This next sentence will probably win the Understatement of the Year award: Joe Biden is not known to be eloquent. In fact, he’s known to be quite the opposite – a bumbling buffoon, a brainless backup classified by commentators as “impeachment insurance” for President Obama. But despite his reputation, expect Thursday’s debate to be a close match with his potential replacement, Paul Ryan.
Vice President Biden enters the contest knowing he’ll have to make up for the President’s anemic performance last Wednesday. Say what you will about the Obama campaign, but they, like the Republicans, can learn from mistakes. Expect Mr. Biden to be well-prepared for tomorrow’s bout – certainly more prepared than his boss.
On the other side of the coin, Rep. Paul Ryan is known to be an intellectual heavyweight within the GOP. You couldn’t ask for a clearer contrast with the Vice President. But while Biden has had (and often won) numerous debates during his failed presidential attempts, the same can’t be said for Ryan. In fact, I can’t remember Paul Ryan ever debating anyone about anything.
If Obama lost his debate – as some pundits say – because he hadn’t debated for a while, expect Paul Ryan to be equally “rusty,” at least at the outset.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Paul Ryan. He’s a young ideas man with a mastery of the political arts. But Thursday’s debate is not going to be the blowout that some are predicting, just as the last VP debate with Sarah Palin wasn’t. Expect this contest to be closely fought through-and-through.
Do not underestimate the mojo of an underdog.