Meanwhile, the star of the show was without a doubt Mr. Biden. While running on the steam of Governor Romney’s high performance last week all Paul Ryan had to do was keep the momentum; he didn’t have to be showy and needed only hold his own by rattling statistics and rhetoric (which he did); Biden on the other hand had the harder goal of having to show strength where many saw weakness in the President’s performance in the first debate. This is also where the shoe was on the other foot in terms of the conservative constituency. The aggressiveness and strength—and yes I’ll admit rudeness—that Mr. Biden exuded last night did not win over any of the Americans firmly grasped in the Repbulican demographic. I have one conservative friend who has a great sense of humor who posted as foray into the social media conversation of the debate a picture of Jack Nicholson as the Joker in reference to “Crazy Uncle Joe” and his mugging and laughing on the split screen while Paul Ryan spoke. Detractors have been wondering what medications “Crazy Joe” was on, and if they had worn off or kicked in when the debate began. Mr. Biden’s experience shone through, regardless, in the way he was able to deliver his points and retorts in a human context—and not just the tragedy of his wife and daughter’s death—but just in his strength of communication. The question remains, however, if his eschewing of decorum–and at times outright rudeness–will balance the scales of last week’s debate or will actually prove to reinforce the Vice President’s image as a gaffing loose cannon.
Mr. Ryan who is also a seasoned public speaker just didn’t have the on camera charisma that his opponent or his running mate displayed on camera—this goes a long way in a televised debate. The real strength of Joe Biden’s performance last night came when he was able to stare directly into the camera and speak to the viewer at home—Ryan tried it as well but it wasn’t as captivating.
Without a doubt though the shining moment in Biden’s performance was his outlining of his perspective on the issue of abortion. His delineation of the separation between church and state was a much needed shot in the arm that the right wing conservatives in this country should take heed of. One’s religious personal beliefs should inform a perspective but it should not be forced down the throat of another undiluted. The context and situations for which a woman’s right to choose can or cannot be limited is not restrained by religion but rather by an objective law, and it is important that while abortions shouldn’t be as available as haircuts they shouldn’t be relegated to back alleys and surgical speakeasies either.