“Release the Biden” has been the phrase bouncing around in my head for weeks. Honestly, it’s been growing exponentially louder lately. Even as I watched brilliant orator, President Barack Obama, energize campaign crowds, I kept hearing a little voice in my head saying, “I wonder if President Obama is a better debater than he was four years ago”? After the first Presidential debate, the phrase practically drowned every other thought out of my head when I had time for politics.
“Release the Biden”, my go-to battle cry for this Presidential contest for weeks, first became pronounced after President Obama’s subdued convention speech, first debate with challenger Mitt Romney, is a phrase manipulated from cheesy original and remake movies and is really the only good thing about either. The original phrase was, “Release the Kraken.”
The Kraken appears in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans as a giant, four-armed humanoid with scales and a fishtail. In the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans,the Kraken featured as a servant of the Olympian Gods, with Zeus’ (Liam Neeson) order to “release the Kraken!” unleashing Hades’ imposing creation.
As I watched this debate in my deeeep red state in the deeeeeep South, it’s reasonable to say that I was eager going into the debate, relieved after the first 45 minutes, and at least re-energized once it was over. Vice President Biden’s performance in tonight’s debate, October 11, 2012, was in my biased estimation, exactly what he needed to do. I pumped my arms and hollered “YES!!” at his digs to Congressman Ryan like, “This is malarkey.” And I applauded when he attacked directly into Congressman Paul Ryan’s face for his rhetoric.
Assuming VP Biden’s job was to cover for President Obama and re-establish Democratic passion, he accomplished it with thorough success. From foreign policy to Medicare to taxes and national security, Biden defended the administration’s policies and offered a strong retort to claims from Paul Ryan and the Romney campaign.
VP Biden dominated throughout the debate, but there were particular areas where he was most proficient. On foreign policy, Biden relied on decades of expertise to, in essence, box Ryan into a corner. By the end of each swap over, Ryan was having to admit that the administration made the right moves on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iranian sanctions. Biden also gave a superb defense of the administration’s stimulus policies, while at the same time thumping Ryan for requesting said stimulus funds. Other discussions were not so influential. Congressman Ryan fought Biden to a draw on taxes, but in each case, Biden controlled the exchange and put Ryan on the defensive.
Throughout the debate, Biden’s demeanor was dominant as well. He laughed at and openly scoffed at Ryan, usually when the congressman made erroneous or just ridiculous claims on foreign policy. Republicans were predictably not happy with this attitude, which admittedly made me enjoy it even more. Over on the Mitt Romney channel, Fox News, Brit Hume whined that Biden looked like a cranky old man, and that Ryan was a polite young man. In fact, despite VP Biden’s feistiness, he came across as a political leader: cool and confident. Ryan, on the other hand, was coming across as the ill-suited-for-the-job, House Budget Chairman. While that can be marginally effective, it’s not the only tool one wants to bring to this level.
Martha Raddatz seemed to be a first-rate and effectual moderator. She made a few slip-ups, but actually pressed the candidates on their respective positions(Note to Jim Lehrer:See? That’s how it’s done.)
It’s beyond my capability or purview to predict what effect, if any, this debate will have on the polls. Frankly, I think polls are for the “news” media when they have nothing else to use to draw ratings…just more professional wrestling tactics. It’s my gut reaction that for those who pay attention to such things, VP Biden’s performance will slow or stop Romney’s rise in the polls.
I think that Joe Biden did what he needed to do: re-energize easily discouraged Democrats.
Mr. President, with all due respect, I hope you took copious notes.