Paul Ryan Is a Fiscal Expert Not a Debate Expert

paul ryanI thought the Vice Presidential debate was so interesting because it was really Joe Biden's to lose. After all, he just did this four years ago when he ran against Sarah Palin, he is a much older and more experienced debater and politician than Congressman Paul Ryan, and his personal strength is the warm touch. But something happened last night. It just felt like he was too focused on his performance and that he was overdoing the theatrics. At the end of the day all that finger pointing, the dramatic sighs and harumphs, and the overly confident references to his friend "Bibi" (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) came off as fake.

Congressman Paul Ryan, on the other hand, came off a little nervous but tenacious as all get out. He just wouldn't back down. I was impressed at his knowledge of foreign affairs given that he is known for being a fiscal expert. And I liked when he pointed out that our Ambassador in Paris has 24/7 protection while our Ambassador in Lybia, who reportedly had asked for it, didn't. (We now know Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in a terror attack, not a protest sparked by an Islamic film on youtube, as was initially reported.)

I felt bad for Ryan because I'm not sure the debate format is the best way for him to get his message of fiscal arrest and reform across to the public. He did a great job of refuting some of the misperceptions of his plan, like that it would cost seniors an additional $6,000 each, but the truth is the plan is so complex it might be better understood in a white paper or a lengthy newspaper or magazine article. It's hard to get a sense of the big picture and how it all ties together in 2 minute snippets.


Image via monkeyz_uncle/Flickr


2012 election


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Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

Great piece. For his first shot at this level, I thought Ryan did a great job. He was calm and collected, even though at some points it seemed he was debating two people. One of those people happened to be the Joker. Biden came off as a condescending ass, complete with inapropriate laughter and snickering. Many people are buying into Obamas complaint that RR are not being specific about their plans. I've read their plans and I don't see any way of being able to get specific and explain it in 2 minutes or less.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

Agreed HockeyMom. I don't know how much more specific they can get. It's not like they can pinpoint an exact date of when Romney's plans would start working. I, too, think Ryan should be proud of his performance. It was only his first time on such a big stage and he had to deal with two interrupting idiots. He maintained his composure, which I know I wouldn't have been able to do. I would've let Biden have it for all his rudeness and condescension. 

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

Fleur - exactly. Like when she asked Ryan when he would get unemployment to 6%. People said he was dodging the question. What was he supposed to say? August 30th 2013???

nonmember avatar krelia

Because the concept of a timeline is something our politicians shouldn't have? "Hey, well get Unemployment there. We just have no idea when. But trust us, we'll get there".

fleur... fleurdelys3110

HockeyMom -- I know! There's just no pleasing some people...especially those who refuse to open their minds to anything.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Krelia... as opposed to Obama who said "on Day 1, we will close Guantanamo"? Or "If I don't get this done in three years, than this is a one-term proposition"?

Obama/Biden is now saying "we need more time". They've had four years. How MUCH "more time"? If they get any more time, we're screwed.

nonmember avatar krelia

Regardless of party, when you give a timeline, you are basically telling the public you feel you have a plan good enough to overcome whatever you are trying to. Whether you manage it is another story. However, if you just say you'll accomplish something but no idea when, it gives the impression that your plan isn't really that good. Both O/B and R/R should be giving more concrete information. But, politics is politics.

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

krelia, ofcourse they should have a timeline. But lowering unemployment is subject to many factors, which I don't see how he could have explained that in under 2 minutes. I think people expect specifics at the debates when the 2 minute limit just doesn't allow for that. There put more specific info on their websites.

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