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The BBC’s instant reaction was that Ryan won

Last night, I watched the Biden/Ryan debate on my television, courtesy of the BBC. Mostly I only watched it. I kept switching the sound on, being disgusted by the disgustingness of what was being said and of how it was being said, and silencing it again. All I wanted to know was the score. Who won, and by how much? Thanks to the internet, I could see immediate reactions, while it was happening and as soon as it ended, many of them via Instapundit.

I agree with those who say that Ryan won, for all the reasons they are saying. Biden squirted forced merriment on matters that required solemnity and gravitas rather than grinning and interrupting. Ryan looked like a Vice President, Biden like his failing and flailing challenger, and not merely to me. If you want to learn more of my opinions about this debate, I blogged about it last night, here. I didn’t put that here because I was very tired and feared putting something very silly. I stayed up very late.

I did note one circumstance of mild general interest, and particularly, perhaps, of American interest, which I have not noticed anyone else noticing. The BBC lady who was present at the debate and who commented on it as soon as it had finished scored it a narrow win for Ryan. She started by calling it a tie, but then said that since Biden needed to win (to get some momentum back for Obama following his Debate One fiasco) but did not win, that alone meant that Biden had lost. For Biden, it was mission not accomplished. Then she mentioned Biden’s grinning and interrupting, and said that many would probably not have cared for that. So, a Ryan win then.

What other BBC people are now saying about this debate, I do not know. But I think it mildly interesting that their instant verdict on the debate was in favour of Ryan, albeit narrowly.

49 comments to The BBC’s instant reaction was that Ryan won

  • Alisa

    If one knew nothing at all about Obama, all one needed to know was that he picked Biden as his VP.

  • Lee Moore

    I watched in in much the same way – turning the sound on for a bit until it became too annoying, and then turning it off again and getting on with other things. I share the general right wing opinion looked calm and sensible and Biden looked decidedly odd.

    But as far as the actual words were concerned I thought that Biden’s steady stream of “facts” when he was talking and and interruptions when Ryan was talking was quite effective at preventing viewers being able to discern reality. It sounded like they were exchanging their versions of the truth and there was no way to tell which was reality and which fantasy. In particular Ryan seldom got a run of more than a sentence or two to develop and explain his point of view, and he didn’t seem to be capable of getting his essential point into the first sentence or two. So so long as you weren’t put off by Biden’s buffoonery, it seemed like a draw to me.

    I wasn’t too impressed by the questions and Martha’s follow ups. She obviously knows something about foreign affairs, and so on those questions she had plausible follow ups to probe the candidates replies. But on domestic policy (when we eventually got round to it) she seemed to have done little more preparation than skimming liberal platitudes. I doubt she was trying to be biased, but on domestic policy the questioning was helpful to Biden.

  • debbie

    Its all bread and circuses any more…:(

  • Laird

    I agree with Lee. On matters of substance they seemed to come out pretty much even. However, I found Biden’s buffoonery and general demeanor off-putting, while Ryan came across as, well, if not actually presidential, at least serious. Biden sometimes seemed to be parodying himself on Saturday Night Live. However, I suspect that was calculated on his part: he was playing to the Democratic base, trying to get them re-energized after Obama’s lackluster performance last week. And he might have succeeded at that; time will tell. But I doubt that he swayed any independents or undecideds, and in fact may have pushed some away. So in total I don’t think Biden’s performance helped Obama’s cause and may even have hurt it marginally. On the other hand Ryan’s didn’t hurt Romney at all, which is probably the best one can hope for in a VP debate.

  • Rob

    A Republican with Biden’s gaffe-prone nature would have been crucified by the US media.

  • My impression is that a VP debate doesn’t have any impact unless one of the candidates really messes up big time. Neither of them did that last night, so I would rate the impact of the debate on the race to be essentially none at all.

    (I personally think Ryan is a somewhat more serious candidate than Biden could ever be, but I doubt it matters much).

  • Snorri Godhi

    This is all what I have seen of the debate, and I don’t feel the urge to see any more:

  • But I think it mildly interesting that their instant verdict on the debate was in favour of Ryan, albeit narrowly.

    I am afraid that the years of postings I did for Biased BBC (before blog fatigue set in) have made me instantly think that the only plausible explanation is that the Beeboid was investing a smidgen of mild praise for the Romney / Ryan ticket in order to have some credibility built up ready for the damning verdict against Romney she must supply when the presidential candidates have their next debate, irrespective of what may actually be said.

    Note this calculation occurs below the conscious level.

  • In my last post it was too harsh of me to say that was “only plausible explanation”. I got carried away. But I still maintain that to a media person of her class and type, to instantly calculate how best to help Obama and then do it is as natural and instinctive as a tennis player instantly calculating where an opponent’s serve is headed and then hitting the ball back. It’s what they do.

  • Alisa

    I don’t think that Biden is ‘gaffe-prone’, I think he is a compulsive liar.

  • Alisa

    Case in point, fresh from last-night’s debate – and there are many others.

  • Alisa

    That’s a very good one there, Snorri. Anyone know whether the two sides of the screen were originally concurrent?

  • Natalie

    Another reason for actually trying to tell the truth about a televised debate is that lots of people just saw it, and would know if she was talking obvious rubbish about it. Maybe that went through her mind, even as she moved from tie to Ryan win.

    The more I look at this whole campaign, the more I wonder how things would be if there were no TV debates.

    Media bias would be much worse, I think.

  • RRS

    Estimated TV audience approximately 40,000,000; C-SPAN and Internet viewers not measured.

    Radio or other audio audience not reported.

    Transcript about evenly balanced in terms of effective content.

    The real point is not “win or lose,” rather it is what came across to the viewing public which was apparently the larger segment of those who will be affected by that event.

    The Biden mode of presentation and reflections of “responses” distracted from any content which appears in the transcript. Few will read the transcript.

    Biden was unable to return the Obama campaign to an effective focus as a referendum on Romney. Instead, the historic case of the referendum on the incumbent (as restored by the Romney-Obama debate) remains, and that is what counts out of the results from that event.

  • Alisa

    Lee, that’s the link that Snorri posted (and I reposted). Again, the question is if the montage was made from concurrent clips.

  • Lee Moore

    How polite you are Alisa. Few would have managed to avoid saying “pay attention, you blithering idiot !”

    Which only goes to prove that I am an average voter. I am paying attention. Almost 10% of the time.

  • Alisa

    LOL, Lee!

    No one answered my question, though…:-)

  • Alisa

    And please, please, please don’t tell me to watch the whole damn thing…

  • Snorri Godhi

    Hi Alisa: I guess that the Democrats will let us know pretty soon if the video was “photoshopped”.
    WRT your thinking that Biden’s main fault is compulsive lying: I read somewhere that 40% of Americans associate “Joe Biden” with “idiot”.
    But probably that 40% was not the audience that Biden was trying to impress.

  • Snorri Godhi

    A thought about the BBC’s instant reaction: could it be a cultural thing? could it be that sophisticated Britons recoil from Biden’s brashness, believing that debate opponents should be ridiculed in a much more subtle manner?

  • SG

    Re the cultural vibes. Yes, I think Biden is very much Britain’s, and Europe’s, idea of the Ugly American. Ryan, in contrast, seems much more European in atmosphere, more intellectual, academic. He looks a bit French.

  • veryretired

    SWMBO wanted to watch after all the fuss about the 1st debate last week, so of course we did.

    Well, she suffered through it. I went in the kitchen and watched the baseball game and did other stuff on my ipad.

    I heard enough to not be surprised either by the blarney or the interrupting or the bs questions.

    But then I’m not an undecided or a moderate. I wouldn’t vote for the current regime for night watchmen at the dog pound.

  • I just cannot see why anybody gives a shit about this election. Both candidates are ghastly, awful people, and both of them are and/or will be catastrophic as president.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    But now imagine a short Republican ad showing Biden smirking and twitching and giggling… no audio, just the banner “This is the man the Democrats want to be America’s backup president… he’s talking about four American deaths… and he’s lying.”

    They could probably do a couple of these from different parts of the debate, with slightly different banners. Not that the ‘pubbies would ever do anything so unladylike.

  • Richard Thomas

    I was very underwhelmed by the debate. It didn’t seem like either of them landed a solid blow.

    Alisa, yes, they were side by side at least on our TV. Not sure if there was any “creative” editing going on there but it looks pretty much as I remember it.

    One thing we did notice was that Ryan’s camera was pretty rock-steady where Biden’s was wobbling all over the place. I’m not sure what that’s about.

    I did think that a master-stroke of Biden’s would have been to hand Ryan a handkerchief. About 2/3rds through, he started sniffing. He did the same all the way through an interview on Fox News Sunday last week. I’m hoping it’s just allergies (IYKWIM).

  • Regional

    Wouldn’t it be easier to sit in a lounge chair?

  • Julie near Chicago

    I watched it a couple of hours ago–unable last night.

    Maybe I was just in a rotten mood, but they both made me want to throw up.

    (Ryan less so, of course. Biden lieth srough hith teessse, & knoweth it.)

    Here’s why: They were like 2 lions fighting over whether it’s better to eat the entire living body, or whether they should only eat the tastier parts. (For the good of the rest–!!!–of course.)

    I understand that Romney-Ryan can’t campaign on the undiluted libertarian-Randite anti-slavery platform, as I have squawked here often enough. But they don’t have to embrace publically the idea that it’s morally OK to tax “the rich” just a leeeeeetle bit more than everybody else. (Interestingly, Romney managed not to go there.) Ryan could actually have said something just as an aside to the effect that “of course, it’s actually not just or moral or fair to tax ‘the rich’ any more than anybody else.” That way, at least R&R would be on record…and 3 or 4 of us would have heard it, and given a silent cheer.

    Who “won” the debate? Martha, that’s who.

    Oh, naturally I’ll still vote for R&R (except–well, this IS Illinois. Is there ANY chance it’ll go Red? Assuming not, I might vote 3rd party). But….

    OTOH, Ryan’s sensible enough given his premises, and he’s a likable guy. Wish he’d gone on the attack more.

    He did OK…. Biden lost, Ryan was as above, Martha

  • Paul Marks

    As predicted, Biden and the “Moderator” broke all the rules – to try and prevent Paul Ryan speaking.

    However, Ryan won anyway.

    Romney needs to expect to be debating two people (Obama and the “Moderator”) next week – and he now knows (if he did not before the Ryan debate) that none of the rules of the debate will be respected.

    Also, I believe, that next week’s debate is a “Townhall” – so Romney will have to fight a rigged (and trained) crowd. As well as Obama and the “Moderator”.

    Oh well if Romney loses there is always the Republic of Texas (and so on).

  • Paul

    You say: “However” Ryan won. It might be more accurate on this particular occasion, to say: “Therefore” Biden lost. It was Biden’s weird behaviour – forced, humourless laughing while Ryan was talking – that was the most obvious, vote-influencing fact about this debate. And one reason he did this was because he was allowed to.

    A less biased – some might merely say “more interventionist” or “more bossy” – moderator might have told Biden, early on, to shut it when Ryan was talking. Or she might have had that effect, with no words, by her mere presence. Biden might then have behaved better, and it would probably then have been a draw. Strictly in terms of what voters made of it, I mean. Maybe even a Biden win.

    I entirely understand why Michael Jennings, Perry de Havilland et al think that this whole thing is not worth bothering with. But the details of how ideas and arguments -atmospherics as well as just intellectual content – impact, or do not impact, upon the wider culture has always fascinated me. As with other kinds of human action, unintended consequences abound.

    As I and others keep on insisting, the degree to which the media are not just biased, but now widely seen by a significant number of voters to be biased, are key variables in this election.

  • Snorri Godhi

    And now for some comic relief:

    Scroll down to the video and swallow your coffee before play.
    (NB: the video does not include Lindsay Lohan.)

  • Alisa

    Thanks, Richard. (And yes, IKWYM:-)).

  • Alisa

    Here, Snorri, without Lohan’s distraction. Although it is also nice to see that she hasn’t drunk as much koolaid as the rest of them.

  • Alisa


  • Snorri Godhi

    Yes, Alisa, but if you go straight to youtube, the video starts before you have time to swallow your coffee.

  • Paul Marks

    Brian – yes you make a good argument (I stand corrected).

    Biden’s rule breaking (and the Moderator’s tolerance of it ) actually hurt him. It destroyed the “kidly uncle” image that the regime spin doctors have created for him.

    It is as if Michelle Obama (now cast by the msm as a Wonderwomen who loves everyone) came on television and started reading her (hate filled) Princeton thesis – or repeating her 2008 comments about the nomination of Barack was the “first time in my adult life” that she had been proud of America.

    As for the wildly false laughter (which even seemed to go into part of the section on Libya (before Joe Biden concentrated on LYING about the Administration not knowing the embassy was wide open to attack – and pretending that that Administration had not lied by claiming that a long planned attack on September 11th was a “protest about a Youtube film”) he reminded my of Ian Duncan Smith – of all people.

    IDS is a serious man – not given to displays of emotion. But he was told that laughing made him seem “more human” and “defused attacks by making them seem silly” – so he was taught to laugh, falsely and all the time.

    The resulting radio interview (where IDS, although in reality quite sane, came over as someone suffering from a mental illness) effectively killed off his leadership.

    By the way…..

    The Economist magazine is still (weeks later) not reporting that the Administration lied about the attack in Libya – it just attacked ROMNEY over the matter (some weeks ago).

    This should not surprise anyone – as the front cover of the Economist magazine this week admits it is part of the Progressive movement (Romney of course is “Progressive Lite” [the words of his supporter Glenn Beck] so they may still end up endorsing him) and the lead article is all about how wonderful David Lloyd George and T. Roosevelt were – by laying the foundations of the Welfare State and by “trust busting”, “competition policy” (i.e. the scam where high priced low quality goods are forced on customers – by government hitting efficient producers, in order to help less efficient but POLITICALLY CONNECTED enterprises).

    Then it went on to praise the increase government “investment” (schools, “income transfer to the poor” and so on) in various Latin American countries.

    Almost needless to say – a real blow against “inequality” (the Economist magazine seems to regard inequality as some sort of crime – or, at least, pretends to) was not mentioned.

    The primary source or artificial (as opposed to natural) inequality is the increase credit money supply (the “cheap” or “easy” money policy), it has been know since Richard Cantillon’s time (the 1700s) that, once the boom-bust had done its work, that the people who benefit are mostly rich and the people who are hurt are mostly poor.

    It is not even a “zero sum game” as the people who are hurt are hurt more than the people who are helped are helped – so it is actually a “negative sum game”.

    If one wants to know the real reasons why there is such extreme inequlity in so many Latin American nations – the long term monetary expansion (the policy of “cheap” or “easy” money) is perhaps the most important reason.

    And in the Economist magazine leading article on how to reduce inequality how much was there on this?

    Not a word – an not surprisingly as they are the leading cheer leaders for ever more bank bailouts and general “monetary stimulus”.

    Those people who were shocked by the Economist magazine endorsement of John Kerry (the most left voting United States Sentor of the time) in 2004 and Barack Obama (who voted even to the left of Kerry) in 2008, should not have been.

    And the January 2009 cover (a smilely Comrade Barack with the obscene cover title “The Renewal of America”) confirmed it.

    The Economist magazine is a Progressive journal – part of the Progressive movement. This should have been obvious to anyone long before this week (when it put its support of the Progressive Era and the Progressive Movement, literally front and centre – in case someone living in Outer Mongolia had not yet worked out that this is not a “free market”, “roll back the state” publication).

    This is why, if the Economist magazine finally does endorse Romney, I will regard it as a deeply disturbing development.

  • Lee Moore

    I think you can relax, Paul. The Economist is not going to endorse Romney over Obama. The Economist is not the BBC or the Guardian, it’s progressive, but it doesn’t regard business as essentially a criminal activity, as Jeff Randall once described the BBC attitude. It’s just conceivable that if Romney won in 2012, they might endorse him in 2016, depending on who his opponent was and how he’d done in his first four years. But endorsing him over Obama would be, well, racist. The Editor could never show his face in polite society again. Not gonna happen.

  • Lozza

    Re Rob 6.54 pm. I agree. The A(ustralian)BC unwittingly acknowlededgd the Ryan win in the opposite way to the BBC. They virtually ignored it [and the Romney/Obama debate for the same reason]. Gave cursory minimal mention in the news, but then nothing much. But if Ryan or Romney had made a ‘gaffe’ then the current affairs shows would have had commentators, pundits etc, rehashing it over and over again, with the ‘gaffe’ continually being replayed. By their omissions shall one know them…

  • Andrew

    More interesting for me, was how the BBC reported this in the evening of the following day. Interesting, iin that the usual obvious BBC bias towards the Democrats was largely gone, and they accurately conveyed what most people thought of the debate, who ‘won’ but more imporantly, why Biden didn’t as discussed here. As I say, interesting and presumably there’s now some sort of positioning going on for a Romney victory in the forthcoming election.

  • Snorri Godhi

    There is another idea that just came to me, but it’s a pretty wild guess.
    You remember how Romney had that self-confident, sort of paternalistic smile in the 1st debate, while Obama looked like he felt guilty for the last 4 years? My idea is that the campaign staff decided that Biden should act more like Romney than like Obama. Biden took note of that, then turned the knob all the way up.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I don’t think that’s such a wild guess, Snorri. Also, “We All Cheered” (or at least I and some of my pals did) at the way Romney took over as steerer in the first debate and Jim Lehrer was left sort of squeaking in the dust thereafter. Romney talked over him, and he and Obama got to talking over each other by spells.

    I think possibly Miss Martha decided (or, heck, was told) there’d be none of that on HER watch. And at the end, when she kept repeating the question as to precisely what was the Romney Plan, she was quite right that Paul Ryan simply wouldn’t answer her straight out. Finally he did, sort of but not exactly, when he waffled something about “depending on circumstances” or whatever it was. If that was the answer–and it’s a perfectly good answer and probably true–he should have said so directly and comprehensibly the first time she asked. And, I have to say that I myself was frustrated that he wouldn’t answer her. I kept yelling at him in my head, “Say something, you dang fool!”

    Sometime last spring (I think), I ran across a YouTube of Fox’s Meghan Kelly interviewing some leftist lowlife–don’t remember who. I remember being so impressed with her interviewing! She remained courteous and respectful throughout, but she was a dog with a bone and would NOT permit the guy to get away with non-answers. She was much harder on him than Miss Martha was on Ryan…and I cheered.

  • Alisa

    Megyn Kelly is brilliant (and gorgeous).

  • Julie near Chicago

    Absolutely agree, Alisa! Both counts.

    Apologies to Miss Kelly for Orthographical Incorrectness. :>(


  • Paul Marks

    Another debate – Romney verus Comrade Barack.

    I was downstairs at at 0500 (not because I wanted to watch the debate – which was not repeated on Fox News till 0600 anyway, but because I was having another bad night), but I found I could only watch snatches.

    Although I do not like the man, I can watch and listen to Romney – no problem.

    However, when Barack Obama starts speaking (in one of his several fake voices) I find myself unable to watch or listen (as I change station and do not know when to change back on I miss a lot of Romney as well).

    A pity as this means, in the unlikely event that Barack ever publically confesses and repents, I will miss it.

  • Alisa

    You have a rather wicked sense of humor, Paul:-)