Democrats and partisan liberals are cautiously optimistic about how the public will view Vice President Biden’s aggressive, often condescending debate performance last night, because as Peggy Noonan puts it, ”they keep confusing aggression with strength and command with sarcasm.”
If you want historical proof of this, look no further than The Rachel Maddow Show. Is there a commentator on television who more regularly mistakes irony for wit?
Biden may have rallied his troops, but the borderline disrespect directed at Paul Ryan may have also scared away some undecideds and those mythical independents. Still, among base Democrats, he managed to stop the bleeding caused by his boss’ weak debate performance last week. Faith has been restored. Andrew Sullivan is no longer sulking in the corner.
Ryan did a solid job last night. The Vice President got under his skin a couple of times, but the congressman remained calm, steady and focused, demonstrating a firm understanding of America’s domestic and foreign policy challenges while offering a clear alternative from the current course. Romney-Ryan is looking more presidential by the day.
Finally, kudos to Martha Raddatz for diving into the Libya scandal at the top of the debate. Questioning the Vice President on the administration’s ever-shifting story on the Benghazi attack was just good journalism. Unfortunately, Mr. Biden’s answer to the question completely contradicts what the state department is now saying, and his Cheshire Cat grin during these segments doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the Obama foreign policy.
These are serious times we’re living in. And the choices have never been quite this different, or clear.