One final thought about the debate

Good manners is no way to deal with a liar.

Of course the Republicans are complaining about Biden’s laughing and interrupting Ryan. That’s the only way to manage in the face of an opponent untethered from the truth. Obama tried being polite. But politeness acknowledges the legitimacy of what your opponent is doing. Biden didn’t make that mistake. Let the Goopers whine. We won; they lost.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

14 thoughts on “One final thought about the debate”

  1. Many of Biden’s interruptions were due to the fact that Ryan was ignoring his time limit. Biden complained many times that he “hoped he would get the time to respond” after Ryan went way over his time. Ryan even had the gall to say the debate would go better if “we quit interrupting each other” and Biden responded by reminding Ryan that it was, in fact, his turn to speak and Ryan was going over-time again. At the end, Biden once again hopes he’ll have time to respond, and the moderator tells him yes, he has “seconds” before closing statements. If the R’s are making a big noise about interruptions, I’m guessing part of the debate strategy was to force interruptions by ignoring time limits in order to make Biden look bad.

    I can’t claim complete impartiality, but since I’m not voting for either one of these guys, I think I can claim some. Between the tone of the questions and the poor refereeing of time limits, the atmosphere seemed friendly to Ryan and hostile to Biden. I’d say Biden easily won the debate despite these things. Several times he pinned Ryan down on things Ryan had no response to. That’s not something Ryan was able to do to Biden, even though he was given a lot more time to do so.

    1. Between the tone of the questions and the poor refereeing of time limits, the atmosphere seemed friendly to Ryan and hostile to Biden. I’d say Biden easily won the debate despite these things.

      I noticed this as well, and I liked how Biden was pointed but not shrill in pointing out the time gaps. Very strong performance, and a good tactic to point out the baldfaced lies and mendacity.

    2. Total speaking time during the 90-minute debate (by CNN’s count): Joe Biden: 41 minutes, 32 seconds; Paul Ryan: 40 minutes, 12 seconds.

      1. do you have a link to speaking times? I’ve been googling ‘speaking time’ along with Biden, Ryan and debates and coming up with nothing.

      2. SD: I am surprised to discover this. Apparently my perception was pretty far off on this one, and it looks like I’m not the only one. Thanks for the correction.

        John G: I found one here.

    3. Yeah, I notice Radditz never made any attempt to close down Ryan’s soliloquies. Somehow he kept talking without taking a breath. Went beyond time limit many times.. Biden should have brouoght a large stop watch with him and when time was up say; “Okay, Martha is this the Paul Ryan hour or do I get a chance to say anything?”

  2. Let the Goopers whine.

    Or perhaps better: Let them screech about the poor treatment of “Screech”.

    Yeah, I pinched that sobriquet from a Balloon Juice thread last night.
    I need to get around more often. It’s a brilliant fit, no?
    Funny how one word can sometimes capture a total essence…
    Words are truly amazing weapons.

    1. I find it hilarious everyone calling Ryan “Schreech” as if it is insulting him. After all; when you have work to do that is over your head who do you call for help? Morris, Slater, or Schreech?

  3. BTW – you are correct that the CBS poll indicated that Biden “won” the debate 50–31 (i.e. 50% of respondents said he “won” whereas 31% said Ryan “won”).

    But the Associated Press had Ryan winning 51–43, the CNN poll had Ryan winning 48–44, and the CNBC poll had Ryan winning 56–36.

    Not exactly a clear-cut victory for Biden.

    1. It should be noted here that according to the crosstabs of last night’s CNN poll in question, the sample of debate-watchers were 30% Democratic and 33% Republican, which indicates that the sample is weighted about eight points more Republican than an average poll of all Americans. Therefore, because CNN’s respondents last night tended to be much more Republican than the average member of the general public, it should come as no surprise to us when the poll results skewed acordingly.

  4. I’d say that, unlike the first debate, it was something close to a draw. Only the highly delusional thought Obama won the first debate, while the partisans of each side thought their guy won this debate, which makes it a tie in my book.

    Says something that the gaffe prone Biden did a better job debating than Obama; He may be an idiot, but unlike the Prez, he’s an idiot with a lot of relevant experience. Something the President’s truncated rise to the nation’s highest office denied him.

    1. I think that says more about the GOPs ability to manage their media members and surrogates. Ryan could have wet himself on stage and republicans would have applauded his stoicism. Unlike liberals republicans will never concede that the other person won the debate.

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