After watching the vice presidential debate last night, I now have no doubt in my mind for whom I will vote. After watching the debate last night, I simply can’t understand how Republican vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan convinced any undecided voters for the Romney/Ryan vote. Or, maybe more appropriate, the Ryan/Romney vote.
Paul Ryan is sneaky. He’s charming and eloquent. But is he honest? Absolutely not.
After watching last night, nothing bothered me more than Ryan’s smug, condescending smile whenever Vice President Joe Biden was talking. While Biden was admittedly laughing at Ryan, Ryan’s facial expressions were simply disrespectful. There was no sense of equality. There was smugness. There was an assumption that he was the superior candidate.
Biden misspoke. He took long pauses. But he also had answers. Martha Raddatz asked directly about taxes. She said answer simply. Biden did that. Paul Ryan talked about growing the economy, never directly answering the question that was asked. Raddatz also commented on the nastiness of the campaign. While Biden said there are things that both sides regretted, Ryan attacked President Obama, reinforcing the nastiness of the campaign.
My favorite question of the night was probably one of the more controversial ones. How does religion, specifically both candidates’ Catholic faith, play into their viewpoints on abortion? Ryan, this time, actually answered the question. Also, for the only time all night, he specifically mentioned a Romney administration — he usually dons it the “Romney/Ryan administration.” Biden never puts his name next to Obama. Never. The president is the person who runs the administration. Ryan’s comments puts to question who’s really in charge of the campaign.
Going further on the religious issue, I could tell Biden took the question personally. His tone and his demeanor changed. His voiced dropped. I could tell he felt every word he said. Listening to what Biden said at that point, that he accepts the church’s doctrine in his personal life, but refuses to impose that doctrine on others, convinced me that Biden is truly an honest man, a quality that many politicians lack. Ryan, on the other hand, kept mentioning how he supported the Catholic doctrine, and how everyone should support that view. Biden, visibly offended, mentioned how Ryan wanted to gut social programs, a violation of the Catholic faith.
One of the most important exchanges of the night occurred during the Medicare discussion. We all know what each candidate is going to say in terms of policy and procedure. Their answers were unsurprising, but Ryan was especially belligerent and overtly political when he said to Biden that he was under pressure to make up lost ground by interrupting him. Interruptions do happen, especially in a debate. Snark has its place, but that moment was not it.
Another key exchange: the tax increase question that Ryan so overtly avoided. Raddatz constantly asked for specifics on Ryan’s (note: not Romney’s) tax plan. Ryan responded by saying that he’s like Jack Kennedy. To quote Lloyd Bentsen, “You’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Ryan had the same talking points over and over again when it came to foreign policy. He had no specifics about anything, not Afghanistan, not Syria, not Iraq, not Iran, not Libya, not anything. When pressed, he basically said he would do nothing different than what was already being done.
That debate, unfortunately, made me quite angry. I didn’t like Paul Ryan’s mannerisms or attitude. He’s smoother than a used car salesman, slicker than an oil spill. I can’t vote for a ticket when I can’t trust either candidate. Hell, I can’t vote for a ticket where I’m not even sure who would be the one running the show.
Nirbhay Jain is an LSA sophomore.