I watched the big Vice Presidential debate. It was somewhat entertaining.
I thought the moderator, Martha Raddatz of ABC News, did a professional job. I didn't feel that she was overtly biased one way or the other. She asked good questions.
Who won the debate? There was no clear winner, though I thought Ryan stuck more closely to facts, whereas Biden was his usual bombastic and demagogic self. Ryan had Biden rattled early in the debate, where Biden felt he had to interrupt Ryan by speaking over him. Still, the Fox News panel of undecided voters unanimously agreed that the debate had not influenced their choice one way or the other.
Biden is being criticized tonight by many who felt he was disrespectful and rude, by laughing and smirking while Ryan was speaking. This behavior was seen on television via the split screen, showing the faces of both candidates simultaneously.
Personally, I thought Biden scored points on his defense of the Administration's Afghanistan withdrawal plan, where they have announced in advance that we will withdraw our troops by 2014, come what may. Biden argued that we have put the Afghani government on notice that they must step up and take over the task of their own defense, and our departure deadline puts pressure on them to do that. Good argument, and it changed my mind on the point. (Romney-Ryan's position wasn't materially different than that of Obama-Biden, anyway.)
Biden couldn't defend the Obama Administration's disgraceful neglect of security in the Benghazi attack on our embassy on September 11, 2012. Clearly, that debacle reflects very poorly on Obama, both in the criminal negligence of allowing it to happen, then in the obvious attempt to cover it up with a phony story about a YouTube video.
Ryan scored on the economy, as it is clear that the Obama Administration hasn't a clue on economics, job creation and the role of tax policy in maximizing prosperity. Biden's only stance was what it has always been, tax the crap out of the "rich," bleed those suckers dry. This always turns me off. The Democrat vision is that the role of the upper class is to financially support the middle class, and this is the only way the middle class can grow -- as a kind of parasite off the rich. A better view is that the upper and middle classes need each other -- the former as employers, investors and entrepreneurs, the latter as employees, investors, managers and customers. They need a symbiotic relationship, not a parasitical one.
My general conclusion: The VP debate won't materially affect this campaign or the fortunes of the candidates. If Obama was hoping that Biden would somehow pull his polls out of the toilet, he will be disappointed. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the next presidential debate, next Tuesday, October 16.
Update: Twitter feed shows a CNN poll rating Ryan the winner on several points:
Clearly, the above statistics indicate that Ryan won the debate and possibly added more momentum to the Romney-Ryan ticket.