To my mind, it was neither of these. It was less a debate and more a "Family Feud" with Martha Raddatz of ABC News functioning as half professional moderator and half Richard Dawson (he was my favorite) as host.
Mr. Ryan’s predictable response: You said the stimulus would fix the entire economy and it didn’t. But he had no responsible answer for increasing growth.
Ryan, for his part, demonstrated a surprising knowledge of foreign policy although it was disingenuous and bumbling. Again, he lacked substantive responses to the specifics of any Republican - much less the Romney-Ryan - plan for Iran's nuclear stockpiling, and agreed with the administration’s planned 2014 pullout from Afghanistan but still thought it was a bad idea, although he didn't really say why.
It's amazing to me that Romney-Ryan team continue to give us Republican policy "solutions" to the economy which mirror the very same Bush policies which got us into this mess in the first place.
Ryan talks about how abortion should be determined in the individual state legislatures while Romney knows that, if he's President, he can appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court and let them do all the heavy Tea Party lifting and reverse Roe v. Wade.
They seem oblivious to the fact that Religious Freedom not only guarantees freedom OF religion but freedom FROM religion. I'm not talking atheists here. I'm talking about the constitutional guarantee that no one will be forced to live under the religious ideologies of others. They also seem to have no clue that the "terrorists" they fear are religious ideologues whose perspective on women (and, wealth, poverty, human sexuality and religious freedom) is dangerously close to their own.
You hear it in the rhetoric of "takers" vs. "makers" and in Romney's despicable "47%" and Ryan's hateful "30%". You hear it in everything from the Republican tax plan, to their firm line on immigration to their aggressiveness on foreign policy - even suggesting that a war might be in the offing with Russia.
How will this all play out with the people?
Well, we have two more Presidential debates - the next one coming up on Tuesday. The President will have an opportunity to redeem his last, lack-luster debate performance. I expect him to work Romney over, demanding specifics and exposing his flip-flops and lies.
Have you noticed that the President lost points for being a "gentleman" and keeping his cool while Romney rudely interrupted and talked over both the President and the Moderator, but some people are lambasting Biden for being "rude" and "aggressive" while Ryan seemed to keep his cool for most of the evening - except, of course, when he sat there, looking at Biden as he exposed his duplicity, giving him his distinctive Eddie Munster smirks?
Makes me laugh when it doesn't drive me to tears of frustration.
It won't make any difference to those who are solidly Republican or Democrat, but it will make a huge difference in (1) continuing to energize the Democratic base, (2) hardening the resolve of the Republicans to get the Black man out of the White House and (3) swaying those "independent" or "undecided" voters, some of whom will be persuaded by style and others by substance.
On The Family Feud, it never really mattered how good your answer was or how charming you or your family appeared. As Richard Dawson used to say, "And, the survey says........".
I'm a Democrat but I'm also enough of an American to put solid money on the fact that democracy is higher on the list than ideology.