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Will Joe Biden’s boorishness hurt Obama team’s standing among women? (UPDATED)

Before the vice-presidential debate last night, I had hypothesized that the only way it could make any difference in the presidential contest was if the incumbent made a gaffe so severe it forced the Obama campaign to spend the weekend playing defense.  And as I read numerous accounts about the debate, I first concluded that it would make no difference whatsoever, save perhaps to fire up the Democratic base.

Until I read Peggy Noonan’s reflection on the Ryan-Biden face-off.  And her words, coupled with videos of women in focus groups, remarks of female pundits, posts by female friends on Facebook and in the blogosphere caused me to reconsider my initial read on the reaction.  Like those women, Peggy also found Biden’s boorish behavior last night bothersome with “Mr. Biden’s style” poisoning his content”:

. . . Mr. Biden was so childishly manipulative that it will be surprising if independents and undecideds liked what they saw.

National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn’t work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.

And so the Romney-Ryan ticket emerged ahead. Its momentum was neither stopped nor slowed and likely was pushed.

Emphasis added.  She wasn’t the only woman turned off by Biden’s antics.  Over at Powerline, Steven Hayward reported that “Most of the early snap polls showed that Biden’s antics didn’t play well, especially with women.”  Reader Kurt alerted me to Ann Althouse’s reaction: (more…)

Did Biden’s Rope-a-Dope Strategy backfire?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - October 12, 2012.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Last night, in reading about the vice presidential debate, I wondered if Paul Ryan had not been as prepared as I had anticipated he would be.  He had not been more assertive because he had not expected Joe Biden to be so aggressive.

Perhaps, I wondered this morning, there was method to his restrained.  He, like most of us, had surely heard Joe Biden yesterday ask if a reporter had ever seen him “rope-a-dope“? Steven Hayward is “certain . . .

. . . that it was Biden’s plan to try to get under Ryan’s skin, drive Ryan off his core strength (his passionate wonkiness), cause him to make a mistake, lose his composure, or look too young and unready for high office.  Biden utterly failed to do this.  Ryan kept his cool throughout.

Perhaps“, offered Jim Geraghty echoing the point, Biden’s antics were part of “a bold but failed strategy to try to get Ryan to suddenly exclaim, “What the hell is wrong with you, man?”

Did the Democrats want to provoke an angry reaction from Ryan to suggest that the young men is unfit for higher office?  But, instead of Ryan’s reaction becoming the subject of today’s conversations — and jokes — Biden’s boorishness is.  If the Democrat had meant to rope a dope last night, Paul Ryan wasn’t the dope who got roped.

(Or was Biden hoping Ryan would ask moderator Martha Raddatz to step in and so look weak?)

Joe Biden’s boorish behavior rallies the left

It was a weird debate,” began Jim Geraghty reflecting on last night’s Ryan-Biden match-up, “in that one candidate’s personality so totally dominated the proceedings, that your reaction to the debate will be decided almost entirely by what you think of Joe Biden when unplugged.”  Read the whole thing.

And while Joe Biden may have appeared (particularly to independent women and witty conservatives) to have lost his marbles, liberals were ecstatic, causing Hugh Hewitt to quip (as I noted previously), “The left is cheering Joe Biden’s meltdown, which is itself an indication of how far it has lost its bearings.”  He builds on this point by excerpting The Wall Street Journal’s debate summary:

But this 90 minutes wasn’t about an exchange of ideas or a debate over policies. It was a Democratic show of contempt for the opposition, an attempt to claim by repetitive assertion that Messrs. Ryan and Romney are radicals who want to destroy “the middle class.” Mr. Ryan’s cool under assault was a visual rebuttal of that claim, and we certainly know who looked more presidential.

Echoing the Journal, Jonathan S. Tobin believes Democrats were “delighted” with “Vice President Joe Biden’s obnoxious display” in large part because “the liberal base of the president’s party is so filled with anger and contempt for Republicans that they can’t abide even a show of civility from their champions.”  (Read the whole thing.)

This manic contempt was Biden’s apparently successful strategy to “throw the Obama base a lifeline” (via Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit).  What does it say about a political party that it rallies on the boorish behavior of an angry old man?

And this “from the administration that promised to bring back civility to American politics” (via Instapundit).

UPDATE:  Jennifer Rubin has a similar perspective:  “That lefty bloggers and pundits ate up Biden’s antics is a telling commentary on how vitriolic the left in general has become.

UP-UPDATE:  Neoneocon asks, “what does it say about the Democratic base if this is the sort of thing that gets its members’ juices flowing?

Did some blogger really call Obama the Democrats’ Reagan?

Odd comparison. I mean, the two men sure did have a different reelection strategy.

Reagan ’84:

Obama ’08: (more…)

Watcher of Weasels Winners 10.12.12

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:00 pm - October 12, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Conservative Ideas

Council Winners

Billy Graham backs Mitt Romney

Yesterday, Sarah credited me (on Instapundit) credited me for alerting her to the Reverend Billy Graham’s decision to back Mitt Romney.  I thought it was a big deal and a ‘good thing,” as Sarah noted.

Evangelist Billy Graham told Mitt Romney” yesterday “that he would do anything he could to help his candidacy. The two met at Graham’s North Carolina home.

And it is a good thing — for a great variety of reasons, primarily that Graham is an evangelical Christian respected by individuals in all walks of life.  Jews have long respected him for supporting Israel and for never asking us to convert.  Some fundamentalist Christians even faulted him for the often ecumenical nature of his appeal.

Grahama has long been considered a pastor to the presidents, “met with every sitting American president from Harry Truman to President Obama.”  Many, including Bill Clinton, have sought Graham’s counsel, but, as Bruce Webster reminds us, “Graham has had a policy in place of not endorsing presidential candidates (cf. this 1980 article)”:

What is truly telling is the language: “I’ll do all I can to help you.” That’s not a tepid endorsement or a ‘lesser of two evils’ resignation; that’s about as full-throated as Graham can get at his age. I will be interested to see if it helps some of those Evangelicals who are concerned about putting a Mormon in the White House to vote for Romney anyway.

Given the respect this man enjoys, methinks it will help Romney with wavering evangelicals.  And it is indeed telling that the respected pastor, who had heretofore been so reluctant to endorse (though he did come close in 2000), has made clear his support for Mitt Romney.

California independents swinging toward Mitt (Updated)

UPDATE:  It’s not just CA independents.  In FL, they split “‘54/38” for Romney and “44/35” in Ohio, “with 12% still undecided and 9% claiming to vote for ‘other.’”  UP-UPDATE:  And in MA, it’s 53-40.

Among Independents,” reports CBS5 out of San Franciso on its latest tracking poll,

Obama led by 14 in September, but now trails by 9 in October, a 23-point right turn among the most coveted voters. One explanation, based on the poll data: The number of Romney supporters who said they were voting “for Mitt Romney” as opposed to “against Barack Obama” is way up, month over month.

Like independents across the country, those in the Golden State are now swinging toward Mitt.  Even if this trend continues, it’s unlikely to put the state in play, but is a sign that even where the Romney campaign is not active, these voters are turning away from Barack Obama and toward Mitt Romney.

Indeed, one state considered firm in the Obama campaign, but known for its independent streak (having elected two independents governor in the past forty years), is not looking as good for the Democrat as he might hope.   (more…)

Unable to defend Obama on Libya . . .
. . . deputy campaign manager blames Romney instead

Yesterday, at the gym, I caught myself laughing out loud at Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter responded to questions about the Libya, saying it was campaign issue because Mitt Romney has made it one.  In short, instead of responding to the questions, Cutter blamed Romney and Ryan for politicizing it.

I had thought I might blog on Miss Cutter’s deluded commentary.  But, by the time I got home, I realized that I wouldn’t need to.  Friends on Facebook linked a variety of posts mocking her for her commentary and demonstrating why it was so ludicrous.  Bloggers were taking her to task, with one sharp blogress contending that

The Obama campaign has now succeeded in heightening interest in an issue that is a loser for them, a debacle that goes to the president’s competence and credibility. Good luck with trying to hide from it now.

One blogger observed that even after “CNN helpfully refreshes her memory with a lowlight reel of White House spin,

[the] cornered flack falls back on her most basic impulse in a desperate situation: She blames the other party for making a big deal out of nothing. And by “nothing,” I mean the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three American consulate personnel.

Ace thinks this is a consummate Kinsleyan gaffe, revealing the Obama campaign’s survival instinct at its most rat-like in the aftermath of Benghazi.

This lady is just not good on defense. Instead of engaging her interlocutor, Cutter retreats to talking points.  “I’m seeing calls in the last few hours for OFA to fire her for these comments,” that blogger concluded, “but I hope they don’t. She helps us more than she does them.”  Indeed.

Joe Biden’s rude strategy

It’s clear“, writes Stacy McCain scoring Ryan the winner in last night’s debate, that Vice President Joe “Biden was advised to be aggressive, to bulldoze, interrupt and filibuster, to treat Ryan with contempt.”  “No doubt”, Fred Barnes concurs, “Biden was told to be aggressive.  No doubt he was told not to let Ryan get away with anything.  No doubt he was told not to let the moderator, ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz, restrain him.”

Seems the Obama team thought rude Joe would help the Democratic ticket, but it sure didn’t help them with one group which leans slightly toward the president’s party.  Women were particularly put off by the Vice President’s behavior.  Note that the three participants in this focus group who responded to Frank Luntz’s point about Biden’s interruption and occasional laughter were all women:

Even“, notes Ed Driscoll at Instapundit, CNN’s Gloria Borger admits, “He was condescending at times to Paul Ryan. I think I could have done with a lot less eye-rolling and chuckling on the part of Joe Biden.”

That said, this does seem to have played quite well with the Democrats’ face.  My liberal Facebook friends are beside themselves with glee; one offered, “Ok so maybe Biden shouldn’t have laughed and snickered so much…but how could you not when your debating Eddie Munster?”  FWIW, haven’t caught any of them praising Biden for defending Obama,  instead they’re hailing him for attacking Ryan.

Maybe they decided to make a test of the angry, rude Joe to see how it plays as a possible strategy for Obama next week.  This strategy looks like a winner if the goal is to fire up the base, but, it ends up, as David French puts it, making the Democratic “ticket less likable, thus continuing to squander a key favorability advantage.(more…)