“If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.” –Proverbs 29:9
Joker Joe thought the whole night was hilarious
Conventional wisdom says that vice presidential debates don’t move the needle in elections, and last night’s debate was probably no exception. That said, Thursday night’s debate couldn’t have contrasted two more different candidates. Paul Ryan, the respectful, serious and earnest policy wonk, against Joe Biden, who behaved like a drunken clown and a jerk and paid due homage to the mascot of the Democrat Party — the Jackass.
On substance, Ryan held his own against Vice President Chuckles, despite having to face a second debate opponent in “moderator” Martha Raddatz of ABC News. Yet on style, whether the subject was the terrorist attack on our Libyan embassy, the ailing economy or abortion, Biden smiled, laughed, sneered, rolled his eyes and strategically interrupted Ryan every time the congressman hit his stride on an answer. And if it wasn’t Biden interrupting, it was Raddatz.
Biden is obviously a disciple of Saul Alinksy, who in his “Rules for Radicals,” Rule No. 5, said, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.” Clearly, the Obama team decided that the president’s failure last week was that he was “too polite,” and that Biden had to use ridicule to shore up their anxious base. The result was appalling, but then again, Biden has been rehearsing his socialist obfuscation and diversion in Washington for 40 years.
With that, here are a few high- and lowlights.
Libya: Biden blamed the intelligence community for the ever-changing story coming from the White House, and flat out lied when he claimed ignorance as a defense. “[W]e weren’t told they wanted more security” at the embassy, he said.. But the bottom line is that the whole episode is, as Ryan responded, “indicative of a broader problem,” and we’re witnessing “the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy.”
Iran: Biden made the ridiculous assertion that even though Iran has spent the last four years further developing fissile material for a nuclear weapon, “they have to be able to have something to put it in. There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point.” Well, building a bomb to “put it in” is the easy part. When the argument shifted to how the ayatollah sees it, Biden argued that the administration’s “most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period,” have the Iranians looking at an “economy being crippled … the currency going into the tank … [and] the economy going into free fall.” We wondered if he meant the Iran economy or the U.S. economy. Maybe the administration should ease up on sanctions here at home.
Economy: We have to give Raddatz props for asking Biden why White House projections of unemployment under 6 percent were so wrong, but Biden immediately defaulted to blaming Bush. He then berated Mitt Romney for wanting to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” in contrast to the administration, which “rescued General Motors.” What he neglected to mention was that Detroit did go bankrupt — the White House just made sure the unions came out okay.
Biden then proceeded to the usual leftist class warfare, accusing Republicans of holding the middle class “hostage” to tax cuts “for the super wealthy.” Yet tax policy should be about growth, not “fair shares” and “economic patriotism,” as Barack Obama put it last week. As Ryan noted, “The economy is barely limping along. It’s growing at 1.3 percent. That’s slower than it grew last year and last year was slower than the year before.” The Romney/Ryan tax cut plan — a 20 percent cut across the board with reforms to deductions and credits — is first and foremost a pro-growth plan. The so-called “cost” of cutting those taxes will be more than offset by economic growth. Ryan tried to note despite rude interruption that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did the same thing with great success, contrary to the leftist assertion that we “can’t afford” it and that the Bush-era tax cuts caused the current deficits.
As for unemployment, the real (U-6) rate, which includes those who are underemployed and those who have become discouraged and simply given up looking for work, is reported as 14.7 percent but, as with U-3, is probably much higher. In addition, the real unemployed and underemployed ranks of Americans have swollen to more than 20 million, households considered impoverished have grown to one in six, and there are 47 million food stamp recipients — up 50 percent since Obama’s election. Obama has also amassed $5 trillion in new debt, and our national debt now totals $16 trillion, which for the first time in history now exceeds U.S. annual economic output. Finally, median household income has declined by $4,520 (8.2 percent) since Obama took office (that’s the real “Obama tax”), energy prices have doubled because of Obama restrictions, and economic growth has slowed to an anemic 1.3 percent.
Biden made hay of Romney’s statement about 47 percent not paying federal income taxes, but that created an opening for Ryan’s best zinger of the night: “I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
Medicare and Social Security: Ryan hit the most critical point, saying, “Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.” He noted that Democrats “got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for ObamaCare,” taking $716 billion from future Medicare outlays to make ObamaCare look less expensive, but in essence trying to spend the same dollar twice. Biden countered with the same lie about Ryan’s “voucher” plan supposedly costing seniors $6,400 a year when it does nothing of the sort. Biden’s real assertion is the same old canard that markets and competition don’t work, only government does.
Taxes: This was largely covered under the economy section, but it was at this point that Ryan really nailed it: “[W]e think that government taking 28 percent of a family and business’s income is enough. President Obama thinks that the government ought to be able to take as much as 44.8 percent of a small business’s income.” And, given that “[e]ight out of 10 businesses file their taxes as individuals, not as corporations,” this is key.
Afghanistan: Ryan took issue with Obama’s withdrawal deadline because “we don’t want to lose the gains we’ve gotten. We want to make sure that the Taliban does not come back in and give al-Qa’ida a safe haven.” That’s exactly what’s beginning to happen under the current commander in chief. Biden’s reply was essentially that deadlines are good for cooperation. And, he noted, “I’ve been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter, and sometimes in a vehicle.” Well then, that settles it!
Religion and abortion: This is not the top issue for most voters, but the candidates answers certainly were a window into their philosophies. While both men are Catholic, only one of them expressed genuine faith. Ryan noted that “reason and science” go hand in hand with his faith, saying that, when they saw the “seven-week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw the heartbeat,” it confirmed to him that “life begins at conception.” Biden agreed, “Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.” And yet somehow, in public policy, he’s determined to protect not that innocent life but a woman’s right to “control [her] body.” His faith teaches that abortion is murder, yet he thinks it should be legal and funded by the federal government. The contradiction was stunning.
Biden also played fast and loose with verb tenses in claiming that Catholic institutions don’t have to pay for contraception, per the ObamaCare mandate. They will next year. And Ryan responded with a simple question: If the administration is so great on religious liberty, “Why would they keep suing you?”
In closing: Biden struck the pose of the used-car salesman trying to make a deal with a sucker: “Who you gonna trust, me or your lyin’ eyes?” Ryan contrasted the two approaches, listing all of Obama’s unkept promises, and saying, “The choice is clear: a stagnant economy that promotes more government dependency or a dynamic, growing economy that promotes opportunity and jobs. … [W]e will not try to replace our founding principles. We will reapply our founding principles.” That would indeed be an excellent place to start.
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