Our View: Young Mr. Ryan meets The Joker
Posted: October 15, 2012
To her credit, ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz put Joe Biden and Paul Ryan through their rhetorical paces Thursday night. She, again laudably, required specific answers to myriad policy questions. But issues and answers are not what will be remembered from the lone vice-presidential debate.
What will be recalled, as long as folks talk politics in America, is Mr. Biden’s demeanor, his deportment, his manners (or lack thereof).
The man grinned, guffawed, giggled, laughed, snickered, and smirked his way through most of the 90 minutes. Call it conduct unbecoming . . . from the chronological elder in the room, no less.
In no small way did Mr. Biden resemble Jack Nicholson’s Joker in the first “Batman” movie. It would not have surprised us in the least if, at some point, he had exclaimed, “A little song, a little dance, Mitt Romney’s head on a lance?” But whereas Mr. Nicholson played it for laughs, Mr. Biden played it for . . . what? A rhetorical edge?
If that were truly his intent, then he failed miserably. Too many times in the last 72 or so hours, we’ve heard people say they flipped away from the debate in favor of the Steelers or the baseball playoffs. We see their point. A Libyan massacre and a proto-nuclear Iran do not lend themselves to frivolity.
Such inanity marred not merely a spirited discussion, but, for Democrats, an otherwise passable performance by their second-in-command. In stark contrast to President Obama a week earlier, Mr. Biden seemed energized for the fray, eager to engage. But perhaps too much so.
He was not just The Joker, but also played the cranky father — rude, condescending, disrespectful — to Mr. Ryan’s earnest, sincere son. As such, at night’s end, he did his party precious little good.