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October 12, 2012

The "D" After Obama/Biden Stands for "Disdain"

The first two debates have been illuminating.

In debate 1, an overconfident and underprepared Barack Obama had his lunch eaten by underdog challenger Mitt Romney. Given the chance to debate important issues seriously, Obama's demeanor made it plain that he thought the entire process was a waste of his valuable time. His body language telegraphed disengagement and disinterest. Rather than looking Romney in the eye while he was speaking, the President looked down at the lecturn with a little smile on his face. Distancing himself. Passively waiting for an end to all this tiresome discussion. You could almost hear his fingers drumming.

Even the President's supporters were unsettled by Obama's lack of seriousness and focus:

...Obama's inner circle was dismayed at the 'disaster' ...the central problem was that the President was so disdainful of Romney that he didn't believe he needed to engage with him.

'President Obama made it clear he wanted to be doing anything else - anything - but debate prep,' the Democrat said. 'He kept breaking off whenever he got the opportunity and never really focused on the event.

But what followed was even more unnerving. Faced with a decisive smackdown, what does Team Obama choose as a substantive response? Big Bird.

Their every statement reeks of contempt for their opponents and disdain for voters, who deserve more from their leaders. More engagement. More concern. More involvement.

On to Debate 2, where VP Joe Biden proceeded to double down on his boss's oddly inappropriate performance:

Biden interrupted 82 times during the entire debate,” the RNC’s Joe Pounder tweeted after the debate. CNN’s Gloria Berger said that she would have liked Biden to show less “condescension” and “eye-rolling.”

Even Chris Wallace — who thought that Biden won the debate — said that Biden “was openly contemptuous and disrespectful” of Ryan.

But what bothered me most wasn't Biden's obvious disdain for Paul Ryan. How does a Vice President get away with smiling and laughing during a discussion of Iran's nuclear aspirations and Benghazi debacle? Four Americans murdered and the White House response is that this wouldn't even be newsworthy if it weren't for the Romney/Ryan campaign bringing it up.

Stunningly clueless and dismissive.

Given the chance to correct his boss's disastrous lack of seriousness, our Vice President laughs and smirks. Over, and over, and over again. It's Al Gore's sigh, writ large: one of those unintentionally revealing gestures that come to define a candidate:

And then, suddenly, it's over:

Closing statements. Biden doesn’t look directly into the camera or thank Ryan for the spirited debate. Ryan does both.

I suspect that moments like this, the gestalt of the debates - surface impressions, body language, facial gestures and verbal tics - are what will resonate the most with viewers. And so far, the message Team "D" is projecting is that are having trouble taking any of this seriously. It's all just so beneath them.

That's not a winning image.

Posted by Cassandra at October 12, 2012 05:07 AM

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It was a train wreck. It was just about unwatchable.

There is, Cass, an underlying message to all this, as you pointed out. I hope enough people that are 'undecided' draw the actaul conclusion from these 'debates'.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 12, 2012 09:29 AM

Well, in fairness, disdain is the default position for liberals when thinking or writing about conservatives. It's nice when you encounter something else, but you can't expect it.

Posted by: Grim at October 12, 2012 09:38 AM

I hate to tell you this, given the sanctimonious brainwashing the LSM has subjected we, the little people to, but here it goes:

We the people drew the same conclusions. It is all over Facebook, Twitter, even the LSM is braying its betrayal as to how this could have happened. It happened because I think Obama and Biden believed their own press. They became legends in their own minds.

More disturbingly, though, is their arrant/errant assumption that we the people do not know what is good for us, hence the condescension and boredom by both candidates.

I find this troublesome in light of election fraud. It is as if they are going through the motions because the outcome is already in the bag.

Posted by: Carolyn at October 12, 2012 10:32 AM

Biden is a buffoon. If I was a Democrat I would be embarrassed. Ryan looked like a earnest young man trying to debate a snake oil salesman. He learned last night that it can't be done. I doubt the needle moves much either way, though. Joe doesn;t inspire confidence.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 12, 2012 10:40 AM

Ryan was treated with contempt by both Biden and Martha, who should have moderated the debate. In spite of that smackdown, Ryan managed to get a few points across and stay on message. You saw it as earnestness; he did will considering he was up against a pathological giggler and his hag.

Yes, I am in a testy mood, and no offense is lobbed at you, dear spd. I am finishing up an earth science project for my son. Finishing touches are not his forte.

Posted by: Carolyn at October 12, 2012 11:10 AM

"Ryan looked like a earnest young man trying to debate a snake oil salesman"
A snake oil salesman in the throes of a severe Tourette's episode, but one with a much higher IQ than the average bear.

Posted by: Zigman Schadenfreude - Joe's Shrink at October 12, 2012 11:47 AM

It's hard for me to be objective :p

Last night during the first 20 minutes of the debate I wrote a short post about Biden. I wondered why there were no comments, but when I finally checked, I never posted it!

Too funny!

I'm inclined to agree with spd, though (always a wise idea) - this doesn't move the needle much.

In my estimation, that's bad for Obama b/c he needed a game changer and what he got was more of the status quo. Maybe he halts the slide, max.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 12, 2012 11:59 AM

A columnist last week tried to imagine Obama's advisors telling him he had to take the debate seriously, and Obama saying, oh, fine, I'll go, but I'm not going to be dragged into some kind of debate with him.

And then last night we got Unca Hyuk Hyuk.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 12, 2012 12:11 PM

They don't need to listen to anyone else. They don't need to go to briefings. They're smarter than us - well, they have better college degrees, anyway - so they don't really care what we have to say. It's irrelevant. They know what's best for us and they're going to give it to us. Good and hard.

So you can see why listening to other folks is boring for them.

Posted by: RonF at October 12, 2012 02:28 PM

"Biden Right to Laugh at Sniveling Little Ryan" - Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

"Biden Re-Energizes Dispirited Dems" - Jared Bernstein, Huffington Post

Posted by: Texan99 at October 12, 2012 04:23 PM

Well, Biden pretty much did his job then.

No one is sitting there thinking that Romney and Obama are pretty much equal, so they are going to vote for the better VP.

Biden energizes the base, but is unlikely to flip undecideds over to Romney.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 12, 2012 05:01 PM

Ryan, likely did his job too.

The Republican base is already excited and Ryan showed the undecideds that he and Romney are not the monsters they've been portrayed as.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 12, 2012 05:03 PM

I would bet donations to both camps went up.

Posted by: TexasMom2012 at October 12, 2012 06:42 PM

When the best thing the democrats have going for them is the slightly senile, drunk uncle that everyone tolerates but no one really likes, you know their party is in serious trouble.

Posted by: Dale at October 12, 2012 07:06 PM

I wonder if there is a derivatives market in betting on the election.

Just sayin..

Posted by: Carolyn at October 13, 2012 11:01 AM

I think the best line I read the day of the debate wrt Uncle Joe was: Joe Biden is like going to a NASCAR race - you just sit there and wait for the wreck to happen.
Can't remember where I saw it, but it was such an apt description that it stuck in my head.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 13, 2012 02:58 PM

"Their every statement reeks of contempt for their opponents "

That characterizes how liberals engage with the rest of the world. I am continually shocked by their arrogance and presumptuousness.

Posted by: kavu at October 13, 2012 03:45 PM


Intrade. And I think Obama is leading.

Good time to buy short on that.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 14, 2012 12:49 PM