Oct 2012 12

by ChrisSick

[Source: Mashable]

Hey there, lil’ tyke, wassa matter? Did the President let you down? Break your heart when he blew away his five-point lead in ninety minutes of sad-ass debate performance last week? Well, guess what, your uncle Joe is here to cheer you all up, he’s got a treat for you and its called FACTS.

For the last week I’ve endured nothing but endless triumphalism from the Right and sky-is-falling inanity from the Left. Following President Obama’s lifeless (and bloodless, by comparison) debate performance against Gov. Romney, the polls favored the challenger for the first time since he captured the nomination in June of this year. This resulted in a brutal media cycle that asked such important political questions as “Does the President even give a shit?” and “How bad will a Romney presidency be?

Joe Biden emailed me, personally — along with every one else on the Obama 2012 mailing list — to ask for money and promise me that he had one job tonight:

“I told Barack I have one mission tonight: tell the truth and stand up for what we believe in.”

Well, according to a quick scan of Politfact’s instant debate factcheck, he pretty handily accomplished that. In fact, if all you’re looking for is a quick summary of the debate, here it is:

“BIDEN: Those are the facts, right?

RYAN: This is what politicians do when they don’t have a record to run on…”

Ryan read prepared (and well-worn) attack lines straight from his stump speeches, while Biden laughed himself sick every time Ryan opened his mouth and once actually rubbed his hands together in anticipation of responding while Ryan was speaking. Biden seized FACTS as punctuation for all his points early in the debate, and after looking a little shaky on the Benghazi Embassy debacle, pretty much bludgeoned Ryan to death with them from there on out.

I knew the debate was won by Biden forty-five minutes in as I watched all the conservative Twitter accounts I follow harp on #Bidengrin, which quickly got seized upon by liberals (and myself) as a triumphant tag, so they quickly switched to #Bidenunhinged. Harping on the oppositions facial expressions during the debate is usually a sign that you’ve ceded the salient point ground.

But for a second, let’s talk about this and — hopefully, in the process — put both the debates into perspective. You judge the winner of a debate in one easy way. You turn off the sound and watch the body language and facial expressions. Fucking tragic, I know, that such an analysis matters more than any actual points that get stated or rebuttals delivered, but there it is. As a smarter man than me once opined — the game is the game.

And by such a metric President Obama lost the first Presidential debate about as badly as Congressman Ryan did tonight. Joe Biden was relaxed, comfortable, confident, and seemed to be enjoying himself, while Ryan looked overly-serious, humorless, stiff, more than a little disturbingly dead-eyed.

I spent most of the week following the Presidential debate patiently — okay, not so patiently more than once — explaining to dissatisfied liberals why their firm conviction that Mitt Romney did nothing but lie through his perfect teeth didn’t matter even a little bit. Because the correct response to such a tactic isn’t to stare at your note cards on the podium, it is to do precisely what Joe Biden did tonight, hammer on the facts, corner your opponent in their own words, and never let up.

You don’t win debates because Politifact says you told less lies after the fact.

And despite Biden’s emailed promise to tell the truth, he really only had one job tonight, and that was to create a new media narrative. If early indications that I’m seeing are any sign, he’s successfully accomplished that. Conservatives will tell you — and anyone who will listen, much less believe them — that the moderator was biased (because the President attended her wedding twenty years ago as a guest of her now-divorced husband), that the Veep debate was a draw (already seeing this on TwitteR), or that it doesn’t matter nearly as much as Obama’s performance.

But, an interesting fact is that the initial polling that included post-debate reaction didn’t show a substantial bounce for Romney. The media and most viewers were in agreement that the President lost, and badly. In fact, by the largest margin in history. But it didn’t shift the polls very quickly. The massive shift didn’t take place until after the media narrative coalesced. And you can forget all that “liberal media bias” horseshit. The media doesn’t love a liberal half as much as they love a dogfight race.

Expecting the Veep Debate to change the stakes and dramatically shift the needle in the polls is wishful thinking, at best and outright liberal delusion, at worst. But what Biden may have accomplished tonight is to staunch the bleeding, and — more importantly — change the narrative. The next few days will be highly instructive but thus far, anything is possible as the debates have broken most of the historical precedents for affecting a race.

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