By Alice Dubenetsky
“If a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs and there is no peace.” Proverbs 29:9. Well, that certainly sums up the bizarre and disagreeable performance by Vice President Joe Biden throughout the Vice Presidential Debate on Thursday evening.
Biden’s disrespect of the process, of his opponent and, in the end, of the American people was so glaring one has to wonder if that was indeed his debate strategy. If so, it was fairly effective, because viewers were certainly distracted by his outrageous performance.
Biden began the debate by repeating the falsehoods the White House has promulgated about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, insisting that the administration did not know that the consulate had come under a coordinated terrorist attack, reiterating that the intelligence community gave them faulty information. This has been decisively disproven, but that didn’t stop Biden from regurgitating the administrations line once more, for all of America to hear. The big lie theory works to some extent, especially with the Obama administration, as they’ve clearly demonstrated in their campaign, but at some point, a wise person will give it up, admit the truth and move on, as uncomfortable as that may be.
When Moderator Martha Raddatz asked both candidates to consider the threat to national security posed by Iran, Ryan gave a measured response, pointing out the increasing brazenness of the Iranians, and the failure of the Obama administration to halt their quest for a nuclear weapon. Biden, in as rude a display as could be expected in a high school cafeteria, laughed repeatedly and scornfully. He later launched into a science lecture on fissile material and how they will “know” when Iran “starts” the process of building a nuclear weapon. Did he mean assembling a deployable weapon? Because it’s clear to everyone but Biden, and presumably the administration he represents, that Iran is already well on the way to nuclear weapon capability. Israel is certainly concerned.
When the debate turned to Medicare, things got decidedly more heated. After Biden concluded his two minutes, he couldn’t manage the courtesy of allowing Ryan the same time to make his case, interrupting repeatedly with puerile retorts, head shaking and, yes, more laughter.
The “senior statesman” could not have put on a more embarrassing display of childlike impatience it he’d spent his debate prep time with a drama coach to such effect. It’s clear that Biden, like his boss, does not care to be challenged with facts and, in stark contrast to Ryan’s considered arguments, resorted to bombastic rhetoric and scorn instead of the sort of carefully constructed answers that might have clarified his position to the American people.
Did Biden manage to undo the damage caused by Obama’s embarrassing display during the first presidential debate? Surely, he landed some punches, and attempted to drive home some points, however blunderingly they were delivered. Did he look like a statesman? A man who Americans could trust to take over the Oval Office? No. He did not, and his performance should concern Americans for that reason alone. His legendary and often comical gaffes throughout his Vice Presidency and indeed his entire career, aside, he proved once and for all that he simply does not possess the temperament and seriousness to conduct himself as a statesman. He had the opportunity to disprove this on Thursday night, and he failed spectacularly.