Saturday, October 13, 2012

Biden won the debate

Conservatives' tone shows focus has shifted Democratically

It may be two days late, but some analysis on the vice presidential debate is certainly warranted.

We're continuously asked to consider who "wins" debates, no matter what election year it is. Such analyses tend to miss the big picture -- such as, even when you win a debate, it can be done due to appearance rather than substance -- but regardless of such reservations, it remains important to consider who had the better points, and who came out on top overall.

In the first presidential debate, Gov. Mitt Romney appeared to overpower President Barack Obama in terms of his oratory skills. But looking at the debate itself, it's clear that, though he didn't appear to win, Obama stuck to the facts much more than Romney did. If one has to resort to telling a multitude of lies to win a debate, then in the long-run it could prove to be more beneficial for the "loser." Indeed, the following day Barack Obama was on the campaign stump touting his rivals misdeeds, and had a campaign commercial highlighting Romney's lies from the evening prior.

In terms of the vice presidential debate, however, I'd have to say that Vice President Joe Biden out-did Rep. Paul Ryan on a number of issues surrounding the event. First, in terms of energizing the base, Biden certainly woke up liberals across the country. Following a dismal performance (but again, more factually accurate) by Obama, Biden needed to do this more than anything. And he did -- Twitter and Facebook feeds across the nation have lit up with Biden "memes," as well as anti-Ryan images poking fun at recent images he posed for with Time Magazine.

Second, Biden did the exact opposite -- he had the conservatives on the defensive. Both candidates performed equally as well in terms of the bases of both. That is to say, conservatives with Ryan as well as liberals with Biden could both be considered satisfactory with respect to their ideological allies.

But Biden's performance more than infuse electricity in the liberal base -- it did so in the conservative side as well. Criticisms of Biden's performance from Thursday night varied, but for the most those on the right were more concerned with his behavior, focusing on his smiling and his interjections rather than his substance.

Meanwhile, their defense of Ryan's performance has been minimal, even when it's been shown that he told a multitude of lies. Put another way, conservatives were in attack mode, while liberals were celebrating. The end result was a promotion of one candidate (Biden) versus significant criticism of another (Ryan).

In the long-term, the debate won't determine who will win the least when it comes to policy. But the liberal base, newly energized, is ecstatic with Biden's performance. Conservatives, meanwhile, are equally ecstatic, but have focused much of their attention towards meaningless critiques of Biden, shifting the overall focus towards the Democratic Party's nominees in the mainstream.

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