It was Paul Ryan, the conservative, who kept his cool and made his points. He ably defended the proposed policies of the Romney/Ryan ticket. He pointed out the failures of the Obama administration without sounding shrill or nasty. He didn't mug for the camera, sigh, roll his eyes, or otherwise try to distract viewers from what his opponent was saying. He was a perfect gentleman.
He was the anti-Joe Biden.
A certain type of Democrat will take solace from Biden's performance. He was aggressive and on offense most of the night, accusing Romney of insulting his own mother and father with his 47 percent remark, and trying to scare seniors and middle-class workers into believing that the GOP ticket is only interested in tax cuts for the rich.
His blustery performance was an attempt to distract voters from the record of the Obama administration and the fact that neither he nor the president have a credible plan to improve the economy over the next four years.
He did what partisan Democrats were so disappointed that President Obama didn't do during his debate. He attacked the "enemy." The problem with that is that Independents and swing voters don't see Republicans as the enemy. They see an economy that is limping along, 23 million under or unemployed, failing wages and all the rest. They see a President who hasn't lived up to his promises or billing.
It is old liberal lions like Joe Biden who want to hold on to an unsustainable status quo when it comes to medicare, social security and other entitlements. He is the Crocker Jarman of this administration. And win or lose this election, his unaffordable, big union, welfare-state liberalism is on the way out.
UPDATE: Mike Barone agrees with Spencerblog.
Joe Biden appealed to Democratic partisans, firing them up by attacking and, even more often, smirking at Paul Ryan’s arguments. But smirks only work when your audience starts off agreeing with you. That would be the case with strong Democratic partisans, but it’s not at all that clear that it appeals to Independents, or to those who are undecided or moveable. He was trying to dismiss Ryan’s arguments as ridiculous, in line with Democratic talking points that no rational person could possibly agree with him, but I think that only works with people who are already convinced. He may have increased Democratic voters’ enthusiasm—down in the dumps after Barack Obama’s performance eight days ago—but he didn’t do much in the way of converting those who are not already converted.Sounds right.
Ryan beats Biden, 48 to 44. Sounds about where the overall race is, which is bad, bad news for Democrats.