It seemed to lack focus and be somewhat off message to have an all-important Vice-presidential debate analyzed and talked about like it was a middle weight championship prize fight.
Overnight the talk on the air and online was about who won the debate by scoring more declarative zingers or so-called verbal jabs. I believe that the exercise needs to be viewed from more of an overall perspective with a sense of who the country as a whole feels should serve in a leadership capacity as we navigate ourselves through complex and difficult times.
I thought that VP Joe Biden while somewhat annoying and distracting also featured flashes of articulation that represented him and President Obama well. On the other hand Congressman Paul Ryan seemed more earnest and even serious about the task that lies ahead for him and Governor Mitt Romney should they be elected on November 6th.
Biden seemed to be playing defense most of the time while Ryan while calm and reserved seemed ready, willing and able to get going on the business of righting the wrong and damaging policies that have become he hallmark of the Obama administration.
Actually there seemed to be two Biden’s present at last night debate. For the first hour Biden seemed to be on a caffeine high, animated, argumentative and at times plain disruptive. But then with about a half hour to go in the proceeding Biden seemed to calm down and talk in calmer and a more sedate tone.
On foreign policy that played a small part in the first part of the discussion the two seemed to effectively spar over whether it makes sense to broadcast our withdrawal dates from Afghanistan for campaign purposes or let the military do their job and make sure we leave that country with whatever was achieved over the last decade is lasting.
The two seemed to be falling over themselves about who is more committed to the unshakeable bond between the US and Israel. Biden had no response to Ryan’s wondering why Obama had time to go on a television talk show but none to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu at such a critical juncture in the history of the world.
The answer is probably pretty clear. Going on TV with Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters is more fun.