critical governing moments. Ryan too often found himself laboring to try and reconcile his extremist record with Mitt Romney’s latest chameleon theatrical lurch to the perceived “center.” Ryan let his Jack Kemp-mentored “trickle down” and “supply side” fantasy roots slip, but kept forbidden, fawning adoration to Ayn Rand mum, sparing him a trip to the Moneyed Mormon woodshed.
On reproductive health rights, Paul Ryan kept his inner Todd Akin inside, but made the usual Neocon “religious liberty” chant of wanting to force their draconian views on the rest of the country. Vice President Biden acknowledged his religion’s beliefs, but said he wasn’t going to shove them down American women’s throats.
At this stage of the race, there are few game-changing home runs and drubbings short of Ryan showing up dolled up as a Sarah Palin stunt double or wearing one of Ann Romney’s fire engine red designer frocks. That said, Joe Biden avoided giving the gaffes the Right was hoping for, yet made convincing, consistent, and cogent responses.
Diplomats at Her Majesty’s Britannic Embassy might just saunter over to the Vice President’s house at the Naval Observatory for payback bevvies for Biden’s frequent Tony Blair Cheshire Cat smiles. Trust me, it’s not a long walk.