But, it wasn't just his face that gave Biden away. He also laughed almost constantly, inappropriately, as serious topics were discussed. He was rude. He interrupted his opponent and the moderator repeatedly, more than 80 times in 90 minutes. Joe Biden isn't that type of person ordinarily. Vice President Biden is, by my calculation, one of the most decent men serving in elected office today. He is gracious and considerate to a fault. What else but anger could drive him to react improperly in the midst of a public forum?
I'm not so much concerned with who won or lost the debate as I am in unraveling this mystery: Why was Joe Biden so angry? We could argue until the cock crows in the morning over who won or lost. There are plenty of pundits already focusing on that issue. The polls seem to favor Ryan in measures of likability and clarity, and yet there are plenty who are proclaiming Biden the winner. Those who listened to the debate on the radio scored it in Ryan's favor. They didn't see the maniacal expression on Biden's face. I have my own opinion, but it fades to insignificance as I study Biden's emotional reactions.
Obviously, Ryan's verbal punches hurt. When President Obama debated Governor Romney, he reacted to his opponent's jabs by looking down and flinching away as though he were physically struck. In this debate between the Vice Presidential candidates, Joe Biden's reaction was similarly painful. He too flinched but masked it with a smile. When the pain became unbearable, he began talking over Ryan. How could they not be hurt? They have no factual evidence to refute the claims that their policies have failed.
More than once, Biden accused Ryan of lying. You may agree. However, that assertion is in and of itself more evidence of anger, especially when he cast his anger at the moderator.
Everyone lies. People seem to accept lying by politicians as the norm. However, I don't think that either Biden or Ryan lie more than the average person. I didn't hear Ryan lie. He is renowned for his storehouse of facts and figures, and he used them appropriately. Unfortunately, Joe Biden was forced to lie. It was painfully obvious when he announced that the Administration didn't provide adequate security for the American Embassy in Benghazi because of faulty intelligence. Both the State Department and the White House admitted almost two weeks ago that they knew the Ambassador and three others were murdered in a terrorist attack. Sadly for Biden, his Commander-in-Chief has been repeating the lie despite his own staff's revelations. Biden's loyalty overcame his honor and he parroted Obama's lie. Of course, it made him angry.
Joe Biden is a decent man. I have no question that is true. Unfortunately, the Administration in which he has been participating over the past four years, was elected on nothing more than good intentions. Yes, I know, they and their supporters have compiled lists of accomplishments for your consideration. But, the objective truth is that the economy has shrunk in every one of the past four years. Unemployment has only shown a gasp of recovering in the last month, and only after the Labor Department adjusted the method of calculation. All of which goes to prove that good intentions aren't enough. They result is bad outcomes when good intentions are not accompanied by wise decisions.
Yes, Biden was under great pressure to score one for his team after last week's embarrassing loss by Obama to Romney, a loss even the President has been forced to concede. However, as Ryan observed, his repeated interruptions interfered with the event. Even worse, it left him appearing, as one pundit commented, “looking like a drunken lout.” I wouldn't go that far, but I don't believe Biden helped himself or his team. Whether he won or lost is insignificant.