Billed as a debate on foreign and domestic issues, the Vice Presidential Debate in Danville, Kentucky was much anticipated. Especially after the Obama no-show.
As debates go, it was civil, to the point and allowed for plenty of clash on some fairly important issues.
When he wasn’t paternal, Vice President Biden featured a toothy smile to indicate his disapproval of whatever his younger opponent Paul Ryan would say.
It struck me a bit like Ward Cleaver debating the Beaver.
But as they started the debate on Libya, Syria, then Egypt and Iran, I kept thinking the debate was way to top heavy on international affairs. Considering that a vice president might attend a state funeral or two, does it matter that Vice President Joe Biden can talk about Israel and Iran and refer to Prime Minister Netanyahu as “BeBe”?
The debate was a third over when using a national security spin, the moderator finally transitioned to domestic issues like the economy and jobs, and how to get unemployment down to 6 percent. But aside from Biden’s toothy smiles to Ryan’s Romney talking points, nothing we haven’t heard uttered.
It did give Biden an opportunity to talk about the Romney’s “47 percent,” gaffe, which Biden used as the foundation to appeal to regular folk. It did give an opportunity to get the night’s only real laugh, when Ryan tried to apologize for Romney saying: “I think the VP knows sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”
OK, so now we’re set up for other domestic issues that we haven’t heard about yet?
No, there was a reprise on Medicare and Social Security, and taxes. All fine. I’m sure it’s asked because a debate is an opportunity to reiterate some issues and touch all the bases. But does it really matter if it’s the VP and Candidate Ryan? It still sounded like campaign boilerplate–with one exception. Ryan is much more of an idealogue than Romney. Standing alone for the campaign, he made it seem more right-wing than it usually does.
With a quarter-hour left, I was waiting for maybe some question on other domestic issues. I knew we wouldn’t hear anything on affirmative action or immigration. But what about education policy? Or maybe a connection between some spending initiatives to help the states.
But no. Since women are known to be the demographic of Election 2012, the abortion issue emerged. And this was a bit more revealing about the candidates and their positions. Biden’s was best because he was true to his religion but didn’t seek to “impose” it on others. A delicate stand but fair. Ryan sounded like your basic pro-lifer.
Just a few minutes left, doesn’t anyone want to talk about Education? Our children, our public schools? Our future?
How can you have a debate that says it will include domestic issues and not include one second to education?
Every issue they discussed the economy, jobs, or lack thereof. Middle class opportunity. Education has to be a part of any solution to build up America for the future. Doesn’t it?
But did we hear any answers from either camp that showed there was a real plan that prioritized education at any level, primary, secondary or higher ed?
Aside from that glaring ommission, I’d say it was a close debate.
Scoring a debate, you look at clash points. And the debaters did clash. Ryan was better than anyone would have thought, but I don’t think he made the case that the GOP would do better than what we have. That was his burden. Biden stood his ground. Unlike Obama in the first debate, he didn’t let anything get past him. Overall, I think he won this debate,