Reviews: Laughing Joe Biden Was Condescending, Disrespectful, Arrogant

Posted: Oct 12, 2012 7:48 AM

Reaction is pouring in from last night's Vice Presidential debate, which quickly descended into a one man shout-fest: (1) The RNC produced a rapid response video showing a split-screen of Joe Biden laughing as Paul Ryan discussed serious issues.  This may have been Biden's rudest tic -- even more so than the relentless interrupting:


(2) An undecided female voter in Virginia calls Biden a "buffoon" for his antics:

(3) Chris Wallace said it was the most "openly contemptuous and disrespectful" performance he's ever seen at a Presidential or Vice Presidential debate, dating back to 1960:

Peggy Noonan's take was probably the most spot-on analysis I've seen anywhere.  A key excerpt:

Another way to say it is the old man tried to patronize the kid and the kid stood his ground. The old man pushed, and the kid pushed back. Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy!" he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere. Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore's sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting. Mr. Ryan was generally earnest, fluid, somewhat wonky, confident. He occasionally teetered on the edge of glibness and sometimes fell off.

CNN's Gloria Borger and NBC's David Gregory both said Biden was condescending.  Frank Luntz's focus group on Fox called the Vice President "arrogant."  In stark contrast to all of that, here's Ryan's strong, focused closing statement, during which he thanked his sparring partner (who did not reciprocate the gesture):

And as I predicted last night, the GOP is ramping up the attacks on Biden's flagrant misstatement about security requests coming out of Benghazi.  The evidence totally contradicts his self-serving version of events, which may end up being the only real news takeaway from the debate in Danville.