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Hey, Joe --- William Rivers Pitt

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: americans, candidates, constitution, corruption, democrats, dishonesty, elections, ethics, freedoms, Govtfearmongering, healthcare, housing, lies, media, military, news, obama, politics, propaganda, republicans, SupremeCourt )

- 2077 days ago -
For the moment, all eyes are focused on tonight's vice presidential debate in Kentucky. Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will engage each other in what has suddenly become the most important VP debate in modern political history.

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Kit B (276)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 5:06 pm
Vice President Joe Biden. (Photo: James Hill / The New York Times)

During a Wednesday morning radio interview with host Tom Joyner, President Obama made the following observation about his first debate with Mitt Romney last week: "I think it's fair to say I was just too polite."

Gee, you think?

Breaking News: Water Remains Wet, Sky Is Up, Gravity Sucks.

A week later, and the point has been clearly made about the degree to which Mr. Obama's poor showing in that debate has damaged his campaign's standing. According to pretty much every available poll, an entire Summer and early Fall's worth of gains were wiped away in one 90-minute span. At a minimum, according to Nate Silver of the New York Times, Mr. Obama's post-convention bounce has been erased. Political debates are part of a candidate's job, and it is pretty damned amazing to witness what happens when the President of the United States decides he doesn't feel like working on a night when more than 70 million people are watching.

There was more to it than that, of course. Mr. Obama was plainly put off by the tsunami of pure falsehood pouring from the gob of his opponent. Some have pointed to a debate tactic known as the Gish Gallop to explain what Mr. Romney pulled last Wednesday. To wit, when you spew an enormous volume of outright lies, your opponent becomes incapable of countering them all. Mr. Obama was clearly left flat-footed and tongue-tied by what happened, and I among many others seethed in frustration because he utterly failed to call Romney's lies out for what they were. I knew Romney was lying, you knew Romney was lying, coal miners ten miles below the surface of the Earth knew Romney was lying. Then again, I am not Mr. Obama, and it is entirely possible that just about anyone would be left sputtering, "''s...but...oh, to hell with it," in the face of such a concentrated onslaught of deceit.

The real losers and failures last Wednesday were the denizens of the "news" media, and because of them, the American people at large lost big as well. In the week after that debate, the entire "news" media infrastructure unplugged its collective intelligence, sent the fact-checkers off on an extended lunch break, and extolled the virtues of Mr. Romney's "strong" performance without bothering to mention the degree to which he had lied, reversed himself and completely mischaracterized virtually every aspect of his campaign to date. One online wag surmised that Romney knew he was dealing with an utterly incompetent political media, and so deployed the "Kitty Laser Debate Tactic." Know how you can send a cat sprinting and gyrating around the room by flashing a laser pointer around? That's what Romney did with his "facts," and the media kitties went wild chasing after his little red dot, never once pausing to say, "Hey, wait, that isn't real."


So here we are a week later, ensconced in a political world where facts don't stand a chance against a barrage of falsehoods, brazen liars are called "bold," and an entire election can swing wildly within a short span of days because the "news" media needs a close race to make money, and be damned to doing their jobs. It does not have to stay this way; Mr. Obama has pretty clearly seen the writing on the wall (in 50-foot tall Day-Glo letters) that he has to step up his game, that the media isn't going to help him, and that time is very demonstrably running out. The current dire poll numbers don't reflect last Friday's positive jobs report, so there may well be some movement away from the cratering phenomenon we witnessed this week.

And so much for all that.

For the moment, all eyes are focused on tonight's vice presidential debate in Kentucky. Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will engage each other in what has suddenly become the most important VP debate in modern political history. Unlike Mr. Obama, Joe Biden is not what anyone would call the quiet, retiring type, and if Mr. Ryan decides to go into full-lie mode, Mr. Biden might actually throw the podium at him. To be sure, Biden will be the aggressor tonight, but it would be foolish for anyone to underestimate his opponent. Paul Ryan is the lean and hungry type, and unlike his running mate (who looks like an egg-sucking dog every time he drops a whopper), Ryan can and does lie without so much as a muscle twitch to betray him.

They will debate Medicare, and Medicaid, and tax policy, and the details of the sulfurously disliked "Ryan Budget Plan." If Biden is firing on all cylinders, Romney's "47 Percent" beliefs, the GOP's all-out national assault on the rights of women, and the GOP's generally wretched record over the last decade will be brought into play. Romney will not be there, of course, but Biden will have a golden opportunity to begin the process of pinning Romney's dazzling array of lies and reversals on Ryan, and dare Ryan to justify or explain them. Joe Biden is a grizzly bear in human skin, and all the qualities that lead pundits to call him "gaffe-prone" are the same ones that could very well serve to blast Paul Ryan right out of the auditorium. Or not. Tonight will tell the tale one way or the other.

The president dropped the ball, the "news" media kicked it into the gutter, and now the eyes of the entire political universe are fixed on the Vice President. If Joe Biden can park it deep tonight, the Obama campaign can correctly claim to have gone a fair ways toward righting their listing ship. If not - if Joe blows it, if Ryan outduels him, and if the media once again decides to laud flash over substance - the time between now and election day will become very short indeed for the president to find a way to keep his job.

Three Tuesdays, plus five days, and counting.

By William Rivers Pitt | Truthout | Oped |

JL A (281)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 5:17 pm
"The real losers and failures last Wednesday were the denizens of the "news" media, and because of them, the American people at large lost big as well." Thanks for posting this analysis, Kit--it provides what has been missing from most of the mainstream media who didn't do the job the American people deserved.

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 5:38 pm

To date, best line ever in a Veep debate, "I knew Jack Kennedy, he was a friend of mine, and Senator you're no Jack Kennedy." ( Senator Lloyd Bentsen, D Texas)

The media makes more money by creating stories then reporting stories. WRP is correct, Romney was lying, we all knew it and some this was a little funny. Romney is not an "EVERY MAN" but he sure can toss out the bull chips, even before they dry. It's far different now then it was. There was time when a debate moderator would cut off those running over time, interrupt when the candidate was not answering the questions. There was time when we had reporters and not pundits.

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 7:53 pm

Hey, Joe! Great debate, and thanks Joe, we are proud of you. For each question he answered to the point. Martha Raddatz was excellent, she kept things moving, addressed pointed and did try to get direct answers.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 8:38 pm
ryan got spanked :)

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 8:48 pm

Ryan, is not ready for Prime Time, he did try, but he was just pounded. Biden is a street fighter with strong, comprehensive facts. Facts talk and bs walks.... Biden is from the working class, Ryan from money. There is the difference.

Kathy Chadwell (354)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 8:53 pm
He's not ready for vice prez either,, trying so hard to read the issues while Biden knows the issues because he's lived them. Thank you Kit

Kit B (276)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 8:55 pm

Thanks, Kathy. I noticed Ryan was trying to address young people, even falling back on that old argument that Social Security and Medicare will not last, sure they will. We pay for.

Laura H (964)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 9:04 pm
Joe was fantastic-he won on BOTH style and substance. Substance is more important, of course.

Ryan lied through his teeth and refused to give specifics. Nothing new there.

JL A (281)
Thursday October 11, 2012, 9:12 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Laura because you have done so within the last week. You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.

Thanks Kit, Kathy & Laura--I had a pre-existing commitment in conflict so knew I had to watch on-line later; your providing your views tells me I don't need to approach it with dread but can look forward to it with gleeful anticipation!

Kamila A (141)
Friday October 12, 2012, 6:46 am
Joe wiped the floor with Ryan.

Ryan looked nervous, just like a liar, and all he had was rhetoric that anyone can see through.

His abortion stance, "Bean", and all he had to say on that topic was just drivel and nauseating.

He is a child.

I trust Joe Biden to be vice president and to take over in case something happens to Obama. I definitely do not want Ryan stepping in for Romney in case Romney becomes president (may God forbid that!).

Kit B (276)
Friday October 12, 2012, 8:49 am

Yes, J L do watch it in full. Joe was just great, he was...Joe! Maybe a little impatient with Ryan, but even the moderator seemed a little impatient that Ryan, even when the question was asked again, would not or could not be specific. If you have a plan, spit it out. Even when asked about his own deeply personal beliefs he wandered off in a different direction.

Arielle S (313)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 9:41 am
In truth, Biden exceeded my expectations - he was gruff at times, he was quietly thoughtful at times, he was funny at times - at all times, he made Mr. Bean look like an uninformed schoolboy. And the best line for me was when Biden said, "just get out of the way".

. (0)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 12:21 pm
To say American politics are far more colourful than Canadian politics, is an understatement.

. (0)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 12:37 pm
Then again Kit, CNN, and the major newspapers thought Ryan did a better job. Biden's laughing, and over talking did little for his debating style.

Kit B (276)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 12:50 pm

I have to disagree with you Allan. What's good for the goose....Romney was rude, constantly interrupting, jumping into Obama's reply's, edgy and impatient. Biden was just trying to keep it honest. Fact Check went through the ummm...shall we call them "myths" and the scale is not tilting toward Ryan, nor did it for Romney. We all have to decide who we will vote for, a bit of honesty is good for all of us. I think you might find that even CNN has had to retract that first blush. There was one clear winner here, Joe Biden. He was honest, forthright, and not about to take any false guff from this kid. Ryan may hold some sway in a republican controlled Congress, but he is no match for the experience of Biden.

donald Baumgartner (6)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 1:04 pm
Joe ROCKED the house!! Did a GREAT job!!! Obama-Biden 2012!!!!

Fred Krohn (34)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 2:02 pm
Hey 'Joe' - YOU LIE! While I'd prefer the Libertarian ticket in the Whitehouse, even Ryan would be preferable to the traitor from the anti-gun lobby, Joe 'Biteme' Biden!

Barry AWAY T (935)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 2:26 pm
Vice-Presidential debates make little difference. For example, the "I knew Jack Kennedy" great line against a very second-rate noominee and who won the election? ... Americans vote for the President. Period. IMO.

Chris C (152)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 3:04 pm
Fred Krohn - put a sock in it, willya? It was idiot Joe Walsh that said "You lie"...and he won't be around much longer! Tammy Duckworth is wiping the floor with him...just like Biden did to Lyin' Ryan!


Arielle S (313)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 4:21 pm
I'm with Chris - put a sock in it, Fred. And take your gun with you.

Jean A (14)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 5:26 pm
The President has to shine this debate and he knows how to do it so just do it. Romney seemed to be so juiced up on the last debate that Obama should have told him so. As far as the Republicans anything goes, lying, deceit and doing all these atrocities on National TV. What are these people anyway? So Obama has to handle the deceit.

Susanne R (235)
Saturday October 13, 2012, 11:52 pm
I think we're going to see a very different side of President Obama in the next debate. I think he was taken by surprise when Romney proceeded to lie through his teeth on national television. A reasonable person would expect the viewing audience to hold Romney accountable for his lies. Unfortunately, many of them aren't well informed on the issues and many believe what they want to believe. And finally, there's Fox News. Even though it's purely entertainment, many people watch it and believe what they hear. Therefore, they believed Romney. Rupert Murdoch, the criminal and king of cheesy tabloid news, is doing this country a terrible disservice by passing off his brainchild, Fox News, as a credible news source. He's an Australian who's trying to make as much money as he possibly can --and he needs to manipulate American politics in order to do so! Truth was the biggest loser in that debate.

Jo Ellen H (3)
Sunday October 14, 2012, 10:11 am

richard Lehr (1)
Sunday October 14, 2012, 11:59 am
I believe Joe Biden did show that the republicians have no answers ,and can not be trusted in my opinion

. (0)
Sunday October 14, 2012, 6:00 pm
Biden hit it out of the park. great job Joe. ann

Tim L (86)
Tuesday October 16, 2012, 6:49 am
Romney did what he does best: He lied through his teeth, but then he is a republicon. I don't believe there is anyone out there who is undecided on who they are going to vote for. Anyone who is undecided is either completely naive, or a total moron who shouldn't be voting in the first place. The only thing the repubs can do is lie, because they certainly can't make a case on their non existant merits. Anyone who has been paying attention, for the last twenty years, knows that the mess we are in is the result of republican policies. They drove the bus off the cliff and then blame Obama because the bus is falling. And, they stand in the way of everything Obama tries to do to keep the thing from crashing.
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