Last week, during the first presidential debate, social media exploded with puffed-up Republicans boasting how Governor Romney was taking President Obama to the proverbial woodshed. Previously downtrodden while the president’s poll numbers were soaring in swing states, the G.O.P. saw the debate as an icy blast in their political fortune’s furnace. Elated by Romney’s rise, Republicans taunted, and they boasted, and they belittled the opposition. And they had every right to: They won.
And if those same Romney supporters had watched CNN that night, their celebratory revelry would have reached a fever pitch watching the sad sacks of the left admitting that Obama’s performance had been an abysmal failure. It still remains the number one talking points on Fox News and will likely remain so until November of 2013.
Last night in the first and only vice presidential debate, Vice President Biden over-talked, bullied, made faces, and barreled his way though the evening. (Those are precisely the same attributes this writer used to describe Romney’s performance just last week.) For the exact reasons that Democrats were all too aware that they’d been trampled in the presidential debate, they were confident the Republicans were finally getting a trouncing in return. And liberals took to social media filling their stati with memes proclaiming victory and tauntingly tweeting throughout Biden’s bulldozing. And they had every right to celebrate: They won.
Yet the next morning Democrats had a rather rude awakening. According to G.O.P. punditry, Congressman Ryan had either won the debate or it was “a draw.” The same people who choked on confetti when Romney showed his debating mettle now said that Biden was “rude,” “disrespectful,” that he “smiled too much.” They also made fun of the vice president’s dental work. Well, all right, we’ll give you that one.
The first line of defense for those who are defenseless is to fight the manner in which they are fought, and that’s precisely what the Romney/Ryan ticket did.
They were also proud, they said, that Ryan has retained his fine “Midwestern manners,” and that Biden’s performance was unbecoming for a person holding the second highest office in the land.
The day before the first presidential debate, Republicans preemptively struck down PBS’s Jim Lehrer as being too liberal to be balanced, yet the following morning the Republicans thought he was just a swell fella who’d done an admirable and fair job. And the Democrats agreed that when Lehrer wasn’t sound asleep, he was perfectly adequate. Naturally, the right did the same with ABC’s foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz who not only appeared fully cognizant throughout the debate, but actually performed the task for which she was hired: moderating.
Last week, the leftist of liberals speculated that it was cocaine that kept Romney so ramped up with a runny nose, and this week the right accused Biden of being drunk during the vice presidential debate. If a sixty-nine-year-old man can get wasted and whittle away his opponent with a treasure trove of facts with such impressive alacrity, then Ryan’s adequate-to-sub par performance was actually pathetic.
Throughout history, vice presidential debates have proven little more than media fodder and popcorn-crunching diversions for the already-decided. From “You’re no Jack Kennedy,” to “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” voters have always already forgotten the zingy sideshow by the time they enter the big tent on Election Day.
When Democrats know they’ve been defeated, they admit it and change course. Conversely, Republicans obfuscate the obvious, blame their opponents, and stay the course.
How one does anything is how one does everything — and that is precisely why the Republicans’ old — and failed — policies have never improved. And that is why they will lose next month. Not that they’ll ever admit it, of course.