I will preface this blog post as I did my post on how Mitt Romney won his debate; this is not about partisan politics, rhetoric or picking sides. This is strictly an observation on the debate itself. It’s not intended to sway anyone’s vote towards either candidate.
Last night, we saw many of the same things we saw from Gov. Romney’s debate with President Obama. Vice President Biden was aggressive, assertive, and came with a plan and a specific goal in mind. He came with his facts (which I’m sure will also be fact checked to the hilt over the next few days) and he delivered them with conviction and confidence. In short, he did what his party needed him to do.
From the very beginning, VP Biden let it be known that he was not going to sit back and let Congressman Ryan dictate the tone of the debate. He took charge, and never relinquished his control. When Congressman Ryan made a statement he did not agree with, he displayed his disapproval; either through a myriad of facial expressions or by just interrupting him. For the most part VP Biden was just “Joe being Joe”. And by the responses I saw on my Twitter feed (@TheClothier), it was very effective for his base. And let’s not fool ourselves, this debate wasn’t about swaying Independents, it was about energizing, and motivating. Congressman Ryan did as well as he could. But he had his hands tied and was at a complete disadvantage in 6 ways, and VP Biden capitalized on every single one of them.
First, this was Ryan’s first time debating on such a large stage. Biden has been on this stage far more times. He had no problem taking command of the arena, and doing with it what he wanted.
Second, last night’s debate was foreign policy heavy; which I personally didn’t agree with. And like him or not, VP Biden is one of the leading Foreign Policy experts in the country. This is a fact that will only be disputed by someone with a partisan agenda. If you recall, the 2008 campaign was originally going to be over foreign policy. This is why, then, Sen. Biden was picked as the VP Nominee. The largest knock on Sen. Obama was his lack of foreign policy experience. Remember Secretary Clinton’s now infamous “Who do you want answering that 3am phone call?” line? It only turned economic when the economy crashed mid- campaign. VP Biden was able to capitalize on his knowledge of foreign policy to easily display the experience gap.
Third, if we’re honest about it, we know that Congressman Ryan was chosen to put the Republican base at ease. Gov. Romney was not convincing, and to a large extend still hasn’t convinced, the GOP that he is a Conservative. Ryan is a Conservative and everyone knows it. This gave Biden an opening to draw distinct party differences, and use the Democratic talking points to appeal to his base, and demonize the GOP.
Fourth, and this is not limited to Congressman Ryan, it extends to Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney as well. Ryan has more difficulty connecting personally with the average person. He was blessed to be a child of privilege and has not known many of the struggles that the average American suffers, from a first person viewpoint. Biden has the ability to draw upon past experiences like the death of his wife and daughter, a son in the military, and little anecdotal stories and phrases that his parents passed on to him. The American people have seen his struggles as they happened, and they can connect viscerally with him.
Fifth, the goal was lower for Biden. All he had to do to change the narrative was attack, switch the media conversation from the Presidential Debate, and set the road map for the next Presidential Debate. He did just that. We all know VP Biden is prone to gaffes and blunders, and doesn’t always deliver the message the administration would like. But we also know that “Joe Biden speaks his mind, whether you like it or not.” All they had to do was let him lose; and they did. They released a hungry dog on Congressman Ryan and he was not prepared to beat him. Ryan did the best he could, but he was unmatched. The biggest reason Ryan was unable to defend himself effectively against Biden, is my last factor.
Same goals, different plans. Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan’s plans toward changing America are two completely different, and at times, conflicting viewpoints. It is hard to defend, explain and rationalize a plan you don’t truly believe in. That is what Ryan is forced to attempt to do everyday. I believe that’s why he can never explain Romney’s plans thoroughly. I’m not sure he fully knows them himself. To be honest, Ryan is the stronger candidate; but he is the number 2 guy. He has to yield to Gov. Romney.
I think their core motives are different as well. Whether you like his approach or not, I think Ryan’s goal is to try to help America. I think Gov. Romney wants the title of being President. I think Ryan’s goal is passionate, and Romney’s goal is ego. Either way, they are politically married to each other now, and Ryan has to make the best of the situation, but it will continue to be difficult for him.
I think, at least for the night, Joe Biden was the more formidable opponent. If you have any doubts about the winner, listen to the pundits evaluation of the debate. The entire conversation is about facial expressions, and smiles. Not the facts, information or narrative. It’s very much like it was when President Obama was taken to the woodshed by Gov. Romney. The entire conversation was about Romney’s aggressiveness, and Obama’s submissiveness, not the substance of the debate. Either way, the stage is set for a very interesting next Presidential Debate. Until next time…..
God bless and dress well,
William Wilson, CEO
William Wilson Clothing