Mary Grabar

Vice President Joe Biden, in his debate with Congressman Paul Ryan last Thursday, attempted one of many of the strategies liberals use when debating conservatives. The American public got a great display of advancements in cosmetic dentistry. The Vice President, however, failed to pull off the most popular of liberal debating techniques.

I should know the liberals’ strategies because I work in academia and I participate in contra dance, a New England-style folk dance. Like academics, most contra dancers assume that everyone in the room agrees with them. The same could be said for PBS, most media outlets, and government agencies. These liberals hold power by virtue of their numbers, so never feel the duty to engage in serious debate.

The strategies liberals use vary, depending on the setting. For example, liberals are much bolder when they have a big mob or the protection of the police behind them. They are also very good in academic settings where they are assured that college freshmen will be flummoxed by their rapid-fire delivery of postmodernist neologisms. They are also good in schoolhouse settings where they bring students to tears by telling them about starving illegal alien children whose stomachs are ripped open by the barbed wire on the way over. That is why 25% of the SDS went into education, and Bill Ayers taught in a college of education and specialized in curriculum for young children. They excel at debating third graders on social justice.

The truth is liberals are intimidated by debates based on reason and evidence with adults, so they resort to different strategies. The favorites are:

1.) Outright ridicule, Saul Alinsky style. Biden attempted to do this on Thursday but adjusted it to the setting: a television broadcast, with support only from Martha Raddatz instead of the cast of MSNBC. And he was not in a backroom or bank boardroom with ACORN covering his back. So in that new setting, when Biden bobbled his head and pulled his lips back from the porcelain, he looked like one of those people you see at places where medication is regularly dispensed in little white cups. Not too many people got the jokes, which is to be expected because they emerged only as twitchy grins. As with others who need to spend time in such places, I think a simple game of Uno would have helped calm Mr. Biden’s demons.

2.) The Bill Maher sneer and locker-room (or prison-yard) jokes. These are only funny if you do not have, or never intend to have, a fourteen-year-old daughter, as Sarah Palin did, when Maher joked about her getting impregnated by a baseball player.

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at