Opinions on who won Thursday night’s vice presidential debate may well line up — not the first time!!! — along ideological lines. Right-wingers will dwell on Vice President Biden’s demonstrable and annoying personal tics — his laugh, the dismissive smiles that share a border with Al Gore’s smirks of 2000 — and Paul Ryan’s reasoned responses and respectable demeanor. Left-wingers will dwell on the sitting veep’s clear command of policy issues, from A to Z. Which means that the term “tie” will get tossed around quite a bit in the coming news cycles.
So let’s tip our hats to the debate’s hard surfaces. The adjoining oval-circular table setup provided just the right level of intimacy — and, at the same time, distance — between moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC and the two opponents. When Raddatz needed to intervene, she was right there — her excellent questions couldn’t be ignored. And when she (wisely) on many occasions chose to stay out of the fray, the tables, again, facilitated things.
Now look at the chasm with which poor, poor Jim Lehrer had to deal last week:
We’re calling this one a blowout for the furniture.