The debate last night was good theater. Ryan did what he needed to do — come across as competent and intelligent and not make any big gaffes or stumbles. Biden did what he needed to do — throw some punches for his (weak, incompetent) boss and not make any big gaffes or stumbles. It was more or less a draw. My big takeaway, and the one I think most independents would agree with, is that the opponents’ performances will have opposite effects on their bosses.
Biden’s clear mastery of the subject matter (across a very wide spectrum of issues. Kudos to Martha Raddatz for her relentless focus on substantive issues.) and casual competence and the recall of an old, experienced hand were undeniable, and made obama look really really bad in comparison. If you weren’t thinking, “Why the hell is this guy the veep while the dumbass gets the big office?” then you are a koolaid addict.
Ryan’s youthful vigor and earnestness, along with his quick-witted responses and his own clear mastery of the subject matter, were also undeniable. He was also clearly a bit nervous and was outmaneuvered by Old Joe more than a few times, which highlights his youth and relative inexperience on the 2nd biggest stage in the world. That’s fine for the Repubs since he’s the veep candidate not the presidential, but it did have the effect of making Romney look like the more mature, seasoned side of the ticket.
Biden makes obama look much worse.
Ryan makes Romney look better.