Is political decorum relevant any more?

Biden laughs in Ryan’s face during the vice presidential debate.

I watched the vice presidential debate on Thursday night, courtesy of YouTube. Being a pseudo-political junkie, I was excited to watch it, and to see Paul Ryan’s personality emerge.

With his reputation, I was certain that he would dominate the debate.

Wrong.

While the verbal sparring began benignly, it soon climbed the ranks and topped out as a historically significant event. (Both vice presidential candidates are Catholic, which also deemed the event a historical moment.)

I was genuinely surprised by how rude Biden was and acted during Ryan’s speaking. I’m not naive; I know that politics is determined by how aggressively the underdog can undercut the upperdog. That was Romney’s strategy for the first presidential debate, and he was largely declared the winner of the event by the general population.

But here’s where Romney and Biden differ: while Romney pushed forward his talking points for a couple moments even after his time was up on the clock, Biden laughed out loud in Ryan’s face while he spoke about his agenda, and consistently interrupted him. Biden also constantly whined that he was given less time than Ryan to speak, which simply wasn’t true, and it took the moderator, Martha Raddatz, to tell him to more or less just shut up.

It was nice to see an animated and laughing side to Biden, and there were some great moments that made national headlines:

Biden: “That’s a bunch of malarkey!”

Biden, later: “That’s a bunch of stuff.”

Moderator: “What do you mean by ‘stuff’?”

Ryan: “It’s Irish.”

But Biden’s condescension was simply over the top, and although he was deemed the de facto winner, so many people were upset by this obnoxious element of his personality that emerged on Thursday night that they are reconsidering their vote.

I know I am.

 

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