In the 1970’s the soft-rock group Seals & Crofts came out with a song the tag line of which was “I am the King of Nothing.” In trying to be the King of Everything in the recent vice presidential debate, Joe Biden in fact acted more like a totally despicable tyrant—arrogant, condescending, bullying and—most of all—dishonest as the sleaziest used car salesman you could find.
Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican VP nominee, did well to get his two cents in spite of numerous and rude interruptions by his opponent. And Ryan to his credit fought back well for the most part. To me, the only real disappointment was that the wonkish Ryan relied on “six studies” that supposedly prove out the math of candidate Romney’s tax reform plan, instead of laying out, Ross Perot-like, some real figures. And both Romney and Ryan may do better to stay away from using JFK’s tax cuts as analogous to the current situation. In 1963, Kennedy got the top rate lowered from 91 percent to 70 percent, which was a big deal then. However, the top rate applied to incomes of $100,000 or more, which in 1962 was worth probably close to $1 million in today’s dollars, and there weren’t all that many people in that group. But in 1981, Ronald Reagan lowered it from 70 to 28 percent; a huge reduction that spurred a new economic boom and created numerous millionaires.
If people don’t watch carefully, they can be convinced by Obama/Biden’s class warfare argument that raising the rates on the “rich” by “only” 5 to 10 percent is not that big of a deal. But the negative impact on the economy in lost jobs and fewer dollars invested in new businesses, far outweighs the miniscule (if in fact any) impact that the supposed increase in federal revenues would have on reducing the federal deficit. If Ryan did point out any of this, it kind of got lost in the shuffle of the debate’s rough-and-tumble.
On foreign affairs, Biden’s biggest gaffe was in claiming the White House was not informed of the request for added security at the U.S. embassy in Bengazi, Libya. It’s either an outright falsehood, or, even in the unlikely case of being true, a stupefying communication breakdown regarding what literally became a life-or-death scenario. Again, to Ryan’s credit, he called Biden on this and also on the bogus initial attempt to pin the embassy attacks on an obscure anti-Muslim movie.
Given a mainstream media that was actually interested in performing journalism, the Bengazi debacle is a scandal that could make Watergate look like a Sunday school picnic. Unfortunately, most of them are still so far in the tank for Obama that there’s no turning back now, even though they may look quite foolish come the morning of November 7th.
By the way, the “moderator” in this debate did little to keep the overly-aggressive, blustering Biden in check. Given that the president attended her wedding, this should come as no surprise. And it should serve as a cautionary tale to Mitt Romney for the remaining debates, that he should not anticipate the latitude Jim Lehrer gave him in the first one.