Last Night’s Veep Debate

by Ramesh Ponnuru

My reaction is up on Bloomberg, along with Margaret Carlson’s. A few additional thoughts here:

1) During the Bush-Gore sigh debate, I was annoyed by Gore’s conduct but figured that was because I already had a rooting interest. Overcorrecting for my own bias, I didn’t think the public at large would be as irritated as I was. It was. Biden’s conduct last night was much worse, as I point out at Bloomberg. I hope and think it will hurt the Democrats, a little.

2) Biden’s conduct actually strikes me as akin to Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” interjection: Wilson’s offense wasn’t, and Biden’s offense wasn’t, to accuse a political opponent of lying. While our political life would be better off if people were more careful in making that charge, it is sometimes appropriate to make. What isn’t appropriate is to keep your opponents from being able to make their case–to shout down a lecturer, for example. This is why Biden’s performance strikes me as worse than Gore’s.

3) Biden’s false claim about Benghazi is going to cause the Democratic ticket trouble. The press, after a slow start, has been digging into this story, and so there will be–already have been–some follow-ups to this. I don’t think Ryan said anything that will cause any comparably damaging ripples.

4) Ryan got better toward the end, and one of his best moments was his list of Obama’s broken promises.

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