The Washington Post

Fool and truth-teller

Welcome to VP debate hangover day here on the Opinions page! Lots of blinking at one another and saying, “Whoa, that happened.” The big story is Joe Biden Joe Bidening all over the stage and into our laps last night on the TV. Dana Milbank, posting his analysis at 2:57 a.m. (Milbank, editrix Autumn Brewington and producer Jim Downie are straight-up BEASTS), set the tone for what will be decided thus: Biden rattled opponent Paul Ryan.

Now, naturally, this is open to interpretation based on which side to whom you have signed your blood oath. (Note: “which side to whom” returns only five Google hits.) Left-leans thought Biden rattled, and right-leans also thought Biden rattled the cheesecurds out of Ryan!

PostScript couldn’t believe it, either. But it is so! Observe:

DELewes says Biden rattled Ryan on purpose:

Biden was insufferable. He incessantly interrupted Ryan in mid-lie. Unlike Romney, Ryan barely got a lie in edgewise without Biden butting in with facts. I don’t know if there is such a thing as the ugly truth, but sometimes you got to get ugly to expose the truth. In that Biden succeeded. The election is again a discussion of the true substance of Romney-Ryan’s policies.

jklo says Biden rattled Ryan because, um, anyone would have been rattled:

Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did — he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster.

PostScript honestly isn’t sure what to do with our format now. Everyone was supposed to fight. But we have all coalesced around a narrative that Joe Biden is a crazy, dancing monkey/rodeo clown perfectly calibrated to delight and enrage in equal measure. The Bidening was weird, but weird good or weird bad?

Lauren L

Look, Biden made me very uncomfortable. He was odd, manic, and I felt bad that they kept the camera on him. It was awful.


Does anyone seriously believe that the blustering, rude, contemptuous old white man that we saw last night is in any way shape or form qualified to be President?


After last night’s great performance and command of the facts I keep wondering why Biden isn’t President. At least he isn’t afraid to stand by his beliefs.


Are you serious? I much prefer Obama. Biden is insane.


Hey, Joe: Crack open a PBR, fire up the Camaro and take the weekend off. You done good.


Dana Milbank is one of the few political analysts who gets it. Biden’s “antics” were quite deliberate. Biden (clearly!) fired up the Democratic base, which was the intention. Next week Obama will aim at the undecided voters.


Biden is Obama’s foil. Obama is cool, collected, and always the adult. Biden is the fire-breather who reminds people of what the party stands for and gives the emotion. I don’t think Obama will even try to pull off anything close to Biden’s performance.


Hunter S. Thompson, commenting on the Democratic Vice President Hubert Humphrey during the ‘68 campaign: “he campaigns like a rat in heat.” It took a while, but last night we witnessed Joe Biden channeling the ghost of good old Hubert.

Gross! Any more gross for us? egray1 obliges:

Someone got some extra fiber in their Early Bird Special last night. Did you see him making goo-goo eyes with Ryan’s mom after the debate? Meanwhile, did you see Dr. Jill making goo-goo-eyes with Ryan after the debate?

And treetopf1yer finally delivers the much-vaunted zinger that was predicted to be the Big Thing of Debates 2012:

The traditional role of the fool is to tell the truth and get away with it. By that measure, Biden succeeded.


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