Thursday, October 11, 2012
What To Expect InTonights Debate
Tonight, Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan goes up against incumbent VP Joe Biden in a debate that the Democrats are hoping will arrest President Obama's downward spiral. Here's what you can expect.
The moderator, ABC's Martha Raddatz will have been leaned on aggressively by both her peers in the media and her personal connections within the Obama Administration to 'moderate' aggressively in favor of Joe Biden by challenging Ryan and inserting Democrat talking points in an attempt to knock him off his game.She has the example of the beat down Jim Lehrer suffered by his leftist peers after the first Obama-Romney debate as an additional incentive. It remains to be seen whether she has decided to cave in to this pressure, but it's not unlikely.
In fairness, the fact that conservative pundits have raised the question my serve to have Ms. Raddatz over-correct in an effort to be fair in order to preserve her reputation as an independent journalist. In which case, raising the question of her possible bias was exactly the right thing to do.
The Obama Media will be looking at everything Ryan says with a microscope in an attempt to find anything at all that can be spun as a gaffe or error. They badly want this to be a Democrat win or at least a tie to help President Obama, and will call it as such unless Biden gives them nothing to work with and the results are obvious. Biden, on the other hand, will pretty much get a pass on whatever comes out of his mouth with an indulgent 'oh, that's just Joe' unless he commits a gaffe of serious proportions.
Biden will be aggressive right out of the box, attempting to interrupt Ryan and take control of the evening.Ryan's challenge will be to resist these attempts while maintaining his affability, using his own skills to take control and keeping his temper. Given what he's had to deal with in congress, that shouldn't be a problem.
Expect Biden to play elder statesman when the debate moves to foreign policy. Ryan's challenge here will be to demonstrate his knowledge in the area, steer the debate to recent fiascoes like Libya and remind the audience politely that this 'elder statesman' has been proven wrong on almost every major foreign policy question that's come before him since he's been in the Senate.
There's no question in my mind that Ryan can run rings around Biden when it comes to things like health care, taxes and domestic policy. Biden's tactic will be to try to come up with some folksy nonsense to demonstrate how he 'cares'. The vice president has been carefully briefed with talking points, but he lacks the deep understanding of the numbers and how they work on these issues. Ryan has them tattooed on the right side of his brain, and frankly, the Obama Administration's record shows just how badly they've performed in this area. If Paul Ryan can focus on that record, and if he can provide answers on how to fix it that the average American in his living room can understand, he will have won no matter how the pundits try to spin it.
As a bonus, when he's pressed or flustered, Joe Biden has a history in coming up with major gaffes, liker the one he committed against Sarah Palin when he claimed the U.S had 'run Hezbollah out of Lebanon.' If Paul Ryan hears one of these, he needs to underline it.
Biden has been around for forty years and participated in a number of public debates on the national stage. This will be Ryan's virgin outing, and a major challenge.He needs to convince America that if anything were to happen to Mitt Romney, he could take over the reins.
I have the feeling he's up to it, and if I'm right we may just witness the rise of a new GOP star tonight.