If you didn't watch the Vice Presidential debate, well, then - and it sounds weird to say this - you missed out. Let me put my vote in now that we permanently do away with the standard distant podiums, and have the candidates sit in close proximity for every vote. Ideally, they would both share a single porch swing next time. Or maybe a seesaw.
My thoughts during the debate went from, "boy, Biden is really tearing into him at this debate" to "boy, if Biden doesn't stop interrupting him, he's gonna undercut everything." Biden had Ryan beat at every turn, but he couldn't help himself, and his confidence started to play as arrogance, and became a bit bullying. I posted during the debate that I thought Biden had won the debate but would pay for it in the polls among independents. Since most of my Twitter followers are either dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, or liberals who believe they are the only free-thinkers in Texas, nobody agreed.
I am not much of a political wonk, but my prediction proved true, if not very dramatically so. While the overall country picked Biden as the winner, undecided voters leaned Ryan - and the very next day, Romney had another surge in the polls.
What stuck with me most, though, was the most famous soundbyte from Thursday's debate - Biden snidely calling out Ryan after he mentions Jack Kennedy. "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy?"
This is about an hour into the debate, and tempers were clearly wearing thin. Neither of these guys sound that pleasant:
Here's a quick transcript if you didn't hit play:
RYAN: You can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers.
BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.
RYAN: It is mathematically possible. It’s been done before. It’s precisely what we’re proposing.
BIDEN: (laughing) It has never been done before.
RYAN: It’s been done a couple of times, actually.
BIDEN: It has never been done before.
RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth.
BIDEN: Oh, NOW YOU'RE JACK KENNEDY?
The more I think about this, the more it annoys me. Because, for the quote of the night, this is an inane response.
Biden kept saying that something didn't exist, and when Ryan gave an example, he taunts him for comparing himself to the example, then sits back with a look that clearly says, can you believe this guy? But the logic on Biden's side is not sound. There's a point to be made about Democrats and finances that Biden could've probably jumped into. After all, when Republicans reference Democrats in regard to taxation, that's a softball pitch. But instead, when Biden heard "Jack Kennedy", he saw a chance to make his own Lloyd Bentsen comment, regardless of context.
But the problem is, Ryan didn't compare himself to Kennedy, even implicitly. He just responded to Biden's taunts about the historical accuracy of his statement. And, while I have no idea if Jack Kennedy actually lowered taxes and increased growth or not, the debate from that point has to hinge on whether or not Jack Kennedy cut taxes in that fashion, and if so, does that mean you should vote for Romney and not Obama?
But Biden's retort is founded not on the conversation that they're having, but a mythical conversation that is clearly not taking place at the time of the comment.
Take it out of a political context. Let's say that the conversation was about something else where someone was refuting a point you made.
GUY 1: You can go to the library and pick up a book about a famous person from India.
GUY 2: There have never been any famous people from India.
GUY 1: There have been people from India who were famous. It’s definitely happened.
GUY 2: (laughing) There have never been any famous people from India!
GUY 1: There've been a couple, actually.
GUY 2: There have never been any.
GUY 1: Mahatma Gandhi was a famous India figure, known worldwide.
GUY 2: Oh, NOW YOU'RE MAHATMA GANDHI?
The whole thing unravels the further you push it:
GUY 1: ...and that's why we have a surplus of purple vegetables.
GUY 2: There have never been any purple vegetables.
GUY 1: There are purple vegetables.
GUY 2: (laughing) There have never been any purple vegetables!
GUY 1: There are a number of them, actually.
GUY 2: There have never been any.
GUY 1: Eggplants are available in every supermarket.
GUY 2: Oh, NOW YOU'RE AN EGGPLANT?
I don't suppose it really matters. By Monday, people will have forgotten the debate entirely, which is a shame, because there was a moment there I really thought the two were going to come to blows right there at the desk.
By the way, weight routine or no, I'd still give Biden two-to-one odds in that fight.