It's entirely understandable if viewers who tuned into last night's vice-presidential debate promptly switched to the baseball or football games. Watching the debate was a disappointingly unedifying experience. Although not entirely. If, for example, we want the man who stands only a heartbeat away from the presidency to be a rude, ill-mannered, boorish buffoon then we certainly learned last evening that Joe Biden is our man.
Taking a page from the debate tactics of Chris Matthews and Sean Hannity - never let your opponent complete a sentence, talk over him so he can't be heard, and mock him at every turn - Mr. Biden was successful beyond the hopes of even the most partisan Democrat at preventing the viewer from actually learning much of anything about how Republicans would address the grave problems facing the country.
If one were to read the transcript of the debate one might come to the conclusion that both men did reasonably well, but watching it on split-screen television, Mr. Biden's arguments, whatever their merits, were rendered moot by his obnoxious discourtesies directed at his opponent. Focussing on what Ryan was saying was extremely difficult with Biden guffawing on camera at almost every argument and claim Ryan made.
It's really too bad. The American people want to cast an informed vote, but the Democratic candidate made sure that few people who tuned in to last night's "debate" would be more informed when it ended than they were when it started.