Joe Biden Throws Paul Ryan Off His Lawn:
Essentially, Vice President Joe Biden's task at last night's cut-Paul-Ryan-down-to-size party was to lay some dynamite at the Romney/Ryan roadblock and blow up the pile of garbage that they kept heaping. In less metaphorical terms, Biden called "bullshit" on the GOP ticket, repeatedly. A few random observations:
1. Biden's best line: "[I]f they’d get out of the way, if they get out of the way and let us pass the tax cut for the middle class, make it permanent, if they get out of the way and pass the -- pass the jobs bill, if they'd get out of the way and let us allow 14 million people who are struggling to stay in their homes because their mortgages are upside-down, but they never missed a mortgage payment -- just get out of the way." There's your mantra to Republicans, Democrats everywhere: "Get out of the way." One of the things Biden did most successfully was to demonstrate how empty and, yes, frightening the Republican vision for the country is. By bringing up Supreme Court nominations when asked about abortion later in the debate, Biden laid bare the stark contrast in the potential futures for the nation.
2. But the orgasm-inducing moment of the night was a trap that Ryan walked into like a red-shirted ensign sent down to an alien planet on Star Trek. Ryan criticized the 2009 stimulus, as is the wont of Republicans everywhere, even though it worked really, really well, and Biden eviscerated Ryan and his entire hypocritical party when he pointed out, "[Ryan] sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin? We sent millions of dollars...he writes me a letter saying -- writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, the reason we need this stimulus -- it will create growth and jobs. He -- his words." Biden went at Ryan, sounding like a David Mamet character, like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. He may as well have glared at Ryan and said, "Fuck you. That's my name." It was the catharsis Democrats needed. If President Obama can get in a line or two like that next Tuesday, the race will be back to where it was before last week's debate.
3. Biden laughed at Ryan constantly, and it pissed a lot of people off. Fuck them. It was the laugh of an old man who has heard enough bullshit to last ten lifetimes. Biden used to argue with Jesse Helms, one of the most craven, vile bastards to ever set foot in DC. He went toe-to-toe with Bob Dole. He was locked in a death match with Orrin Hatch for years. You think that Ryan was gonna throw anything at him that he hasn't heard before? It was the laugh of someone who sees through the con and wants everyone to know that he gets the joke. Biden laughed because he wanted to degrade the lies and half-answers that Ryan gave, because he wanted to turn Ryan into a laughingstock.
4. Do Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand that they are not running for Congress? When moderator Martha Raddatz asked Ryan to give specifics on loopholes or deductions they'll get rid of to pay for the big tax cut, the congressman dodged by saying, "[W]e actually want to have big bipartisan agreements." They want to present a framework to the legislative branch that Congress will fill in with walls and floors and some nice flowers on the side tables. How is that leadership? "We want to give everyone a big tax cut and pay for it by getting rid of enough deductions for the wealthy. You guys work it out." It's like telling Israel and Palestine, "Okay, we want peace. Now, do it" and just leaving the room and hoping for the best.
By the way, you know who that approach didn't work for? President Obama. Yeah, back during the health care debate, he gave a framework to Congress and told them to work out the details because he wanted a big bipartisan agreement on the basic goal. Nothing got done because Republicans didn't give a fuck about the framework or the goal. The President ended up having to present a more detailed plan.
5. No, Ryan did not suck as badly as Obama did last week, but he did lose. He was unable to defend any policy or even offer policies when it came to Afghanistan and Syria. At times, he was a babbling accusation machine with nothing to say other than canned talking points that Biden, you know, laughed at. The only reason you're seeing polls that call the debate a draw is because Democrats were honest about Obama's performance. Republicans live a delusional world, as evidenced clearly by their candidates' bizarre refusal to tell the truth about anything, and that delusion extends to judging debate performances.
6. Mostly, though, think of the debate this way: In 2008, Joe Biden, who smiled at Sarah Palin the way one does at a particularly precocious toddler, had to hold his fire for fear of seeming sexist or bullying to the then-governor. He got to unload on Ryan. And all those years in the Senate, all those years confronting presidents, all of it came to bear last night as he beat down Ryan viciously and mercilessly. Ryan is the perfect product of Republican America, someone who grew up in the Reagan era in a protected bubble, who learned at the knee of conservatives and worked for people like Sam Brownback, a man whose philosophy is a synthesis of cruel social conservatism and bastardized Ayn Rand. In other words, he is everything Joe Biden has fought against. Of course Biden was gonna cut off this puffed up punk at the knees. That Ryan asshole brought up a fatal car crash in front of the guy who lost his wife and daughter in one. Shit, when it was done, you half-expected the Vice President to brush his shoulder.
It is probably Biden's last time on the big stage. Give the bright-toothed guy his victory lap.