Can Joe Biden Pinch Hit For His Boss In The Next Presidential Debate?

The vice-presidential candidate debate was everything the first presidential candidate debate was not: interesting, heated, and a success for Democrats.

Joe Biden may have a reputation for being the crazy old Irish uncle who loves to tell stories that are sometimes embarrassing, but he’s also a great debater. Now, it’s not like Joe didn’t have his moments Thursday night–he leaned mighty heavily on “you’re shittin’ me” looks–but compared to his boss in the last debate, Biden is willing to challenge his opponent, knows how to make points crisply and can draw a sharp distinction between the two parties.

By contrast, Paul Ryan came across as somewhat callow and not always well informed, particularly on foreign policy. (The plan for using U.S. troops in the Middle East: when it’s in “the national interest.” Really?) Ryan also took some hits for bobbing and weaving when moderator Martha Raddatz tried to pin him down on specifics. This was especially noticeable on the question on whether abortion policy would change. Ryan weaseled his answer, but Biden was gracious enough to point out the kind of Supreme Court justices who would be appointed in a Romney administration.

Who won? Probably Biden, not just for substance. His goal was to get the Democratic base revved up again after Obama’s lackluster performance last week led to a general Democratic freak-out. That he did. Ryan’s goal was to prove he was smarter than Biden’s last debate partner, Sarah Palin, and to make people wonder if he’s secretly auditioning for a revival of Saved by the Bell. What was most remarkable about the debate was that it was so substantive.

Besides delineating differences in policy, there was also a telling moment when the two candidates, both Catholic, spoke about their faith in a way that encapsulated the generational rightward shift of the Church over the years. Ryan follows the strain, now dominant in the hierarchy, that puts abortion (as well as traditional marriage) at the pinnacle of belief. Biden is a Vatican II kind of guy, who said that his faith taught him to believe in “taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help.”

You’ll never get a starker contrast between the two types of Catholicism than in that exchange, or of the difference between the bishops and the people in the pews.

And, of course, the values they would bring to the next administration.

Photo; richiec

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  • Cam

    A few things I find interesting about all the debates.

    1. Paul Ryan told Fox News that if they wanted details on the tax plan, he didn’t have time to give them there, but to watch the debate. Then he gave no details.

    2. Romney was declared the “Winner” of the first debate even though he broke all the rules, interupted, went over his time and when fact checked gave false answers. The media declared him the winnter because he was “Entertaining”. They are setting a dangerous precedent. You can lie and break the rules but still win if you are animated.

    3. This morning, CNN fact checked multiple comments during the debate, and Ryan’s claims on the tax plan were labeled false. They couldn’t fact check his comments on MEdicare because he wouldn’t give details.

    So how bad is it when you have GOPers who are so partisan they will vote for people who are hiding their own taxes and won’t even detail out their own plans, even AFTER they are called out as false? You think they would bring out the details just to prove the other people wrong…unless they really ARE false.

  • Dumdum

    @Cam: You are preaching to the choir bro. But as you know ALL republicans Gay or Straight are deaf, dumb, blind, and STOOPID.

  • Dumdum

    Well not dumb cause those b**ches love to talk s**t.


    Religious Republican zombies are coming out of the woodwork — descending on America! Scary or what?
    Romney; would be the equivalent to the Taliban — in his treatment to the gay community — with his extreme cultist attitude … if ever elected!
    Religion; is the biggest bully on the block!
    IRS codes prohibit churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates!
    The IRS … should immediately tax churches — that break that rule!
    Churches — are opposing gay rights — based on a cult! Tax them or shut them down!
    Roman Catholic; Baptist & Mormon churches who were involved in Proposition 8; against the gay community – should be shut down immediately and/or have their tax exemption status revoked!
    Church manses; mansions; corporate jets and Christian college campuses … should face taxes or be shut down — based on corruption and/or being involved in cultism!
    Mormons are nothing more than homophobic bigots and lustful religious lunatics; who harvested women … attempting to scrutinize themselves; into eternity – without success!
    Romney as President; would mean the darkest & meanest period in the United States of America’s history. Homophobic — witchcraft would rule the government from Rome & Salt Lake City …!


    Where is the LOVE?
    Where is the compassion that religion should reflect upon the gay community?
    Being gay is something one is born as … and something that a person should be proud of …!
    Perhaps its time to embrace all the members of the gay community with respect and dignity!


    Being black or left-handed or being gay is just as natural. It is a sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart and be loved in return … it is something that should be celebrated! If it’s between two guys or two girls — all the better. It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE!

    There is no scientific evidence to prove any of the cross related bogus elements of christianity and other religions. Our early human ancestors; on this earth … go back more than 6 million years … 5,996,000 years before the Greeks, Romans and the Jews. Christianity is basically a 2012 year old fictional cult. In the year 300 AD when Emperor Constantine, who to some was the first pope; went on to fabricate & market Christianity – a fantasy – which turned out to be one of the most hateful & evil concoctions ever perpetrated on the world. The evil writings in Leviticus 18:22 … against gays – depict: “P” … “priestly rules” & expanded by the pope; homophobes and religious frauds … to attack the gay community and never meant to apply to the public — but to priests. Leviticus was written long after Moses — 600BC.

    The pope and churches fully aware that Leviticus 18:22 applies to priests only … refuse to remove this stigma … maliciously persecuting gays. Kids are being bullied into suicide …!

  • 2eo

    ALL gay republicans have to be very dim to be able to completely and absolutely silence their conscience, to go against every single moral and intellectual fibre of their humanity, everything they’ve seen first hand, read about and experienced.

    It must take a monumental amount of hatred to vote for your own lynching, I really pity them, we have a contingent of gay people who vote BNP here in the UK.

  • manjoguy

    It was awful to watch Biden who was rarely statesman-like(aggressive, yes but not always polite). He is an embarrassment to the office of the vice-president. Even though I’m gay, I am not focused on just gay marriage – first and foremost I want to keep as high a standard of living as I can for myself and all Americans (which I now see is becoming increasingly impossible under Obama/Biden policies). The economy of the country needs to be strengthened by a competent leader which is not Barack Obama..

  • MK Ultra

    Biden was right to talk over Ryan. The republicans have this debate strategy of inundating their opponemet with lies, so their fellow debater has to spend most of their time “refutiating” those lies and doesn’t have time to answer his own questions.
    Biden handled it like a pro. Shut them their rhetoric/lies down right from the beginning.
    And anyone hoping Romney/Ryan will be job creators, all I have to say is
    Yeah they will. In China for pennies a day

  • Niall

    Loved the debate and I think Biden considering what he needed to do, scored an A+. Some might see his talking over and interruptions as rude(though I don’t remember so much furore when Romney did), but it actually gave fire to and ignited the waning support on the democratic side.

    I’d rather have a crazy lovable Irish uncle in Biden, than some smug looking jock in Ryan.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @manjoguy: It’s refreshing to see that at least someone else around here has had their eyes open to things other than gay marriage, like the downward slide we’ve been in since Obama took office.

  • Aidan8

    @BJ McFrisky: Yes BJ…. you’re the only person capable of seeing multiple issues and understanding nuanced arguments, etc…. Those of us on the left are inescapably biased and just can’t see beyond our petty ideology. So we’ll just turn it over to you to continue to enlighten us silly-people with our “closed eyes.” Thank the gods we have you and your conservative lens to clear it all up for us.

  • dbmyers

    @manjoguy: What a troll! Where is your outrage at the endless lies Ryan kept repeating. Biden is right to laugh at, ridicule, and point out the hypocrisy of Lyin’ Ryan (a doppleganger of his master – Lyin’ Romney). The tea party, FOX News, and the tea-party kidnapped Republican party all endlessly and disingenously practice the “big lie technique” perfected by Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels who infamously stated, “Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.” and “The bigger the lie the more they will believe it.” Pathetic and disgusting. Abreham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt would be dismayed and embarassed by what their one proud party has become. Neither would be a Republican today!

  • ScaryRussianHeather


    WRONG. Ryan was presenting a detailed set of pro growth tax policies but couldn’t finish a sentence. Just because you don’t like the policy doesn’t mean he didn’t have one.

    That’s so convenient that you omitted the part about Biden INTERRUPTING Ryan in the middle of his tax explanation over and over and over accusing him of lying about former presidents like Kennedy’s tax plan “Oh so now you’re Kennedy”. “It’s never been done, It’s never been done”!!!

    As it turns out, Ryan was 100% correct about it. Kennedy, Reagan, Bush all lowered taxes therein increasing tax revenue just like Ryan was in the middle of saying …when RADDATZ also interrupted continually then in the middle of his explanation she cut to DEFENSE spending.

    Here’s the transcript where you can SEE THAT RYAN was interrupted in every sentence by Biden AND Raddatz.



    This administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes to be enacted and become effective in 1963. I am not talking about a quickie or a temporary tax cut which would be more appropriate if a recession were imminent. Nor am I talking about giving the economy a mere shot in the arm to ease some temporary complaint. The federal government’s most useful role is not to rush into a program of excessive increases in public expenditures, but to expand the incentives and opportunities of private expenditures.

    When consumers purchase more goods, plants use more of their capacity, men are hired instead of laid off, investment increases, and profits are high. Corporate tax rates must also be cut to increase incentives and the availability of investment capital. The government has already taken major steps this year to reduce business tax liability and to stimulate the modernization, replacement, and expansion of our productive plant and equipment.

    Our true choice is not between tax reduction on the one hand and the avoidance of large federal deficits on the other. It is increasingly clear that no matter what party is in power, so long as our national security needs keep rising, an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenues to balance our budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits. Surely the lesson of the last decade is that budget deficits are not caused by wild-eyed spenders, but by slow economic growth and periodic recessions, and any new recession would break all deficit records. In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low. And the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.

    “MS. RADDATZ: And you guarantee this math will add up.” to Ryan.

    When has ONE SINGLE JOURNALIST EVER ASKED OBAMA THIS QUESTION IN FOUR YEARS? Oh wait, there hasn’t been a budget in 4 years even though by law there’s should be one.

  • ScaryRussianHeather


    NO kidding.

    Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t even a Republican when he was alive, he was a PROGRESSIVE. He CREATED the PROGRESSIVE PARTY (also known as Bull Moose Party) after a rift with the Republicans/Taft.

    THAT was the beginning of the centralized government takeover effort that’s been in progress up until today….including health care, limiting injunctions on unions, “social insurance” and other PROGRESSIVE IDEAS. Then the Democrats nominated Woodrow Wilson, THEIR PROGRESSIVE, to steal votes away from Roosevelt.

    What the hell? You guys stand there lecturing us on non facts and don’t even have command of basic history and civics?

  • KirkR

    President Obama needs to hit a home run on the next debate!

  • HenryCameron

    Paul Ryan believes that life begins at conception, so the fetus has rights as well as the mother. Right now, it’s easy for us to deride that position, because whatever the number of abortions, we feel no real impact from them. However, some day, probably not too many years from now, scientists will discover the genetic marker(s) for homosexuality, and millions of women will begin choosing to abort their gay babies. Perhaps the LGBT community will discover that unborn children might have some value that should be protected when a woman’s right to choose becomes a gay genocide.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @ScaryRussianHeather: And here I thought all gay men & women were hopeless, helpless liberal sycophants. I like you, SRH.
    @HenryCameron: I like you, too, Henry. Good to see not all of us are lemmings lined up at the cliff.

Comments are closed.