Dude totally got Bidened. The epic performance last night by Vice President Joe Biden is destined to go down in history as one of the finest debate showings ever. Three things conspired against Congressman Paul Ryan: the truth, a debate opponent well prepared with facts and a ‘tude, and a debate moderator that was skilled and educated enough not to put up with any bullshit. This perfect storm left Ryan flopping on the beach like a fish, mouth gawping for air, completely knocked out of his zone.
It’s not easy to debate someone who tells lie after lie after lie. You risk spending your entire time refuting the lies without ever getting your own message out. Last night, Joe Biden taught us how to do it. He started out grinning whenever Ryan lied. By the end, he was openly laughing and, in what was almost like a live-tweeting of his own debate, responded in the background to each lie that rolled out of Ryan’s mouth with a refutation so that, when it was his own turn, he could actually deliver his message.
He made Ryan look foolish on foreign policy. He made Ryan look foolish on domestic policy. He made Ryan look almost irreligious on the question of abortion. And the entire time, he was openly derisive of Ryan when he lied. It was a pitch perfect performance.
Here’s a classic example in a discussion about defense. By the end, confronted with direct questions, Ryan was stumbling and saying they won’t increase defense spending (which directly contradicts Mitt Romney on this topic):
Perhaps the most enjoyable moment was when Biden pointed out Ryan’s hypocrisy on the Stimulus, telling us that he got not one but TWO letters from Ryan asking for Stimulus money for his state. Why? Because it would create jobs!
This is how you handle liars. You show the perfect amount of derision for someone who is lying to the American people and then refute his lies with facts, openly, aggressively and with humor. When I defended President Obama’s debate performance last week, I said that it freed him up to be more aggressive in the next debate because people were expecting him to. What I didn’t consider is that it also freed up Vice President Biden to do the same thing. Biden was already in the role of being more of an aggressor but, after last week, nearly everyone paying attention to the debates was saying he’d have to come out swinging. And, wow, did he ever. He has shown us a new way to contend with politicians who have based their entire campaign on lies. You just have to Biden them.