Tag Archives: Debate

The vice-presidential debate: Style and substance

Charles Krauthammer said it well: If you watched the debate on TV, Paul Ryan won. If you listened to it on the radio, Joe Biden won.

I listened to the debate in audio only, on C-SPAN radio, and at several points got the impression that Ryan was bested. Biden, with his easy, drĂ´le manner of speaking, seemed to communicate his points well and effectively. Ryan’s cadence is a bit stilted and calculated, and contrasts oddly with Biden’s; it seemed he came across like a butler, focused solely on the job, dispassionate in comparison with Biden and disconnected from the people.

But then there’s the video. This vice president made a mockery of his own office. He was a caricature. Speaking with passion is a gift and a strength, and can be used effectively while advocating a good and righteous message, but this was passion laced with derision. It was not vice-presidential, but more importantly it was not presidential–and both candidates needed to prove their suitability for that position, since either one could eventually assume it.