As I said I might do, I took in the full debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan the day after (after reacting to only parts of it originally), and guess what? It seems to me Ryan put together the more credible performance or at least he did as well as Biden, and he certainly had better manners.
You can be forceful without being rude.
As it turns out I had caught more of it than I thought.
Of course a reaction to a political debate can depend upon one’s pre-conceived notions, party affiliation or political philosophy.
And I will only say that my predilections have not been for Republicans.
But I am confused why even some Republicans seemed to have had the initial reaction that Ryan had either lost or did not fight back against what I would call Biden’s bad manners (I was listening to some callers into a radio station right-wing talk show right after the debate).
I thought Ryan did well. He calmly, but firmly deflected Biden’s blows. Was he always accurate (was Biden)? That is for the fact checkers, I guess. But much of it seemed to be plausible to me.
One part that I did not catch the first time over was the Middle East wars, particularly Afghanistan. I agree with Ryan that although we need to get our troops out, we do our cause no good by letting the enemy know in no uncertain terms that we have a deadline to get out. North Vietnam knew that we would eventually quit and won. They waited it out.
(I personally have actually advocated or suggested that we might just as well pull out immediately and cut our losses, but the reality is that we are not doing that. But what is the sense of prolonging things if the eventual plan amounts to probably losing by default?)
And on the tax cuts. Where is the fairness or rationality in taxing the rich and protecting the sacred middle class? And just who are the middle class? We need to define terms.
I have a suspicion that in Joe Biden’s eyes and in Barack Obama’s eyes the middle class are union donors.
But the reality is that a lot of working people are not union members for a wide variety of reasons. Although I am sure unions would like to cover everyone, for practical reasons they prefer certain types of situations where the movement of labor is somewhat inflexible and they can get a stranglehold on the means of production or the workforce.
There are large companies who cannot immediately train and rehire replacements. In the case of public employment, unions are in cahoots with politicians who see them as a large voting block — thus the unsustainable public employee pensions.
I know, this sounds anti-union. Well it is not pro-union. But my point is that I think a better message out of the Democratic Party would be that it wants to represent all people, regardless of social or economic status. But both Biden and Obama have now made it clear that their number-one goal is to support the middle class, and I think they may have a too narrow idea of what constitutes the middle class.
Ryan was right on when he needled Biden about being so forceful because he had to make up for Obama’s lackluster performance in his first go-around with Mitt Romney.
I hope that Obama can come back forcefully but with decorum against Romney in the coming foreign policy debate.
I do think both Romney and his junior partner Ryan are weak on foreign policy in its total, but Obama needs to strongly articulate his case.
Ryan strikes me as well meaning but not ready for prime time. But he is probably better equipped mentally that George W. Bush, which is not saying much.
Biden is an embarrassment.
Oh, yes, as a 63-year old I am a little leery of the Ryan/Romney notions on Medicare and Social Security, but I know that is something both parties have to work out to make sure that the programs remain solvent , and even the Republicans vow to save the programs.
But I am only giving reactions here. I have usually not liked the Republican ideas in my lifetime and remain quite skeptical, but I like to consider myself an independent and objective thinker.