I watched the two potential VP’s square off against each other in their only debate. It was going to be, I hoped, quite interesting. Both men are knowledgeable, both are lifetime politicians, Catholics, and generally have some background in common.
Instead, I got 90 minutes of utterly terrible. I had a couple of Democrats in the room with me and even they were turned off by Joe Biden and his constant heckling. One left after a half hour in disgust at the atrocious behavior Joe was filling our screen with.
The constant laughing while Ryan was trying to talk was only exacerbated by the split screen because it was so hard to focus on what Ryan was saying. Joe would immediately start grinning, then you’d get this dread thing like… ‘oh no.. the giant creepy smile is coming’ and you’d turn your attention to him and then he’d do it and you move into that ‘no no, I’m going to try to listen’ then he would start laughing. It was as if we watched a train-wreck, that sort of feeling, but on a loop because it kept happening the same way.
What a total waste of a debate. Of the two of us who stayed to listen, it was pointless in the long run because I can’t honestly tell you much of what was said since the content was so totally overshadowed by the laughing and hamming-it-up for the camera that Joe was doing. There were a few, very few, things I remember each saying, and I remember generally that I thought Ryan had a somewhat better closing speech because he directly asked for our vote. Other than that, I might as well have skipped it.
The moderator did an absolutely wretched job of actually making it something anyone would get information from.
Now I’ve read some comments around the internet, and some of the news anchor people seem to be thinking this was ‘great tv’ but some of us wanted actual substance. It mostly seems to be males who thought Joe did well (being aggressive, rude, assertive, etc..) but boy oh boy is the overall female reaction different. Women responded very negatively to his behavior, but that shouldn’t be a huge surprise since women tend to be more concerned with manners and politeness anyway. We teach our kids not to interrupt while people are speaking, especially in a formal setting, and never to laugh AT someone or mock their thoughts in a condescending way. We teach our kids not to do those things because we find them offensive – and we certainly didn’t suddenly find it appealing when it was coming from a VP.
Well actually there was another thing to, the finger-jab. Why do so many people do that jab? It’s so easy to get into trouble. When Biden started doing that aggressive finger jab and raised voice at the female moderator, I literally leaned back. When you jab your finger in someones face it ALWAYS comes off as aggressive, and the last thing in the world most women like is a man with aggressive physical behaviors toward a woman. Overall though, it was the laughing.
Want to know why women polled all over the country as preferring Ryan in the debate – because he was being polite and actually trying to provide responses somewhere in between all the heckling. I think he did a very decent job of keeping his cool in the face of such a blatantly offensive tactic.