The Campaign Spot

Vice President Loses Debate, Marbles

The final Morning Jolt of the week, which leads off with my reaction to last night’s debate:

Joe Biden’s Debate Slogan: Why So Serious?

It was a weird debate, in that one candidate’s personality so totally dominated the proceedings, that your reaction to the debate will be decided almost entirely by what you think of Joe Biden when unplugged.

It will not surprise you that I am not really a fan of Joe Biden, and in fact periodically have a hard time getting my head around the fact that he is a heartbeat away from being entrusted with the launch codes for the United States nuclear arsenal.

So it’s kind of hard to grade the debate by the traditional methods.

Q: Which candidate do you think won the debate?

Jim: Am I the only person in Washington who fears that the vice president is mentally unstable, and/or on some sort of intense, mood-altering medication?

Thursday night’s debate did nothing to dissuade me of the notion that Barack Obama rise to the presidency is exponentially less surprising and unexpected than the fact that Joe Biden is our vice president. I am less concerned about the lack of a broad bipartisan consensus that Biden lost the debate than the lack of a broad bipartisan consensus that Biden lost his marbles.

Undoubtedly, one of the big story lines will be “The Democrats are charged up again!” Of course, if this were gymnastics, we would have to assign a low degree of difficulty to that goal. If you’re a national politician with a pulse, stirring up your base is one of the basic tasks you’re expected to be able to achieve on a regular basis. It’s like tackling for a linebacker.

The vice president appeared to prepare for this debate by inhaling nitrous oxide and sticking a fork in an electrical socket.

Four years ago, Biden was on a short leash, determined to not lose any women voters by coming across as smug or dismissive of Sarah Palin. But years of watching the Delaware senator reveal that when fully unleashed, Biden is loud, condescending, obnoxious, full of himself, not nearly as well-informed as he thinks he is, and sometimes weird to the point of creepy. Clearly, Biden believes that when his opponent says something he disagrees with, the right thing to do is smile or maybe laugh. He thinks this is disarming; instead he comes across like the Joker. The RNC quickly arranged a nice montage here.

So, no matter the topic — the deaths of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, the Iranian nuclear program, the continuing economic hard times for millions of Americans, the slaughter of civilians in Syria — Cheery Joe responded to Paul Ryan’s points with a grin that Willem Dafoe would find unnerving and chilling. Perhaps it was a bold but failed strategy to try to get Ryan to suddenly exclaim, “What the hell is wrong with you, man?”

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