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All you need to know about Paul Ryan’s skill as a debater

[ 135 ] October 11, 2012 |

When you debate competitively there are some issues you know not to address. There are others you know to better than to pursue. Then there are those that must be avoided at all costs — that must not even be mentioned lest your loss become an object lesson in unwitting self-immolation. Whether Ryan’s handlers wanted to watch him burn or Ryan was simply too stupid to recognize the brutal inefficacy of his anecdote matters less than the fact that he said it with his “honest face” to Joe Biden’s actual one:

RYAN: Mitt Romney’s a car guy. They keep misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed.

The one thing you don’t address — the one you know better than to pursue — the one that must be avoided at all costs — the one that must not even be mentioned in a debate with Joe Biden is a tragic car accident. The attempt to elicit sympathy for Romney by anecdotal proxy is a poor enough of a play. The decision to do so via an anecdote about a tragic car accident in a debate with Joe Biden means you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power.

Comments (135)

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  1. DrDick says:

    The decision to do so via an anecdote about a tragic car accident in a debate with Joe Biden means you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power.

    Or, in this case, all of the above.

    • Aaron says:

      Mitt Romney felt bad for a family and agreed to pay for the kids’ college? That’s great. Wonderful, really. A nice demonstration of human kindness.

      But those kids now have what are commonly known as “pre-existing medical conditions.” How does Mitt propose that they will be able to get the medical insurance they need to cover a lifetime of medical care, the cost of which will far outstrip the cost of college?

      • Warren Terra says:

        As Charles Pierce would say, they’re in luck: they’re in Massachusetts. Sucks to be in the rest of the country, if Obamacare gets repealed.

      • Heron says:

        The anecdote also does a nice job of revealing what the Republican party plan for America really is; everyone who is not rich depending on chance and whim to deliver them the patronage of a passing aristocrat for not just their livelihood, but their very lives. Two very basic reason not to support the Republicans? Because Fairy Tales aren’t real, and because there can be no freedom without agency.

        • Halloween Jack says:

          This. The stench of noblesse oblige surrounding that anecdote is as thick and gagging as a Guinness fart in a phone booth.

          • Leeds man says:

            I think caprice de la noblesse would be more accurate. For Romney, the oblige only applies to his fellow noblesse.

            • Rhino says:

              Yeah. I would have less problem with noblesse oblige, or for that matter religious charity, being the agency of the social safety net… If the nobles actually were obliged or the religions actually charitable.

              What it really is, is: let’s make it voluntary (so we can shirk).

        • Cody says:

          Yes, I’m a bit confused by this whole line. If he wants to give money to struggling families, why doesn’t he make it a government program like… welfare?

          Instead the only option to having your needs taken care of is a rich person liking you?

          • DrDick says:

            Because then he does not get to choose who is worthy and who is a shiftless lout.

          • Malaclypse says:

            Look, if a government program helped this family, then how would Mittens know he was their better? And just as important, how would everybody else know how much better Mittens was? Why, that family might have some quiet dignity, instead of being beholden forever. And do you know what allowing The Poors some dignity leads to? Socialism!

        • Steve D says:

          can u explain what u meant by this: very basic reason not to support the Republicans? … because there can be no freedom without agency.

  2. somethingblue says:

    … you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power.

    Wait–why must we choose?

  3. I’m going with sociopath. It could well have been a deliberate choice to try to derail Biden.

    • Law Spider says:

      I vote this. Biden’s weak spot is that (unlike Obama) he can let his emotions get the best of him. I suspect that Ryan was trying to tap into that, by getting Biden angry for bringing up the topic and/or just so upset that Biden went off message. Because otherwise it was an anecdote without a much of a message, other than that Romney can pay for one family’s college educations out of his pocket change.

    • Lan says:

      Let’s see, lack of empathy, lifeless eyes, shallow emotions, claims to be an expert but lacks depth of knowledge, inability to talk about subjects in depth, lack of guilt or shame, insincerity, completely unbound by past statements. I’m no expert but that’s straight out of Mask of Sanity.

    • Aaron says:

      I think it was an effort to humanize Romney, who you will note almost never talks about himself – bragging seems to always be done by proxy. I sense a two-fold reason for this, first that Romney does not seem to be at all comfortable talking about himself, and second that when you bring up this type of thing yourself it sounds like you’re bragging.

      I think the car accident thing was incidental – that the key thought was to bring up a story that people hadn’t heard before and that would withstand scrutiny by fact checkers, and that this was the best example they could find.

      Still, there’s an awkwardness in this type of bragging by proxy, in that rather than demonstrating a pattern of consistent generosity, it turns the spotlight on acts that occur every decade or so and asks us to assume that Romney engaged in similar acts in between. The Romney campaign appears to believe it will work (relying on the spotlight fallacy?) but I’m not sure how many people will be won over.

      • Hanspeter says:

        Let’s be charitable that this was their reason: humanize Romney by proxy.

        But is his having helped a family struck by a devastating car accident the way you want to do it when in the same room as Biden?

        • The Stolen Dormouse says:

          If I heard the story correctly, the family was one Romney Knew from [his Mormon] church. And the one thing I’ve heard about Mormons is how they take care of their own.

          So the help wasn’t really random after all.

          • Bob Juneau says:

            If they weren’t Mormon they’d be outta luck! Plus Romney was a bishop at the time. Good Samaritan, he is not. Pharisee, definitely. Plus charitable deduction.

      • He outsources his bragging. He has people for that. I sense a pattern.

        It would be a tad more convincing if they weren’t stories that Mitt Romney must have shared about himself.

        Actually, since the debate, he’s been talking about his generosity and common touch quite a bit. It’s a new slogan: Mitt Romney, Random Acts of Kindness Instead of Social Welfare Programs!

    • Greg says:

      Agreed. Really sleazy by Ryan. It *must* have been deliberate, which makes Biden’s restrained response all the more impressive.

    • I’m going with sociopath. It could well have been a deliberate choice to try to derail Biden.

      But you would have to be an idiot to think that would work.

  4. dp says:

    Wow. Now I’m sorry I skipped it.

  5. calling all toasters says:

    Yeah, Ryan looked out of his depth, screwed up a lot, and defended indefensible positions… and he still performed much better than Obama did a week ago.

  6. Sophia says:

    Just to clarify, “Mitt Romney’s a car guy” anecdote was offered in response to Romney’s “let Detroit auto makers burn” past, right? Did I imagine that?

    • Cody says:

      Yes. We all know Mitt Romney’s a car guy, that’s why he wanted to let the car manufacturers all go bankrupt. Cheaper cars once he buys them…

    • CNN had a “fact checking” segment after the debate with the words “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” in quotes – referring to an attack Biden made on Romney – and the word “False.” Biden’s claim that Romney wanted to “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” was rated false.

      Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

  7. WOW.

    Really?

    I was out at a client dinner, having a fair number of drinks and some camaraderie and networking, but ….

    Really?

    I have little regard for Ryan, but that is quite astonishingly, flagrantly, and neon-size-kick-me-sign stupid.

  8. [...] The one thing you don’t address…. …the one you know better than to pursue — the one that must be avoided at all costs — the one that must not even be mentioned in a debate with Joe Biden is a tragic car accident. The attempt to elicit sympathy for Romney by anecdotal proxy is a poor enough of a play. The decision to do so via an anecdote about a tragic car accident in a debate with Joe Biden means you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power. Comments (0) (popup) | permalink [...]

  9. angelfoot says:

    RYAN: Mitt Romney’s a car guy. They keep misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed.

    Worst.Segue.Ever. I am weeping from frustration and disgust trying to figure out how he got from point A to point B.

    • Aaron says:

      Misquoting…. Biden recited the headline to Romney’s “Let Detroit go Bankrupt” editorial, and Ryan complained about Romney’s being misquoted.

      • mark f says:

        Still a poor segue. “Mitt loves cars! Which by the way are HORRIBLE MAIMING MACHINES that only Mitt Romney can save us from.”

    • Sharoney says:

      It was rehearsed, and Ryan was looking all night for a reason to shoehorn it into a response. And I agree that it was an effort to get Joe off his game.

      Note also at 00:26:30 during the same remark, Ryan made a condescending little dig to Biden about “I think the Vice President knows, words don’t always come out of your mouth the right way.”

      That was a blatant and gratuitous reference to Biden’s early stammering problem, one he overcame years ago by dint of persistence and hard work.

      Ryan was a dick to bring it up. It served no purpose except to try to rattle Biden. And it didn’t work. It just made Ryan look like the sociopathic Rovian pigfucker he is.

  10. Avoidswork says:

    Don’t leave out the best part — Biden’s response. No denigration of Romney nor Ryan, but pointing out that in those tough times, you need to know from fellow survivors that you can/will get through this.

    PWND by an elegant response.

    • Vance Maverick says:

      Biden actually managed to make the point (twice if I recall) that individual charity is not enough. Basic, and yet remarkable in these times of liberal defensiveness.

  11. Warren Terra says:

    I really wonder about that story. Given what a monumental asshole Romney is when it comes to the impacts of his policy preferences (though with the caveat that this story may have happened back when he was Massachusetts Moderate Mitt, Bringer Of Health Care, a few dozen reinventions ago), was it calculated, or in some way sincere? When he did this deeply creepy thing of inserting himself into a total stranger’s tragedy and offering what is to them a small fortune, was he seized with a charitable impulse, or did he think it would be an awfully good story to have floating around afterwards?

    I was taught that the highest form of charity is that charity which enables the recipient to be self sufficient, in the form of an opportunity that obviates the need for a sense of obligation or of pity. The second-highest form of charity – and they aren’t exclusive – is that the recipient not know who the giver is, and the give doesn’t know who the recipient is. Also, the giver ideally doesn’t flaunt their generosity; it isn’t only the recipient who’s meant to be unaware of the source of the largess. I realize that Romney doesn’t come from the same cultural tradition as I do, but I can’t help but note that this terribly convenient story goes against every last one of those ideas.

    • calling all toasters says:

      Well, plus, he was their freaking Bishop.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe I heard this wrong, but I could have sworn Ryan said the family was from their church, although Romney didn’t know them personally. If true, I think it fits with everything we know about Romney – definitely willing to help out those who are like him (everyone else is on their own).

      • Warren Terra says:

        Per a transcript:

        The Romneys didn’t know them. They went to the same church. They never met before.

        • Anonymous says:

          Good, I didn’t hallucinate that. So yeah, it doesn’t surprise me at all. Mormons are very generous towards their own. And I know there have been other stories floating around about how much Mitt has helped out other Mormons in varying capacities. But I don’t think it says anything beyond that. He doesn’t give a shit about anyone who is not like him.

        • rea says:

          The Romneys didn’t know them. They went to the same church. They never met before.

          I don’t pretend to be an expert on the internal workings of the Mormon Church, but how the heck does the bishop (not like a Catholic bishop; more the equivalent of a parish priest) not know and nbever meet members of his congregation?

          • Cody says:

            He probably outsourced the personal interactions.

          • Malaclypse says:

            I don’t pretend to be an expert on the internal workings of the Mormon Church, but how the heck does the bishop (not like a Catholic bishop; more the equivalent of a parish priest) not know and nbever meet members of his congregation?

            If this happened when he was a Stake President, which is the equivalent of a Catholic Bishop, then I understand how. If it was when he was a Bishop, and they were in the same Ward, it really should not be possible, unless they were not active members.

            The LDS church likes big numbers, so you never get purged unless you get excommunicated or specifically request it. I suspect I’m still a member of a Ward in PA, simply because I reached my 8th birthday while my dad was an active member, and I don’t care enough to make the effort to get myself de-listed.

            But this doesn’t sound like that. This sounds like they were active members. And it should not be possible for a Bishop not to know everybody in his Ward on at least a casual basis. Wards are small enough that everybody knows everybody else at least to say hello and make small talk.

            • mark f says:

              I defer to your expertise on LDS, but given the small number of Mormons in Mass. and that this family lived in Northboro (vs. Belmont for Romney), it does seem reasonable to me that they wouldn’t know each other. Plus, no one likes Mitt Romney. Maybe prior to his largesse they avoided him.

              • mark f says:

                given the small number of Mormons in Mass

                To clarify, meaning that they’re probably widely dispersed, as opposed to me having attended Catholic Mass with mostly people who lived within walking distance.

      • Avoidswork says:

        Yes, I also inferred other Mormons. Who are lovely on the whole in my experience and are definitely generous to their fellow Mormons.

        While I still give Ryan high marks for cravenness, the storytelling should have dropped the from same church detail. Just adds to instances of such generosity being limited to other Mormons.

    • Heron says:

      To a Patron, the purposes of charity are self-promotion and putting a person in your debt. Not flaunting it, not letting them know they are less and you are more and not letting shouting your benefice to society defeats the purpose.

      • Heron says:

        grr.

        Not flaunting it, not letting them know they are less and you are more and not letting shouting your beneficence to society defeats the purpose.

        FTFM

    • actor212 says:

      Re: Maimonides

      The highest form of charity is not charity but to give the recipient a chance to get on his feet and pay back the obligation to you (interest free loan, usually, which is why Jews are prohibited from charging other Jews interest– but it can also involve starting a partnership with the recipient.)

  12. neil says:

    The look on Biden’s face when Ryan delivered this line was stunning. I am convinced it was some kind of head game.

  13. thebewilderness says:

    The zombie eyed granny starver is a sociopath. No question.

  14. creature says:

    Didn’t see it- caught some blogs & tweets- guess I missed a real example of ‘bringing a butter knife to a bazooka fight’. I only searched for reports after I got the ‘What’s Biden laughing at? Doesn’t he know how disrespectful he is?’ FB post from one of my demented wingnut acquaintances. Sounds like Joe was amused that someone put an imbecile of this caliber in a vice-presidential debate, on nation-wide teevee.

    • Come on, how much of a surprise could that be for Biden? His last debate opponent was SARAH PALIN.

      • NonyNony says:

        From what I saw, it looks like Palin managed a better debate performance than Ryan did…

        • Halloween Jack says:

          I think that, even as soon as the ’08 Veep debate, Palin was moving away from any serious thought of being elected and toward creating and maintaining Brand Palin, which has made her wealthier and more popular than actually being in office did or potentially could have. (Given the rifts that were growing between her and the rest of the McCain campaign well before the election, I doubt that McCain would have given her much to do in his administration if he’d won–certainly not as much as Obama has given Biden, who appears in pictures with the president (such as the one taken during the operation to kill bin Laden) with some regularity–and, absent the oft-cited nightmare of McCain keeling over in office (he seems to have done relatively well health-wise, although of course being a senator is much less stressful than being POTUS), I think that she probably wouldn’t have stayed in office as the VP much longer than she continued to be governor of
          Alaska post-election, which no doubt would have relieved much of the GOP as well.)

        • Snarki, child of Loki says:

          Clearly Ryan should have written notes on his hand.

          Having “TAX CUTS” tattooed on the inside of his eyelids is just not enough.

        • witless chum says:

          Palin basically didn’t debate, she really transparently just ignored the question, mouthed talking points and dropped folksyism like “you betcha.”

    • Cody says:

      I assumed he was laughing and smiling because Ryan was like a broken record from his campaign stops. Biden surely had a practiced list of responses to Ryan’s previous big talking points, and he smiled every time Ryan decided to talk about something he had a prepared response to.

      It was too easy. Biden was smiling a lot because Ryan was being very predictable. He had a good comeback for every single point Ryan tried to make.

      • doggril says:

        Yeah, when Biden smiled the minute Ryan brought up the “failed stimulus” nonsense, it was clear he was looking forward to delivering yet another spanking to his adversary.

  15. melior says:

    I was thinking, “Wait, Nixon who? Good cloth coat huh?” Strange that he’d inject that particular family name as an out-of-nowhere anecdote. Sure, my age is showing, but I wonder if Joe’s puzzled reaction was similar.

    • melior says:

      Here’s that obscure reference for you post-Boomers:
      https://duckduckgo.com/?q=nixon+cloth+coat

    • Cody says:

      I enjoyed Biden’s remark “So now you’re Jack Kennedy?”

      His contempt for their obvious obfuscating of stated goals showed through. You ran “severely conservative” until you got into a national debate, and now you want to be JACK KENNEDY? How many Republicans who actually cared about their candidate’s policy would vote for someone who wants to be like Jack Kennedy?

      • mark f says:

        Jonah Goldberg:

        Wow, Biden doubling down on how he never says anything he doesn’t mean. So he meant to ask the guy in a wheel chair to stand up?

        That’s about the best they’ve got.

      • UserGoogol says:

        There’s a certain narrative floating around in some circles that by cutting taxes, JFK became an honorary conservative. And really, among the general public, JFK has fairly bipartisan support because of the whole assassination thing, so it’s not like Republicans in general have a particularly strong dislike of JFK. (They really don’t like the rest of his family, but ole Jack is cool.)

        But still… comparing yourself to JFK in a vice presidential debate? Come on, that shit never works.

    • Halloween Jack says:

      I don’t associate the family name exclusively with Tricky Dick, as Jay Nixon is currently the governor of Missouri and served for sixteen years as attorney general of that state before that, as well as a couple of unsuccessful senate runs.

      It’s sobering to read the Wikipedia article on the Checkers speech, which eclipses Mitt’s performance in the first debate as an example of a candidate single-handedly changing public opinion about him literally overnight. Nixon got over four million cards, letters, telegrams and phone calls sent to the RNC running 75-1 in favor of his retention, but for all of that, Nixon almost quit the ticket due to Eisenhower’s initially tepid support. People who still think that Nixon didn’t know how to use television on the basis of the first debate with JFK (which he did shortly after a two-week hospital stay for a bad infection) should note that one of the camera operators for the Checkers speech telecast was weeping afterward.

  16. oppa says:

    Team Romney definitely had that one queued up. The tenuous lead-in is GM -> cars -> car crashes -> tragedy -> Mitt helped. Message: GM bailout -> change subject to car crash -> Mitt is generous.

    That they did that speaking with Biden = sociopaths (all of them: writers, staff, and candidates).

  17. mch says:

    With a couple of others above: Ryan planned to include this anecdote, at some moment, and he seized this moment. (As angelfoot notes, non-sequitur, except insofar as the word “car” creates a thread — so, I conclude, anecdote planned, moment seized. Not to mention: car accident with children hurt. Other Romney-as-helper stories are available, surely. Why this one?)

    Why, exactly, telling this anecdote was planned is another question. To goad Biden in some way, as someone above suggests? But that would be for Ryan and his handlers to misread the way Joe has told this story before, and I doubt Ryan’s people are that dense. Joe always tells the story like a man who has a well of sadness but who harbors no anger or bitterness — a well that makes him profoundly sympathetic to others’ suffering. And when he tells the story it never sounds like he’s on automatic or just exploiting it. It works for him.

    Best explanation I can come up with: Ryan and his handlers figured Joe would find some opportunity to tell or allude to this story, which always goes over well. So: neutralize the story’s effect, or possibly even help Romney ride piggyback on it, by offering a Romney version of this story.

    Agree that Romney’s paying for college could (should) boomerang — would that we all could happen upon private sugar-daddies when tragedy strikes!

    One last note: Romney is not a “car guy.” There are just two “car guys,” and Romney isn’t one of them. In fact, by cutting out PBS, even their re-runs won’t survive.

    • Pestilence says:

      and I doubt Ryan’s people are that dense.

      I admire your optimism, or generosity of spirit, depending.

      • Snarki, child of Loki says:

        Somebody better call the Nobel committee, because neutronium wasn’t supposed to be something you could find on Earth.

    • actor212 says:

      I think Ryan was genuinely surprised at how personal Biden made the tragedy in his family.

      I mean, how many times has Biden told this story? If there was even the slightest bit of artifice in it, he would not be able to summon up the emotional impact he evidenced last night: his voice dropped, you could almost see him swallow back a lump in his throat.

      Ryan hornswoggled himself there.

      • Cody says:

        Serious. If we were in a bar and Biden was telling me about how some of his family died in a car crash and Ryan came back with this story… I would punch the dude.

        It’s a common one-up move, except in a very emotional situation where Ryan’s one-up was an awful attempt.

        I hope everyone realizes just how much of an ass Ryan was being there. Surely that didn’t escape most voters? “I lost my wife… oh but Romney gave .1% of his wealth to someone he didn’t know in his church on a campaign trial…”

  18. well, let us all at least count ourselves lucky that ZEGS wasn’t winking at us.

  19. Patrick says:

    The “car guy” anecdote is just as dumb as lying about a marathon time…absolutely no reason to do it except as a lame attempt to aggrandize oneself or one’s running mate – but this is just flat out ridiculous, to put it mildly

  20. Anonymous says:

    Trying to get in somebody’s head’s something plenty of Republicans like to do. Remembeer how McCain lost in 2000, by getting him angry. and Kerry was successfully distracted from campaigning by Swift Boat, one Shrub political adviser admitted.

    And Rove learned that fun bit from the Nixon Administration’s knee as an aide.

    But, then, isn’t it of a pattern with, esoecially since Reagan the Demagogue of trying to bankrupt us and keep at war as much as possible, and steal needed college tuition support from students, whom are now indebted?

  21. Matt says:

    Wait – what’s the end of the story? Not getting off the boat to find out, so I’ll assume that Ryan called the kids “moochers” and/or “parasites” and then Mittens offered to give them a ride strapped to the roof of his car…

    • Heron says:

      No you see, in the Aristo-Randian world of rich objectivists like Ryan, the “moochers” and “parasites” are those lowly folks who work and struggle their whole lives to care for themselves, relying on public programs we all pay for, like public school and medicaid, and never feeling that they owe any specific person anything for doing that. People like this family are proper Serfs who know their place; they take the whimsical charity of the wealthy man and give deference in return, the way nature intended.

      • NBarnes says:

        “You let one of them go, but that’s nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim’s spared. Because she smiled, because he’s got freckles, because they begged. And that’s how you live with yourself. That’s how you slaughter millions. Because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind’s in the right direction…you happen to be kind.”

        And let’s be clear; millions of people will suffer if Romney is elected. Ryan asserts that the occasional act of kindness means that Romney’s not a bad person, for all that.

  22. Suffern ACE says:

    Obama bailed out Detroit so that when cars crash, Romney can help the victims?

  23. c u n d gulag says:

    It was like Hawkeye v. Frank in M.A.S.H.

    Biden killed Ryan so bady in the debates, that I suspect Mitt is gathering Mormons to start baptizing his running mate.

  24. elk says:

    Romney’s a big car guy, yeah. Ryan could have reinforced this point by mentioning his wife’s couple of Cadillacs.

  25. actor212 says:

    When I heard that, I was hoping it would turn out the car crash Romney assisted in was caused by a brain tumor.

    You know, for the perfecta?

    Anyway, the story told me less about Romney because THE OTHER GUY WAS A MORMON!

    Now, if it had been a Jew, or better, an atheist, or better still, a Muslim, that story would have made sense to tell. Mormons are honor bound to assist other Mormons because it’s required by their church

    • Julia Grey says:

      Right, because the biggest part of the impact of the story Jesus told about the Good Samaritan was the fact that the fellow he was extolling was a SAMARITAN, a hated member of an outcast sect.

      Remember how the good Jewish priest was one of those who “passed by on the other side”? The story must have initially made the disciples recoil, given that a “bad guy” was being cast as the hero. But that’s what made it a…Teaching Moment, as they say.

      Charity’s a lot more “impressive” (if you’re telling about it to impress people, which seems to have been a large part of Ryan’s intent) if it’s given it to people who are NOT members of your own tribe.

  26. Anonymous says:

    All you need to know about Biden’s skill as a debater is his obnoxious smirking and arrogant attitude. The Al Gore sigh of 2012.

    • Boudleaux says:

      So, his obnoxious and smirking attitude, like Al Gore’s sigh, is a canard invented by the liberal media to pretend that a Democrat did not completely destroy a Republican in a debate? You make a good point there.

    • Cody says:

      So I assume Romney’s performance was the #1 Al Gore sigh of 2012, because he came across even more arrogant and smiled a lot more than Joe Biden.

      I’ll spread the news – Mitt Romney is the new Al Gore debate victim!

    • Julia Grey says:

      All you need to know about Biden’s skill as a debater is his obnoxious smirking and arrogant attitude.

      Biden didn’t smirk. He grinned. He smiled, hugely. He LAUGHED. Because, y’know, Little Paulie’s lies and flailings were hilarious.

      Romney, on the other hand, smirked like a muthafucka. That wet-lipped smirk is an expression he can’t seem to wipe off his face, no matter how grave the subject. He smirks when he talks about death and dismemberment. He smirks when he talks about consulate attacks. I don’t know why. He’s kinda like George W. Bush in that way, they both just have that underlying little smile on their faces ALL THE TIME. It’s creepy.

      Arrogance? Sure. Both men behaved in an arrogant manner (although Joe’s was more the knowledge-based dismissiveness of the older man for the callow youth and Mitt’s the can’t-stop-me arrogance of the slick salesman).

      But Americans LIKE arrogance in their leaders, doncha know? They like tough, combative fighters, even when they tell shocking lies. At least that’s what they told us after the first debate. Manners don’t count, feistiness does, right?

      So If the public liked Mitt so much when he stuck up his nose and ran roughshod over both Obama and the truth, why wouldn’t the public ADORE Joe when he stuck up his nose at Ryan while running him through (multiple times) with the sword of truth? Hmm?

      Arrogance? Pffft.

      Goose, gander….

      • Sherm says:

        I thought that Ryan came across as a smug little shit and a complete empty suit. But having promoted Ryan as the great young intellectual of the republican party for so many years, the MSM cannot now report that the emperor as no clothes because they will only expose themselves in the process.

        And I didn’t think he came across like George Bush. I kind of pictured him as Kevin Bacon’s character in Animal House having to fill in for Greg Marmalud at the hearing to revoke the Delta House’s charter.

  27. tomstickler says:

    An even more compelling reason for Ryan not to mention Mitt Romney and car crash in the same sentence is the reality that Mitt was driving a Citroen during his LDS mission in France in May 1968 that crashed, killing one of his passengers.

  28. [...] Don’t use a tragic car accident as an example, in a debate with an opponent who lost his wife and daughter in a tragic car accident. People will think that either you don’t know enough not to mention it, or that you don’t care. Neither is good. [...]

  29. [...] Don’t use a tragic car accident as an example, in a debate with an opponent who lost his wife and daughter in a tragic car accident. People will think that either you don’t know enough not to mention it, or that you don’t care. Neither is good. [...]

  30. [...] 16, 2012 By Fred Clark Leave a CommentAt Lawyers Guns & Money, SEK highlights one of the more atrocious moments from the vice presidential debate:The one thing you don’t address — the one you know better than to pursue — the one that must [...]

  31. [...] Don’t use a tragic car accident as an example, in a debate with an opponent who lost his wife and daughter in a tragic car accident. People will think that either you don’t know enough not to mention it, or that you don’t care. Neither is good. [...]

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