He was brash, he was bold, he was even a bit cantankerous, but most of all Mr. Biden was simply smokin!
A more subtle defense of the policies Democrats espouse must be lying around in some think-tank inside the beltway. However, not only did Joe Biden not get the memo, he brought the right ammo and liberals across America must be awash in apoplectic euphoria over the events Thursday night in Danville. Mr. Biden proffered a tenacious and at times pugnacious defense of his administration's policies while simultaneously making the case for their continuance.
While thrown off balance with initial questions on Libya, he redirected adroitly and spent the remaining time batting away the volleys of Congressman Ryan on taxes, Medicare and foreign policy. It was scintillating, if not outright savage the way he attacked the Romney-Ryan premise of all that ills America currently. More importantly, nothing was left in the toolbox. Not Romney's callous 47% nor Ryan's 30% comments on "those" Americans who are less than responsible "takers" from society. While Mr. Ryan railed about the usual suspects of big government growth, he was less "candid" on his prior voting record and even less forthright when issues of specifics arose again about Governor Romney's tax plan. Biden, however would'nt have it and was always quick to press him on the vagueness and aloofness of his and Romney's proposals. Specifically, he punctured Ryan on his personal requests for stimulus even while he has continued to denigrate the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as being largely ineffective. He was also quick to brand Ryan's foreign policies proposals as more bluster than substance, particularly on Afghanistan, where he seemed out of his depth. Ryan continued to muddy the specifics on Medicare by denying that his premium support options would not hurt future seniors benefits.
But perhaps the sharpest exchange of the night came in a squabble about how bipartisanship would move Romney's tax plans through a now feckless Congress. In a moment errily reminiscent of the 1988 Vice Presidential debate between Senators Quayle and Bentsen, Ryan quipped that John Kennedy had lowered taxes and raised revenues while Biden shot back with "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy"! This came on the heels of Biden's earlier observations of having been personally present during the Reagan administration when then Speaker Tip O'neill fashioned a deal with Republicans on tax cuts.
Overall, Biden's performance was in stark contrast to President Obama's somewhat listless performance over a week ago and perhaps it will lay the foundation for similar attacks against Romney, who has so far escaped more incendiary scrutiny before a debate audience. Tonight, we saw once again the Romney campaign's issues of specifics and credulity being called into question. If Mr. Obama has real designs on four more years at his current residence he will revisit the unbridled and unapologetic rhetoric used by Biden to make the final case for himself. Whether or not he can catch the Biden lightning in a bottle over the remaining weeks is debatable, but if he goes on to victory, this will no doubt be the watershed moment where exasperation met perspiration, culminating in devastation. Tonight, smokin' Joe went to the final bell.