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…)