It was Joe Biden’s charge to be aggressive against Paul Ryan tonight, to make up for President Obama’s passivity of last week.
But it’s one thing to be aggressive, it’s another to be overbearing and condescending. Joe Biden smirked throughout the evening and interrupted Ryan so frequently attention was focused on his style rather than the substance of his answers.
Al Gore lost his first debate to George W. Bush in 2000 with his audible sighs and sneering manner. Biden wasn’t quite that bad, but independent voters usually don’t like candidates who come off as a jerk. Biden’s rude demeanor hurt him tonight, providing a poor contrast to Ryan’s calmness on the split screen.
Joe Biden’s biggest fault is that he doesn’t know when to stop talking. Tonight, he added to that another problem — he doesn’t know when to stop smirking.