Friday, October 12, 2012
The VP Debate: Next time give Martha Raddatz a tranquilizer gun
I was dreading the crowds and the traffic I would encounter when I got there. But when I drove over the railroad tracks and crossed over Maple Avenue and drove through the campus, I didn't see much of any activity. There were plenty of parking spaces on Main Street and I parked in one of the many parking spots around Constitution Square.
Centre College is an absolutely beautiful campus, but whoever was in charge of the debate had completely cordoned off the College green with a chain link fence, and apparently all the visitors were inside this area. It's too bad. The 2000 VP debate there really involved the whole town, but the ridiculous security precautions forced everything into one little area, and kind of left the town out.
I just ended up watching the debate at home.
I think Charles Krauthammer had it exactly right in saying that, if you were reading it on the transcript, it was a tie; if you were listening to it on the radio, Biden won; and if you were watching on TV Ryan won.
I'm sure Biden's orders were to put on something more than the moribund performance of Obama, and he did. All Ryan had to do, on the other hand, was to force a stalemate by looking unscary, well-qualified, and vice presidential--which just means presidential, really. He succeeded too.
I think the only thing that differentiated the two was Biden's manner, which was condescending and, quite frankly, a little goofy. He's mastered the forced smile over the years, but it was just a little too aggressive, I think in the interruptions and guffaws. I don't know how many people that will bother, probably not many. It's always bothered me.
The split screen view is a new thing this year, and quite frankly I don't like it. I try to find a channel that doesn't have it so I can focus on the guy who's talking. But I don't think it favors Biden. Ryan seemed polite; Biden seemed, despite his age immature. It was a contrast that favored Ryan.
But the bottom line practically speaking is that if the challenger draws, he wins. And that's what happened.