The Master Debaters Round Two: Smilin’Joe versus Eddie Munster by Gabriel Ricard

A lot of people have suggested over the last couple of days, in the time since Joe Biden miraculously resisted the urge to do something to Paul Ryan that would have gotten him arrested (probably), that we should go with Biden and Ryan for the rest of the debate series. The verbal sparring, between two men whose job consists mostly of breaking tie votes, certainly seemed to deliver for most people the sparks they felt were lacking from the first Obama/Romney debate.

I think we should just be impressed that Biden rose to the challenge (I’ve never thought he was stupid, but he definitely does possess a certain lack of grace that a lot of people find distasteful), knocked back Ryan’s almost dizzying ability to remain dedicated to the fantastic bullshit he was spewing, and did so without looking like an ass.

Some have criticized the constant smiling and flashes of aggression that marked Biden’s delivery and body language from start to finish. I would have smiled that much, too. There is something darkly humorous about the strength of Ryan’s hateful, arrogant convictions. I don’t think I could have just limited myself to smiling. More likely is that I would have ruined the proceedings with laughter that eventually became the hysterical sobbing of a madman.

Because I don’t like to be reminded that people like Paul Ryan exists. The more I think about it, the more I want to abandon all hope, move to Mexico and became the greatest Canadian Luchador in history.

And let’s also keep in mind that a lot of the same chuckleheads who think Biden was a preening, bullying jackass are the same people who celebrated Mitt Romney’s aggression in the previous debate by rubbing Nutella all over their bodies, giving thanks to the Christ child, and dancing the night away.

Double standards abound within any political mindset, and it’s bullshit no matter what.

I think the real hero of the Vice-Presidential debate was Martha Raddatz. It seemed pretty early on that Martha was going to be able to compare burn marks with Jim Lehrer after plummeting into similar flames, but she surprised me by coming back to exactly the kind of moderator this sort of nonsense needs. Her questions were intelligent, her tone was controlled, she never let go of the pace once she got it back in the early going, and she kept both Biden and Ryan in line. If we were to repeat anything from this debate, I would prefer it be her.

Some of my friends believe Judge James P. Gray, Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson’s running mate, should have been in on the whole show. I think that would have made for a pretty interesting three-way-dance, but the event we got still had, in my mind, moments of being genuinely worth my time.

Does the plot thicken?

Not really, but I never expected it to. Biden showed us he’s not a drag on the ticket, Ryan had about as much integrity as a children’s birthday clown with a cocaine addiction, and Raddatz showed us how to moderate a debate.

That’s honestly more than I was anticipating in the first place