Were these people watching the same debate I was?

Were these people watching the same debate I was? October 13, 2012

Movie poster for Chariots of Fire remade as "Chariots of Liar" with Ryan's face.I thought the debate last night was a bloodbath in favor of Joe Biden.  He was erudite and spoke in facts and figures while Paul Ryan spoke in vague language, empty of citations and figures, throughout most of the debate and lied through his teeth the rest of the time.  The Romney campaign continues to not be defined by fact-checkers.

Not only did Biden stomp Ryan in terms of credibility, but I thought he was also more confident.  Ryan came out smug, but I thought he looked like a beaten puppy by the end of the debate.  Even after the debate all the Republican talking heads were going after the moderator, which should tell onlookers that they even believed Ryan got beat and needed some excuse.

But the post-debate poll on CNN showed that Paul Ryan won the debate 48%-44%.  This seemed unfathomable to me.  The comments show a lot of disagreement, which is encouraging.  The commenters supporting Paul Ryan will make you cringe that their votes count as much as yours (or possibly more).  Other polls said Biden won 50%-31%, which seems a lot more realistic.  Yet, some say that 56% thought Ryan won.

I appreciate the title of the Atlantic’s article: The VP Debate Cinches It: Paul Ryan Is Unqualified to Step in as POTUS.

Ryan failed to call the Obama Administration on any of the most egregious flaws in its foreign policy, because Republicans agree with most of them. Instead, he talked a lot of nonsense. During the broadcast, it passed by too quickly to attract much notice. His delivery is much smoother than Sarah Palin managed four years back. But he doesn’t know any more than she did.

Just check out the transcript — it’s much less forgiving than watching Ryan on video*. The performance is especially damning in a candidate with so little proof of competence, who faces added pressure to demonstrate basic knowledge that might be assumed in a more seasoned leader.

The juxtaposition didn’t help either.

So true.  Paul Ryan didn’t look like somebody who was acquainted with the facts about what’s going on with our government (which is unfortunate since he is a Congressman) and was thus driven to run for higher office.  Instead, he looked like someone who decided to run for higher office and only then looked for things to be pissed about, and wound up having to lie in order to manage it.

Which made this exchange so facepalm-worthy that I downed an entire beer when I heard it.

RADDATZ: Let me — let me calm down things here just for a minute. And I want to talk to you very briefly before we go to closing statements about your own personal character. If you are elected, what could you both give to this country as a man, as a human being, that no one else could?

RYAN: Honesty, no one else could? There are plenty of fine people who could lead this country. But what you need are people who, when they say they’re going to do something, they go do it. What you need are, when people see problems, they offer solutions to fix those problems. We’re not getting that.

Honesty?  Honesty???

What’s your marathon time, Paul?  What tax exemptions are you going to slash to make up for your proposed tax breaks?  That could be a good thing to know one month before the election.  What about your chastising of the Obama administration over legislation for which you voted?  What about your speech at the RNC that was saturated with dishonesty, so much so that even Fox News had to admit it?  This from a campaign that is “not going to let [their] campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.”

For Paul Ryan to get up there and say that their campaign can bring honesty as no other human being can is so absurd it should be illegal.  It reeks of both incompetence and untruth.

I’m not exempting Biden, but I am saying that Paul Ryan was much, much worse; which means that if you care about having a politician who tells the truth at least part of the time, the debate was a landslide in favor of Biden (it’s depressing to note that telling the truth most of the time is enough to earn a landslide victory in the chase for the most powerful office on earth).  According to factcheck.org, Biden had three untruths, one of which can be chalked up to flubbing the numbers.

Biden exaggerated when he said House Republicans cut funding for embassy security by $300 million. The amount approved for fiscal year 2012 was $264 million less than requested, and covers construction and maintenance, not just security.

I say that because there’s no reason to make this lie.  Whether the Republicans wanted to cut $264 million or $300 million, they can’t rag on the Obama administration for the reduced embassy security that they wanted.  Debates require memorizing a lot of facts, and there are times when you have to distinguish between a mistake and a lie.  Biden’s other two were most-likely lies, but that doesn’t even get him close to the pinnacle of bullshit mountain where Paul Ryan lives.

The sad thing is that it’s gotten to the point where we can’t use the debates to decide whose policy is more reasonable because we’re so busy fact-checking to see if the premises for their policies are built upon anything resembling the truth.  The even sadder thing is that many Americans are more easily swayed by a debater’s persona than what they’ve said when the cameras weren’t rolling, or the obvious lies they’ve told which, by their nature, assume that American citizens aren’t bright enough to catch them.

As the polls show, they’re unfortunately right much of the time.

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