Quotes of the day

posted at 8:42 pm on October 12, 2012 by Allahpundit

Vice President Joe Biden’s repeated laughter during Thursday’s debate was a reflection of the “enormous amount of passion and joy” he brings to the job of serving the American people, White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Friday…

“The person I saw up there last night is somebody who is absolutely passionate about fighting for and defending the middle class… and who comes to his job — this many years in to serving his country in the Senate and now to the White House — with an enormous amount of passion and joy,” Carney said…

“Setting aside assessments of winners and losers,” he said, “As someone who worked with the vice president for two years and traveled with him around the country and the world, I took extreme pleasure in watching the debate last night because of the way that he demonstrated his passion and his wisdom and the joy that he brings to the job of serving the American people as vice president.”

***

Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy!” he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere. Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore’s sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting

National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn’t work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.

And so the Romney-Ryan ticket emerged ahead. Its momentum was neither stopped nor slowed and likely was pushed forward.

***

It will be the crowning irony of the No Drama Obama campaign that it took a man who exudes more drama than a decade of Latin American soap operas to get Democrats out of their funk…

At the same time, my in-box was filled with a certain number of people who would be happy if they could spend the next few weeks delivering some punches to Biden, and not just Republicans. What do independents want most? They want people who will practice a more respectful brand of politics, who will behave the way most Americans try to behave in their dealings: respectfully, maybe even pausing to listen for a second. To them, Biden will seem like an off-putting caricature of the worst of old-style politics

A lot of people will look at Biden’s performance and see a style of politics that makes complex trade-offs impossible. The people who think this way swing general elections.

***

Whereas President Obama’s smile during his debate with Mitt Romney seemed to be an afterthought, proffered as recompense to relieve the strain of his lackluster performance, Vice President Biden’s was an Uzi. From the time he sat down next to Paul Ryan, he was locked and loaded with the pearliest chompers since Matt Dillon donned horse veneers to impress Cameron “There’s Something About Mary” Diaz…

Biden’s smile, though it may be the most remembered part of the debate, probably didn’t work as intended. Democrats may have overlooked the inauthenticity of the smile, not to mention Biden’s repeated interruptions, because he was projecting the aggression they were feeling. As their agent, he was compensating for the president’s perceived weakness. The anger they feel is really toward Obama, of course; Ryan was merely his stand-in.

***

The Democrats cheering on Biden’s bullying, while ignoring the fact that he had nothing to offer on the future of entitlements and his disgraceful alibis about Libya, did so because at bottom they really do not feel Republicans or conservatives are worthy of respect or decency. Though they rarely own up to it, they don’t think Republicans are so much wrong as they are bad. By contrast, most Republicans think Democrats are wrong, not evil. Ryan, whose polite behavior was entirely proper but was made to appear passive and even weak when compared to his bloviating opponent, demonstrated this paradigm by patiently trying to explain his positions even when he was constantly interrupted…

The problem here is not just that presidents and would-be commanders-in-chief must appear presidential. It is that the liberal base of the president’s party is so filled with anger and contempt for Republicans that they can’t abide even a show of civility from their champions.

***

Biden aimed to throw the Obama base a lifeline. He fed the Kos Kidz desperate need for to see some fight, but at the cost of his remaining (and mostly notional) dignity. If you want a gibbering, snorting, mumbling clown with a rictus-grin locked on his mug a heartbeat away from controlling America’s nuclear arsenal, Joe Biden’s your guy…

The conventional wisdom this morning is that the debate was a tie. That conventional wisdom is (as is so often the case) dead wrong. Biden played to his base, trying to dig Obama out of the hole he’s been trapped in since last week’s debate trainwreck. Ryan played to the center, to the swing and to the late-engagers. The post-hoc coverage won’t factor into their decisions: the pictures and Biden’s mugging, drunk-uncle affect will. (Also, Biden opened several new, Costco-scale cans of worms for the Administration on the Libya scandal.)

In short, Biden did nothing to reset the race, and the edge of panic is still there in the Obama campaign.

***

“Biden’s debate preparation was watching repeatedly ‘The Shining.’ And I think he did an excellent imitation of Jack Nicholson,” Charles Krauthammer observed on the “Special Report” panel.

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Via the Daily Rushbo.

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Click the image to listen.

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