Monday, October 15, 2012

5 Reasons Joe Biden Won the Vice Presidential Debate

On the eve of the second Presidential debate, or Debate 2: Bate Harder, the results of the Vice Presidential confrontation a few days ago are quickly being forgotten. Here at Hofstra, campus is an absolute maze of news cameras and Secret Service, all focused on the two Presidential candidates. In my opinion, now is the perfect time to refresh our memories as to what exactly happened in the last debate, which people seem to be having trouble deciding who won.

Some very reputable and trustworthy news organizations are touting Paul Ryan as the winner. A number of polls indicate that the public considered it to be a tie. I think a lot of people with those viewpoints don't really know what "debate" means. Here's why it's pretty indisputable that Joe Biden scaled Ryan's harrowing widow's peak to become the clear victor.

5) He Was a "Bully"

A number of people keep pointing out that Biden continually interrupted Ryan, acted condescending by laughing, rolling his eyes, and smirking as the VP candidate spoke. The most overwhelming assessment of these actions were that Biden was "a bully."

So what's a bully, exactly?

A bully is what we call someone we see beating up somebody who can't defend themselves.

I do remember Biden stuffing Ryan's shirt with crud.

Neither of the candidates were completely honest up there, though Ryan did perhaps a bit more stretching of the truth than Biden. Joe did what Obama was not willing to do during the first debate - get up and in Ryan's face when he started lying. The most widely held reason people think Obama lost the first debate despite the fact that Romney told 27 lies in 38 minutes is that the President looked like he was floundering out there. His poise, his demeanor, his tone all bespoke a man who didn't want to be where he was. Romney, on the other hand, went on the attack, and no matter what he said, he looked good saying it.

Now the tables are turned. Biden put up a clear message of "I'm not putting up with any of that bullshit," and hammered back at Ryan on every point the Congressman tried to make. If Biden was a bully, it's because he made Paul Ryan look weak and ineffective by comparison. Detractors latched on to his attitude and confrontational demeanor because it's not like they had a lot of ammunition to hit back with otherwise.

Come to think of it though, Ryan does work out a lot.

4) He Looked Like a Human Being

                                                                               Image Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Paul Ryan is given credit for maintaining his composure and appearing dignified while accepting the beating he received. People have been pointing to his steadfast refusal to blink as a sign that he was doing a better job connecting with the audience. Biden's relaxed posture, eye-rolling, and laughing weren't "Vice Presidential," and so Ryan took that battle.

This is why we can't have nice things.

But if you go back and watch the video, you see a lot of Ryan staring ahead, grim-faced, while Biden enacts more or less the same body language Mitt Romney had in the debate he "won." The only difference being that Biden actually threw in some human emotion and reaction.

The people who want to make this argument are trying to have it both ways. If Obama is stoic and professional, he loses against a more animated and aggressive Mitt Romney. When Ryan is exuding the physical responsiveness of a coma patient whenever he's not speaking and Biden presses the assault, he's a bully and Ryan is "Vice Presidential."

Biden looked like a person who couldn't believe what he was being made to argue against. Ryan looked like he was trying to keep every muscle flexed at once throughout the entire hour and a half.

Even - especially - his face muscles.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Out to the Ballgame

As I mentioned last time, I've wanted to talk about sports for awhile. As baseball season winds down, football season picks up, and hockey season is cancelled, it seemed like a good time to broach the topic. Now, this is normally the territory of fellow Gentleman Max Nova, but as I seem to carrying the banner solo for the time being, I'll step in where he would normally fill the gap.

Besides, he only talks about soccer, and that's lame.

Don't be bringing that noise in here, Max.

This summer I was given a challenge. Follow a sports team. I should clarify; I have "teams," I guess, and like pretty much anybody else they're the teams my family told me to like. My ancestry dates back to New York since the hipsters of the day were telling everybody how New Amsterdam was just so over, so the Giants, the Yankees, and the Rangers have been pretty much all I've ever been required to pay attention to for the sake of familial obligation. Actually, nix the Rangers from the list. No one in my family cares about hockey.

No, for the sake of this challenge, I was given two very specific rules. First, I had to follow a team. Watch their games, learn their players, and keep up with their standings heading into the playoffs. I thought that would be pretty easy; I'd just keep up with the Yankees. Then came the second rule. No Yankees. The Yankees, I was informed, don't count. It's not really being a sports fan if you follow the Bronx Bombers, for reasons I'll get to later (since I didn't understand at first myself).

So at first I thought, "okay, I'm living on Long Island, the heart of Mets territory, I'll root for the Mets." Then I quickly had the follow-up thought "why would I ever, ever do that to myself?" A better candidate immediately came to mind - the boys from my adopted state of Maryland, the Baltimore Orioles. Also, since the Yankees used to be the Orioles, I thought this was a clever work-around of the second stipulation.

Those pinstripes aren't an accident.

Now, the Os have had a fantastic season. At the time of this writing they're still in the playoff race, had just as good a year as the Yankees did, and gave me some really good moments and good stories.

They also made me realize why I will never, ever be a real sports fan.