Thursday, October 11, 2012

Veep Time

Dan Drezner:
So, the veep debate won't matter all that, but the probability of gaffes are high. In other words, it is perfectly designed for Twitter.
And that's where I'll be! Follow me...with any luck, Paul Ryan won't get to me as much as he did in his convention speech, although if he does praise Simpson-Bowles again and blame Barack Obama for sinking it, I can't promise I won't lose my temper. Mostly, right now, I feel that the ballgame in Cincinnati pretty much wiped out any emotions I might have, so I should be watching it more dispassionately than I otherwise might. On the other hand, once you see someone as Eddie Haskell...

I linked to one preview earlier today; I'll link to Ezra Klein's preview now. What I'd generally say is that I tend to think experience is important in these things, but mainly in the sense that lack of experience -- and Ryan is about as inexperienced at presidential-style debating as it gets -- involves a lot of downside risks. Now, Ryan certainly knows enough about domestic policy to more than get by, and while he's very inexperienced in foreign affairs I'm sure he knows enough to avoid getting in trouble if he were, say, taking an exam. But debating can be different, as we've all seen. As is speaking on behalf of someone else. As for Biden, I've always thought he was pretty good in this format -- and he is the practically perfect VPOTUS -- but it's been four years, so who knows if he'll be at his peak or not.

At any rate, feel free to use this one as a debate comment thread. I'll be posting to Plum Line after it's over, and then I've usually wound up posting back here also, but if I do it won't be until late.


  1. Joe Biden laddies and gentlemen! I do think dem's will be happy (and thus more likely to navigate likely voter screens in polls) which I guess will mean that Biden "won." Tweet of the night? Can I nominate a JB retweet? "@joshuahersh: Retired US ambassador emails: I just heard Ryan say Marines guard ambassadors in Paris. Turned off TV." Good example of Ryan styling himself as this knowledgeable wonk, but actually not knowing anything. There is a Marine presence at embassies but the American Ambassador in Paris is protected by the the Diplomatic Security Service (the law enforcement arm of the State Department) if you're keeping score at home.

    Also it sounded to me like Ryan left the door open to American troops in Syria, and his Eastern Afghanistan quote? Awful.

  2. There's gonna be a bit of spin around Biden's "Now you're Jack Kennedy" comment, with obvious references to the Bentsen/Quayle debate. That moment was the gobsmacker of the night, but it has nothing at all to do with JFK:

    Remember how there was that contentious issue at the first Obama/Romney debate about whether Romney's tax plan would generate revenues to cover the ostensible $5 T gap? Buried within his rah rah Kennedy answer, Ryan gives up the ghost: the money is coming from the Laffer Curve baby.

    The Laffer Curve. The Laffer Curve. Oh Dear Lord these guys think Laffer Curve effects are gonna keep revenues whole with Romney's huge new tax cut.

    It kinda makes Sarah Palin seem not that dumb in hindsight.

    1. Nah. She's still dumb. At this point, I don't think THEY believe the Laffer curve point---but it's good for the rubes.

    2. It was striking when Ezra Klein asked a bunch of economists about the Laffer Curve. The liberal economists estimated that the effect kicked in for marginal tax rates above 70%. The conservatives all evaded, saying things like "the rate is higher than you'd think," "I don't study that," or "let's change the subject to what really matters."

      Biden's allusion to Bentsen's Kennedy reference was pretty restrained compared to the original, but then, for all his particular problems, Ryan isn't really the deer-in-the-headlights kind of guy that Quayle was.

  3. During the debate, Biden corrected Ryan's revision of history a couple of times an, "I was there. . ." I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned this, for it gave a sense of the sweep of history that Biden's lived; and I appreciated that he tried to stop Ryan from re-writing it.

    The single most annoying thing was the Jack Kennedy comment; felt too contrived; and I wondered if Biden had a bet with the Lloyd Bentsen's ghost to slip it in there.

    The most dismaying?

    First, Ryan's assessment of our military, comparing the Navy to pre-WWI navy. The US sits on half the world's military might. If we're exceptional at anything, it's our ability to make war. That's not how I want my nation to exceed.

    Also Ryan's silence after asked if I'd have to worry about having Roe v. Wade overturned. Hell yeah, I worry. And I'm voting. I wish moderators would follow up with, "What penalty should women face? What, in your world where abortion is illegal, should be the legal consequence?" We never go there, and it's time we did. I also wish they'd ask about the culture of men; where sex is something they 'get,' if they're lucky. Where's the discussion of male responsibility, is it just 'She rapes easy?'

    I still think women will decide this election. And I'm completely dismayed how little the issues that concern women -- Medicaid (who ends up caring for elderly parents?) reproductive health, education equality for our children, equal pay (will Romney repeal Lilly Ledbetter?) access to quality child care, and housing are being minimally discussed or completely ignored in the debates.

    Enough talk about taxes, in particular; we get it already.


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