Alright, I’m in full political crack monkey mode from here on till the election, so I’ll be the one to throw up the instant reactions thread.
My take: This was not the total blowout that the first presidential debate was. Ryan was calm and professional the entire time. Biden brought his Cerberus-style split personality, one head Cheshire Cat, the other head rabid attack dog. He called Ryan a liar in the very first exchange and kept it up all night, at one point even accusing the moderator of lying. Then, during the last fifteen minutes Biden meds ran out and he fell back on the gravely “I’m so concerned” voice for the rest of the debate.
Overall, I’d rate it a draw. I think partisan Democrats are mostly elated, since all they’ve wanted for the last week is to see someone interrupt a Republican and call him a liar, and Biden did indeed do that constantly. Republicans had nothing to cringe about in Ryan’s performance. Ryan remained cool and collected throughout and scored the one audience reaction line of the night in defusing Biden’s attempt to demagogue the 47% quote.
What Independents will have thought I honestly can’t say, though I see a CNN poll of undecided voters called it for Ryan by a 48 to 44 margin. My guess is, this does nothing to help Obama claw back from his collapse with the ordinary voting public, but it does help the Dem campaign by soothing the utter panic which has gripped much of the left over the last week. I’d guess we’ll see basically consistent poll numbers (between a tie and Romney up one) for the next week until the next Presidential debate. Then we’ll see. The big problem for Obama is that the next debate is strictly foreign policy and the one after that is a town hall meeting, so he never gets to imitate Biden’s mad dog routine on domestic policy.
If, as I expect, the Obama-Biden ticket goes down in flames on election day, Biden in his debate performance has ended his political career with a bizarre coda. How bizarre? Let us go point by point, along with my other thoughts on the debate.
1. Hyena Joe- Throughout the debate when Ryan was talking Biden was laughing and smirking. I assume Biden forgot about the split screen coverage on television. Judging from the talking heads post-debate, it made a very bad impression.
2. Manic-Depressive-Joe began the debate very manic as if he had swallowed a crate of jolt cola. By the end he was completely wound down, like a wind up toy at the end of its cycle, or someone had shot him with an animal tranquilizer. Very odd.
3. Canned Responses-Biden obviously had a checklist of points he had to mention: 47%, check, etc. The problem with having a checklist is that it takes fairly quick wits to put the list seamlessly into a debate performance, and I thought Biden’s interjections were far from seamless.
4. Joe Making Things up Again-As he has throughout his career, Biden simply made things up when he was in a tough spot in the debate. In response to the Libya question which clearly had him flustered, Joe claimed that the intelligence community initially thought that the Benghazi attack was preceded by a protest over the Mohammed video. That is completely at variance with the facts.
5. Wildman v. The Professor-Obviously the Democrats were reacting to passive Obama from the first debate. Biden was always interrupting, some 82 times or thereabouts. The”moderator” was completely useless. Ryan was too much the professor in manner and should have reacted more to the out of control Biden. Continue reading
The differences about to be exhibited in the Vice Presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan couldn’t be more striking, and no I don’t mean in just the political arena but in the religious realm as well. The Vice President proudly states he was never a “John Paul II guy, I was a John XXIII guy.” He relishes the fact that in class he openly doubted such central teachings of Transubstantiation during his Catholic school days. He tells us that when he went to Rome his mother told him; “don’t kiss the Pope’s ring.” (Boy it is a good thing Mrs. Biden didn’t know my soft spoken mother, otherwise she would have received an uncharacteristic earful. Heaven help her if she met my German grandmother (my mom’s mother) who would have undoubtedly pulled a rolling pin, a frying pan and whatever else she could come after her with to put the fear of God into her.)
Congressman Ryan comes from generation John Paul II and is not afraid to tell us so. Faithful Catholics of Congressman Ryan’s age see the Joe Bidens of the world and roll their eyes. As one young woman once told me, “if they (Joe Bidens of the world) had any decency they would just tell us the truth; the only thing they believe in is their self absorbed, distorted views of their world. They should really leave since they are being disingenuous for staying in something to which they don’t believe.” she said. Well many have and the Joe Bidens of the world would have us believe that it is our fault for not “evolving.” This is a common word in Catholic liberal (and secular) parlance to describe their views on the world from abortion to same sex marriage. In the case of the Joe Bidens of the world, if you can question the tenets of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, the beliefs of the Founding Fathers outlined in their landmark documents are hardly safe from revision.
In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I delve into the rise in vocations, devotions and the fast growing orthodox Catholic college campuses like Franciscan, Ave Maria, Benedictine in Kansas, Wyoming College and St. Thomas Aquinas. Folks like Joe Biden just don’t get it. To them Notre Dame is too conservative for in their view how could the university lose $120,000,000 in alumni contributions and face such opposition among student groups and the Holy Cross Seminarians concerning the controversial visit of and award given to President Barack Obama. Continue reading
When a political campaign gets spooked, the campaign often does foolish things. Attempting to make Big Bird, Big Bird!, an attack vehicle for the Obama campaign has to be the stupidest move I have seen by any campaign this year. Why is it stupid? Let us count the ways:
2. Too silly- The attempt to claim that Romney views Big Bird as a bigger threat than white-collar thieves is too ludicrous for words.
3. Bernie Madoff, Democrat Donor- Starting off with a mug shot of Bernie Madoff was a laugh, since Madoff has given over two hundred thousand to the Democrats since 1991.
4. Big Bird is a Big Issue?- With the country having a real unemployment rate, when discouraged former workers are included, of 14 percent, the Obama campaign is wasting time trying to make Big Bird an issue? Seriously?
Last week, before the debate, I noted that Democrats were mocking Republicans for trying to explain away Romney’s poor performance in recent polling (while themselves showing a certain lack of reality in their assessment of the economy.) The debate came and Romney routed Obama on the debate stage in a way that exceeded my wildest hopes. Now we see an unprecedented post-debate surge for Romney in the polls, with Gallup and Rasmussen both showing Romney in a tie with Obama and a post-debate Pew poll showing Romney beating Obama by 4% among likely voters, a twelve point swing from Pew polling a month before in which Romney trailed Obama by 8%.
And just to show that the desire to fight the data is bi-partisan, now Democrats are trying to explain away the polls, with Jonathan Chait arguing:
Polls have very low response rates. Sometimes short-term events that dominate the news cycle excite partisans and make them more likely to answer pollsters — it happened when Romney picked Paul Ryan — but they don’t reflect a deep remaking of the public opinion landscape, which remains fairly settled.
Of course, that’s true. Polling is a very uncertain science, and there are lots of unknowns like partisan differences in response rates. Of course, that’s equally true whether your candidate is ahead or behind, but it’s something that people usually only emphasize in the latter case.
Romney certainly doesn’t have the race in the bag. There’s a month to go, and the Democrats will be going for Romney’s metaphorical jugular with everything they’ve got. But there’s enough polling floating around right now to suggest that the candidates are now even or else Romney is ahead. (As I go to hit “post”, I see a PPP poll sponsored by DailyKos and the SEIU is out showing Romney up 2% over Obama among likely voters.) It may not last, but I’m hoping it does and enjoying it while I can.
The latest Pew poll shows Romney up four points among likely voters, 49-45. This poll was taken October 4- October 7 after Romney’s debate win:
Mitt Romney no longer trails Barack Obama in the Pew Research Center’s presidential election polling. By about three-to-one, voters say Romney did a better job than Obama in the Oct. 3 debate, and the Republican is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September. Romney is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit.
Fully 66% of registered voters say Romney did the better job in last Wednesday’s debate, compared with just 20% who say Obama did better. A majority (64%) of voters who watched the debate describe it as mostly informative; just 26% say it was mostly confusing.
In turn, Romney has drawn even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters (46% to 46%) after trailing by nine points (42% to 51%) in September. Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month. Continue reading
The Obama campaign is very worried about Catholic voters. They have two strategies: lie about Obama’s record and bash Mitt Romney for being a Mormon.
Deal Hudson reports at Lifesite News the type of calls that are being targeted to Catholics by the Obama campaign:
Just a week ago, I reported a call from an Obama supporter received by a Catholic in Pennsylvania. The caller, identifying herself as Catholic, insisted Obama was not pro-abortion and Planned Parenthood did not encourage abortions.
Joy Allen, co-chair of the pro-life committee of her parish, Saints John and Paul in Franklin Park, PA, received another call yesterday. The first Obama caller had asked for her daughter; the second asked for her son — both are registered Republicans. The call came from 215-796-4259 at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
After telling the caller her son was not at home, the caller said she was from the Obama campaign and wanted to know how he would be voting.
Joy reported to me:
“Well, I could not believe that I had received another call from the Obama campaign looking for another of my college aged children in less than a week. I informed the caller that my son was a practicing Catholic and would not be supporting a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage candidate who did not respect the Catholic faith in his HHS mandate that would force all Catholics to pay for birth control, sterilization, and the abortion pill.”
At that point, the Obama supporter started reading from the same script that Joy had heard from the first call.
“Well, I am a practicing Catholic, and I have no problem supporting Obama. How can you support a Mormon who does not believe in Jesus Christ….” Continue reading
Gallup has announced that in their tracker Mitt Romney has pulled dead even with Obama since the debate:
Registered voters’ preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday’s presidential debate. In the three days prior to the debate, Barack Obama had a five-percentage-point edge among registered voters.
An Oct. 4-5 Gallup poll finds roughly two in three Americans reporting that they watched the Oct. 3 debate, similar to what Gallup measured for each of the three 2008 presidential debates. Those who viewed the debate overwhelmingly believe Romney did a better job than Obama, 72% to 20%. Republicans were nearly unanimous in judging Romney the winner. But even Democrats rated Romney as doing a better job than Obama, 49% to 39%. Continue reading
10. He assumed that it was a gag twentieth anniversary celebration thrown together by Michelle.
9. His puppy chow snack an hour before the debate didn’t agree with him.
8. He was distracted by receiving debate advice from Biden in his earpiece.
7. Newt Gingrich told him he had nothing to worry about.
6. Jim Lehrer gave Obama advance knowledge of the questions he would ask, but then Lehrer forgot the questions.
This is the latest attack ad by the Democrat National Committee. How clueless are those guys? Do they think that Romney being assertive in the debate will be regarded by anyone, other than the yellowest of yellow dog Democrats, as being a bad thing? Actually Obama talked four minutes longer than Romney did in the debate last night. It only seemed like Romney talked more since he was actually saying things of substance instead of making pointless meandering statements that appeared to be Obama’s main strategy last night.
It was a total rout. Romney dominated the debate from beginning to end. Obama was attempting to sit on a lead which is the worst strategy against an able opponent, and Romney demonstrated that he is a very able opponent tonight in spades. A few thoughts:
1. Best Performance Since Reagan-I have watched every presidential debate. Except for the 1980 Carter-Reagan debate I have never seen any debate where one candidate dominated as much as Romney did tonight.
2. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs-Romney kept the focus fixed throughout the debate on the 23,000,000 unemployed and continually returned to the subject of job creation.
3. Teleprompter Where Art Thou?-Obama gave a wretched performance. He rarely looked at Romney, while Romney always looked at him. Obama either looked at the moderator or had his head bent down, looking at his notes, with a half smirk on his face. His answers meandered and often had no point. Obama needs to dump Lurch, (Senator Kerry), and get someone to coach him who can actually prepare him for a debate. His performance was pathetic, and even his most rabid partisans, as indicated by the video of Chris “Tingle up my leg” Matthews at the beginning of this post indicates, realize it.
4. Mitt the King Wonk-The amount of detailed knowledge that Romney had at his fingertips was astounding. I know it astounded Obama, the pretender policy wonk.
5. Lehrer the Zombie-Before the debate began I thought Jim Lehrer was looking incredibly old. Romney was able to push him aside effortlessly and talk about what he wanted to talk about. Lehrer attempted to throw a few lifelines to Obama when Obama was floundering but his efforts were futile. Lehrer has moderated many presidential debates, but I guarantee the Democrats will make certain this is his last one. Continue reading