A Republican poll popped up mere moments after the post, inciting Romney’s supporters to make fun of the “hyena” of Barack Obama’s administration. The likes were in the 10,000s by midnight.
It made me angry. Not because I am personally planning to toss my ballot in for Obama, but because the principles of election politics have basically devolved into whether or not you think a man’s laugh is inappropriate. A lot of people, conservatives and liberals both, refuse to admit that Biden won the debate that night. Why?
Because Biden was a hyena that night. Because he was concealing something behind that laugh. Because he was rude. Ten thousand ridiculous reasons, each one unrelated to the fact that the man actually had plenty to laugh about. His debate opponent came off as relatively inexperienced, not entirely informed, and contrary because he was literally all of these things.
Biden was Santa Claus for an hour or so, but only because he was playing the role of the confident skeptic. Perhaps he was acting condescending and arrogant. Who really cares? A candidate’s competence should never be measured by how silly or rude they appear. Was Biden justified in his approach? Yes. Did Biden provide answers? Yes. Did Ryan defend himself on all points capably? No. Them’s the breaks. The win goes to Biden.
Some are tempted to argue that the moderator was a little biased. It does pay to be a skeptic, but the fact that the moderator is biased or not shouldn’t matter, particularly because moderator Martha Raddatz actually did her job that night. Biden himself voiced the difference between personal opinion and professional action when he stated that women have a right to consult with their doctors about their body, and that is true whether he believed it or not.
Biden wasn’t perfect that night. Nor did his win really recover any of the losses the Obama administration suffered following the presidential debate. He was definitely quotable that night, but that doesn’t mean he said the greatest answers for the questions posed. On some issues, particularly on some sticky parts of the abortion section of the debate, he was really close to spouting “malarkey.” But he is still the candidate who won the debate. That is a fact.