Appearances matter: Biden far from dignified in debate with Ryan

The Oklahoman Editorial Modified: October 12, 2012 at 10:08 am •  Published: October 12, 2012

The vice-presidential debate Thursday night will likely be remembered more for Democratic incumbent Joe Biden’s nonverbals than any specific quotes. Biden’s bizarre behavior —inappropriate laughter, smirks and constant interruptions — quickly fueled parodies. Mark this one a win for the GOP.

Republican Paul Ryan was dignified and respectful, although perhaps too deferential at times. A bit more push-back was warranted now and again. Still, Ryan made the most of his constantly interrupted time.

When Biden blamed the intelligence community for claiming a YouTube video caused the murder of our Libya ambassador, Ryan simply noted: “If we’re hit by terrorists, we’re going to call it for what it is: a terrorist attack.”

Biden often seemed out of touch with reality. He was so dismissive of Iran’s efforts to develop a nuclear weapon that even the moderator was compelled to note, “You are acting a little bit like they don’t want one.” Biden repeatedly claimed maintaining current tax rates for the middle class is a tax cut. It’s not.

Biden’s slightly unhinged, undignified and rude behavior may fire up core Democrats, but likely turns off swing voters. Ryan looked like a vice-presidential candidate; Biden looked like a kid blowing spit wads in middle school, not someone who should be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Appearances matter. Ryan treated voters with respect while Biden prompted many to recall Proverbs 29:9: “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.”


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