Vice presidential debates don’t generally matter much. Not many voters tend to change their minds based on the tussle of the number-twos.
And yet, the vice presidential contest may be important for less direct reasons.
Could it be that the 2012 vice presidential debate will have historic consequences?
The debate reactions are in. Unsurprisingly, it appears that Obama supporters tend to think Biden won. Romney supporters tend to think Ryan won.
Yet, there may be a significant result.
Biden’s open disrespect, even contempt for Ryan’s expressions of opinion are unprecedented for a presidential or vice presidential debate. Indeed, many viewers are likely to view Biden’s handiwork as conveying disrespect and contempt for Ryan as a person, as well.
To the extent his approach is viewed as effective, and is not condemned as outside the understood bounds of decorum, has Biden thrown open the door–or lowered the floor–going forward?
An interesting division: many who have condemned Biden’s performance characterize it, in one way or another, as weak, grasping, desperate. Those who praise Biden’s performance tend to view it as strong, assured, confident.
What Do You Think?
How do you come down on these questions?
What standards do you think should be held for future debates?
Does it matter that civility continues to fray? Is it destructive to public life? Or is it a welcome way to air differences?
Looking back a generation hence, this debate may be viewed as less about Biden or Ryan, and more about the kind of nation we are, and may become. Who Won the Debate may matter less than how it’s decided they “won,” and what it means.
Ultimately, you will decide.
Biden or Ryan? Who Won the Debate?