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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 10/11/2012

VP Debate forecast

Class, what did we learn from the first debate? Two things! Energetics! Sound bites! Anything else? No.

So on to the VP “debate.” What will we see from Paul Ryan? How to guess! Should we talk to “insider experts”? “Behind the scenes observers”? “Close associates who know the candidate well?” No, no, and no. This one I am willing to confidently predict, as it appears my proclivities toward confident prediction of the unknowable future grow by the hour. Ryan will deploy his trademark razzle-dazzle wonk-talk, faster than a speeding fact-checker. But this will not be what he is really up to. It’s just a slab of rotten steak thrown to distract the media watchdogs, which it will. The essence of his presentation will be the same as Romney’s: Relentless, relentless pounding away with feel-good soundbites and insults, that DON’T NEED TO ADD UP LOGICALLY! We learned this all too well in the reception of the first debate. What else matters? Nothing, except, you know, Energetics! We like those! More than anything! I can’t see how Ryan can lose this event. They’ve got the formula.

Biden? Can’t stay on message, will lose. unless he manages to channel the convention’s Bill Clinton. If I were in the advising business, which of course I am, I’d advise him to start every answer with “You guys can run, but you can’t hide.” ONE soundbite, that happens to actually capture the essence of this campaign. No rinse, just repeat repeat repeat. Fill in the rest of your time with anything at all. Stories of “real people!” Tear up a bit! But NOT TOO MUCH! A budget number or two. Any number will do. 22 is a good number! But don’t forget those Energetics. The audience, and the media, have told us what they like. I like different things. I think I’ll go to bed early and get some sleep.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 10/11/2012

 
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