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What was wrong went vice-presidential debates

Reader comment on item: Impressions of the Veep Debate

Submitted by Anatoly Tsaliovich (United States), Oct 12, 2012 at 19:29

I watched yesterday's VP debates with amazement and disbelief. And while I tend to agree with the majority of observers that there was no clear winner in the VP debate yesterday (although allegedly an immediate AP poll gave preference to Paul Ryan, 48:44), I am not quite sure now that this picturesque spectacle was worth the time. Anyhow, I am not about to go into the details of cons and pros expressed by each side: there are enough pundits out there to tackle this task. However, I do see an obvious loser in this debate: it is this great country of the USA and its citizens. And this is what prompted me to write the following commentary.

I do not expect to "discover America", when I say that the debates were a failure. In my opinion, the blame for the sorrowful outcome should be placed right at the feet (mouths?) of all three participants in the event.

No doubt, the main culprit to be blamed for this failure was our notorious VP Biden. With all due respect, his incessant interruptions, arrogant smirks, senseless loud bawls reaching the levels of horse-style neighing (pardon my French) – all of those were unworthy of the high office he occupies in our government, but rather befit an applicant competing for the clown position in a local circus. Behind his noisy clownery, any opportunity to hear his opponent and have a healthy discussion never materialized and was lost. If the goal of Biden's exercise was just to blank off what his opponent would want to say, then, of course, that goal was achieved (although I don't lose hope that American public is somewhat more sophisticated than to accept such nonsense). But as far as clarifying complex issues, crucial for the fates of our country and the world at large, I am not sure if Biden (and his admirers) should be proud of himself.

Now, while the VP's antics did create a difficult environment, it wouldn't have been untenable if only the moderator, Marta Raddatz, were at the top of her role. Many times during the debates, she could have called to order the overbearing vice president, but she didn't. In fact, it looked like she interrupted Paul Ryan more often that the domineering VP (although I didn't count, nor compared the number of interruptions of each participant). To the moderator's credit, she did come up with a number of relevant issues, but because of her losing control over the debate process, any prospects of an enlightening discussion were wasted.

The "last line of defense" against the aggressive ugliness of the VP's behaviors was Congressman Paul Ryan himself. While he did try to somehow pacify the let himself go VP, by and large he was too gentle and considerate. As a result, half of what he wanted to say was not said or muted. But he shouldn't have accepted this circus: the stakes at the pending elections are too high to "play polite games". At some point of time, he should have asked the moderator to shush the wanton VP, and refuse to continue the discussion until and unless the order would have been restored. In my experience, there is no other way to stop an ungirdled demagogue.

Of course, today all the problems with this debate are by and large "water under the bridge". But there are also lessons to be learned, so that such lamentable events would not repeat in the future.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

I agree that Ryan should have done more to quell the barrage from Biden But it's tough when you bump into an unexpected situation on live television and have to improvise. Ryan took the safe path.

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Reader comments (29) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
job interview [200 words]mythOct 14, 2012 01:53199792
One of the worst debates ever! [121 words]stanley bOct 14, 2012 00:57199790
A stark contrast indeed [97 words]saraOct 14, 2012 00:39199787
No more free trade [74 words]ChrisOct 13, 2012 20:22199782
The Ministry of Silly Faces [98 words]Jules PostenOct 13, 2012 13:57199776
The Security of Israel [60 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
James MarionOct 13, 2012 09:38199772
Prsident Obama cannot hide behind Joe Bidens's lies !! [92 words]jeremy eliotOct 13, 2012 02:30199763
Impressions on debate [68 words]NROct 12, 2012 23:37199761
2What was wrong went vice-presidential debates [578 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Anatoly TsaliovichOct 12, 2012 19:29199758
Forget style, it was the content that was dangerous. [166 words]jaybeOct 12, 2012 17:21199753
In the upcoming Presidential debate, Obama must be made to confirm or repudiate... [54 words]jaybeOct 15, 2012 05:52199753
Impressions of the Veep debate...and disappointment with Mr. Dufus. [189 words]AnnOct 12, 2012 16:58199752
Garbled sentence? [29 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
alan in KSOct 12, 2012 16:42199750
They were talking in code about Big Bird [137 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Abu NudnikOct 12, 2012 16:28199749
1IMPRESSION OF THE VEEP DEBATE [187 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Nenette GrunbergOct 12, 2012 16:21199746
1VP VS future VP [21 words]Steven LOct 12, 2012 16:08199745
VP Biden [28 words]Steven LOct 14, 2012 11:53199745
Biden mentioned Turks, Jordanians and Saudis; China mentioned 5 times, Russia 15 times [133 words]Mark JamesOct 12, 2012 15:20199742
Biden's cheshire cat performace [407 words]Wallace Edward BrandOct 12, 2012 15:09199741
1Impressions of the Veep Debate [131 words]JudithOct 12, 2012 14:11199740
3veep debates [500 words]w juneOct 12, 2012 13:56199739
1acute analysis, thx. [38 words]RachelOct 12, 2012 13:12199738
Arrogance? [157 words]AlanaOct 12, 2012 12:49199737
2Some circus was missing its clown. [26 words]MDOct 12, 2012 12:33199735
1Dr. Pipes Ought to Run a Polling or Political Consulting Agency [43 words]AlexOct 12, 2012 12:18199733
Sorry [102 words]MichaelOct 12, 2012 11:16199732
1Really? [29 words]saraOct 14, 2012 01:01199732
"Turkey, Jordan, ...never came up" -- I recall that they were -- and as alleged "allies". [10 words]MarkOct 12, 2012 09:33199730
BIDEN [36 words]VIJAY DOct 12, 2012 08:54199727

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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