Ryan vs Biden: D.C. in a Nutshell

Biden’s laughter reveals a deep seated lack of respect in the Obama administration for Republicans.

First of all, I want to congratulate Joe Biden on his debate performance. He certainly presented a more focused and energetic performance that accurately represented the Obama administration’s beliefs, actions and attitudes, painting a perfect picture of what is going on in Washington, D.C. Voters could not have been given a clearer picture of the political dynamic that drives our federal government than what we saw in the debate Thursday night.

Second, I’m not going to pick a winner or a loser in the debate because I think both sides accomplished their goals. Biden wanted to show a more forceful side of the President’s team, while Ryan wanted to show his own competence, as well as continue the momentum Romney created out of the first debate. While both were successful, Biden went one step further and showed us something else, something he probably didn’t mean to show so blatantly.As I watched the debate, and listened to both Biden and Ryan speak, I noticed something that I haven’t heard anybody else comment on. While I can’t recall a single time hearing Biden claiming some agreement with Ryan, I heard Ryan several times stating that he and Mitt Romney agreed at least partially with some of the Obama administrations positions and actions. As one example, Ryan said that he and Romney agreed with the schedule for withdrawal from Afghanistan, subject to events on the ground. Their problem was with how the schedule was derived and most importantly, presented to the world. On the other hand, Biden stated categorically that the timetable was firm, committed, and invariable, regardless of any events on the ground. Setting aside the foolishness of rigidly committing to a deadline two years in the future, and refusing to even consider the idea that some flexibility might be a wiser path, Biden showed how little interest the Obama administration has with working with Republicans in any way.

This intolerant attitude is the true takeaway from Biden’s constant mugging, grinning, chuckling, and other signs of disrespect towards Ryan and Republicans in general. It seemed to me there was not one single thing that Ryan said that Biden took seriously, or even appeared to consider. Everything was a joke, ridiculous on its face, and not worthy of consideration.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the current attitude in Washington, D.C. That is exactly why there is no bipartisanship in Congress, and why very few Republicans have any interest in working with the Obama administration. The fundamental lack of respect demonstrated so effectively by Joe Biden Thursday night was not an aberration, but business as usual. If you don’t believe me, check out the White House’s reaction to Biden’s performance.

Bipartisanship is impossible without mutual respect, and Thursday night, Biden demonstrated that, as far as the White House is concerned, Republicans deserve no respect.

As for Ryan, he indicated that there were several areas of agreement between the Romney campaign and the Obama administration, while disagreeing on tactics or other matters.  For example, when discussing the draw down in Afghanistan early in the debate, Ryan said:

With respect to Iraq, we had the same position before the withdrawal, which was we agreed with the Obama administration. Let’s have a status of forces agreement to make sure that we secure our gains. The vice president was put in charge of those negotiations by President Obama and they failed to get the agreement. We don’t have a status of forces agreement because they failed to get one. That’s what we are talking about … Now, with respect to Afghanistan, the 2014 deadline, we agree with a 2014 transition. But what we also want it do is make sure that we’re not projecting weakness abroad, and that’s what’s happening here.

Find anything in the debate transcript where Biden agrees with something Ryan says.

It just isn’t there. The arrogance of the Obama administration was revealed during this debate. No room for contingencies, no room for compromise, no consideration for any point of view other than their own. Thinking like this might be what led to our embassies getting overrun and four Americans losing their lives. No thought given to “What if something goes wrong? What if things don’t go like we planned?” Because in their arrogance, nothing can go wrong.

And if it does, they’ll just find somebody else to blame.

As a final point, let’s compare the two closing statements.  First Biden:

Well, let — let me say at the outset that I want to thank you, Martha, for doing this, and Centre College. The fact is that we’re in a situation where we inherited a god-awful circumstance. People are in real trouble. We acted to move to bring relief to the people who need the most help now.

And — and in the process, we — in case you haven’t noticed, we have strong disagreements, but I — you probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the American people. My friend says that 30 percent of the American people are takers. Romney points out 47 percent of the people won’t take responsibility.

He’s talking about my mother and father. He’s talking about the places I grew up in, my neighbors in Scranton and Claymont, and he’s talking about — he’s talking about the people that have built this country. All they’re looking for, Martha, all they’re looking for is an even shot. Whenever you give them the shot, they’ve done it. They’ve done it. Whenever you’ve leveled the playing field, they’ve been able to move. And they want a little bit of peace of mind.

And the president and I are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled, they, in fact, have a clear shot, and they have peace of mind, until they can turn to their kid and say with a degree of confidence, “Honey, it’s going to be OK. It’s going to be OK.” That’s what this is all about.

And now Ryan:

I want to thank you, as well, Martha, Danville, Kentucky, Centre College, and I want to thank you, Joe. It’s been an honor to engage in this critical debate.

We face a very big choice. What kind of country are we going to be? What kind of country are we going to give our kids? President Obama, he had his chance. He made his choices. His economic agenda, more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care. It’s not working. It’s failed to create the jobs we need.

Twenty-three million Americans are struggling for work today. Fifteen percent of Americans are in poverty. This is not what a real recovery looks like. You deserve better. Mitt Romney and I want to earn your support. We’re offering real reforms for a real recovery for every American.

Mitt Romney — his experience, his ideas, his solutions — is uniquely qualified to get this job done. At a time when we have a jobs crisis in America, wouldn’t it be nice to have a job-creator in the White House?

The choice is clear: a stagnant economy that promotes more government dependency or a dynamic, growing economy that promotes opportunity and jobs. Mitt Romney and I will not duck the tough issues, and we will not blame others for the next four years. We will take responsibility. And we will not try to replace our founding principles. We will reapply our founding principles.

The choice is clear, and the choice rests with you. And we ask you for your vote. Thank you.

Ryan promoted his running mate. Biden talked about himself. Ryan used Romney’s name three times. Biden never mentioned Obama by name.

That’s just sad.

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