Here's how you know Biden won the debate hands down last night: Nobody, not the media, not even Republicans, is even trying to counter Biden's substance. The wingnut right and media's whinefest centers around the notion that Biden was too happy a warrior last night (yeah, good luck with that line of attack). But on the facts, Biden wasn't just in command last night, he was right. Even the media heads trying their hardest to quibble with Biden came up with big, whale-sized lies from Ryan while playing semantics with Biden's words.
Biden was supremely prepared to call Ryan on every single one of his lies, and more than that, he was extraordinary in making the case for this president. He went in with a mission: make it clear to the American people that the Romney-Ryan ticket would start another war in the Middle East, that they will end Medicare and privatize Social Security, that their tax scheme is a scam, and that they will, given the chance, legislate away a woman's reproductive health rights.
What Joe Biden did last night was much more than what you see being registered in the political talking media. He completely unraveled the Republican talking point on embassy security with a simple, effective, factual premise: the Republican party and Paul Ryan cut embassy security by $300 million from what the Obama Administration requested. They are simply not credible on the subject.
Then he floored Ryan on the rest of Romney foreign policy platitudes. Ryan left his man Romney high and dry by not even going close to Biden's charge that Mitt Romney made statements that he wouldn't move heaven and earth to go get bin Laden. On Iran, Ryan was reduced to admitting that George W. Bush allowed Iran to get fissile material (when he said that President Obama entered office with Iran having enough to make one weapon) and then flailing around on how close they think Iran is to a nuclear weapon. That was, by the way, the best 30-second flip-flop I have ever seen on TV. Here we go:
RYAN: Let’s look at this from the view of the ayatollahs. What do they see? They see this administration trying to water down sanctions in Congress for over two years. They’re moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. They’re spinning the centrifuges faster.What? Did I say they are moving toward a nuclear weapon fast? I mean, actually, never mind. They're a long ways from getting nukes.
They see us saying when we come into the administration, when they’re sworn in, we need more space with our ally, Israel. They see President Obama in New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is and he, instead of meeting with him, goes on a — on a daily talk show.
They see, when we say that these options are on the table, the secretary of defense walked them back.
They are not changing their mind. That’s what we have to do, is change their mind so they stop pursuing nuclear weapons, and they’re going faster.
RADDATZ: How do you do it so quickly? Look, you — you both saw Benjamin Netanyahu hold up that picture of a bomb with a red line and talking about the red line being in spring. So can you solve this, if the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, can you solve this in two months before spring and avoid nuclear — nuclear…(CROSSTALK)
RYAN: We can debate a time line. We can debate the time line, whether there’s — it’s that short a time or longer. I agree that it’s probably longer.
Ryan came prepared to warmonger, but he didn't come prepared with the facts, and Joe Biden schooled him like the little punk he is.
I don't know if Ryan got creamed worse on foreign policy or domestic. On the economy, Joe Biden not only took Ryan to task for his and Romney's disrespect for anyone who needs a hand up, but he went right at Ryan with the Romney plan to give another big tax break to corporations and the wealthy and all Ryan could say was "we'll work it out with Congress" as far as which deductions get cut.
On the debt and the Great Recession, Biden called the entire Republican party's bullcrap by pointing out that it was caused not by President Obama but the culmination of fiscal policies Congressman Ryan was too happy to vote for during the Bush years: two wars and a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, the big Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and letting Wall Street write their own rules. Then Joe backed up and rolled it back over Ryan by pointing to letters from Ryan's own office asking for some of that horrible terrible very bad no good stimulus money. Ryan responded with stale, old, psychobabble about 'job creators.'
On Medicare and Social Security, Biden delivered a death blow: he pointed out that Ryan and his cohorts have never liked Medicare and Social Security, and they aren't about to start now. Ryan tried his best to stick up for vouchercare by bringing up his personal experience with Social Security survivor benefits and Medicare when he was young, saying he would never jeopardize them. Biden pulled no punches:
BIDEN: You are jeopardizing this program. You’re changing the program from a guaranteed benefit to premium support. Whatever you call it, the bottom line is people are going to have to pay more money out of their pocket and the families I know and the families I come from, they don’t have the money to pay more out.And he finished the kneecapping by looking the American people in the eye and telling us to trust our instincts on this one, instead of letting the Republican succeed in muddying the waters.
I was seriously surprised that Ryan didn't start hyperventilating at this point.
The real pivotal moment, though, came on abortion. Paul Ryan not only went off script from his running mate and claimed that it would be the policy of the Romney-Ryan administration to support abortion bans with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, he also made his own feelings clear that the government should ban all abortions, regardless of circumstance. Joe Biden? He was masterful. He said that he accepts his church's teaching in his personal life, but refuses to impose it on others. He stood up not just for the right to choose, but women's right to a full range of reproductive health care including contraception, without being left at the mercy of their employers. If there was one moment in the debate when Ryan looked - not just was - completely devastated, it was this moment.
Why that moment? Because he knew it was the moment the Obama campaign had banked on - to show American women where the choice lies. Biden delivered it perfectly, with passion, and with human grit, while Ryan looked like an automaton repeating his talking points.
All of that happened. And all a good chunk of the media - and the entire swath of conservative media -can do is bitch and moan about how they are the tough guys who were "bullied" off the stage by an old man? Listen up, no one is buying that baloney. 51 million people watched the debate, and when the talk of the town for even people who are on the other side is about how Biden just steamrolled Ryan (and well, how that gave Paul a boo boo), everyone knows who won. Besides which, I am not even sure the Republican media wants to talk about bullying, given Romney's own history on that one. Trust me, Fox, you really don't want to open that door.
Joe Biden didn't just win last night. He won every single subject brought up at the debate. He won every single exchange. He did it with facts, conviction, charm and the dedication of a statesman. The mistake the right-wing media is making is pretty simple: Joe Biden wasn't a bully last night. But he sure stood up to one.