Friday, October 12, 2012
A Liberal Chameleon
Last night's vice-presidential debate was the first time in our nation's history when two Catholics shared that stage, but this was not the only historic first of the evening. It was also the first time that a nationally televised debate constantly seemed on the edge of becoming a drunken bar brawl. Throughout the evening, Biden was playing to his far-left base, and like a chameleon, displayed all the left's most unattractive qualities. He was by turns haughty, surly, and morose. Meanwhile, on the other side of the stage, Ryan was calm and consistent. Both men played to type in a way that was deeply revealing of their political philosophies.
In the opening phase, mainly in the area of foreign policy, the Vice President laughed and sneered with derision at every word that Congressman Ryan spoke, drawing unflattering comparisons to the Joker from the Batman comics. The left's unserious mockery of opposing views is all too common in public discourse today, such as when then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi snorted at the suggestion that the ObamaCare individual mandate might be unconstitutional. In the end, the joke was on her when the Supreme Court held that the commerce clause does have limits, and that the individual mandate could only be constitutional if construed as a tax.
Then, the topic shifted to the economy to entitlements in the second phase, and as Chris Wallace observed with evident dismay, "I don't believe that I've ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight." Vice President Biden and so-called moderator Martha Raddatz noticeably combined forces, at one point almost constantly interrupting Congressman Ryan and cutting him off without letting him respond to Biden's increasingly vicious verbal attacks. It is telling that in the area where Ryan is strongest--on economic and fiscal issues--there seemed to be a deliberate effort to block him from speaking.
On this point, many conservatives might complain of media bias, but during his debate preparations, Paul Ryan probably knew it was going to happen and decided to take the high road anyway. In the aftermath of Obama's humiliating defeat in the previous debate, many liberals criticized Jim Lehrer for not being assertive enough and Martha Raddatz obviously got the message. Both were terrible moderators for different reasons, but whereas Jim Lehrer's legacy as a well-respected veteran news anchor from an earlier and more civilized age remains intact, Martha Raddatz's fifteen minutes of fame are over, and she will now return to the comfortable obscurity she deserves as a correspondent for a network news program that hardly anybody watches anymore.
As the debate entered its mercifully brief final phase, Biden's tone changed dramatically when questioned about his views on abortion in the context of his professed Catholic faith. Shifting from his earlier jocosity and bravado, he suddenly seemed to bow his head and assumed a very serious and reverent tone of voice--almost as if seeking absolution for his many sins--as he tried to explain his own warped personal vision of Catholicism which somehow permits murder of the unborn under one of the most grotesque abortion policies in the entire world. Even atheist liberal European countries have some limits on when and how abortions can be performed, but not in Joe Biden's America.
Through it all, Paul Ryan maintained his composure and, like an accountant, stuck to the numbers and the hard facts throughout the debate. His performance was entirely consistent with his whole worldview, as a man of faith who is guided by principles over political considerations. Conversely, Biden constantly changed his mode of attack, just as he has changed his positions on the issues many times throughout his long career in the Senate. In the end, the liberal chameleon finally showed his true colors, and we were offered the clearest picture so far in this entire election of how extreme and how unhinged the political left has become.