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Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Joe Bein' Joe

"Sometimes I am foolish
I let it get the best of me
At least I know that my mistakes
Are my responsibility
And....

I just have to laugh to keep from crying
I just have to laugh to keep from crying"

~ Madonna: 'Laugh to Keep From Crying'
Seems the Vice President had an attack of the Hee-Hee Ha-Ha's last night..

Everything that VP nominee Paul Ryan said made Biden laugh out loud-- economic issues, the Romney/Paul platform, Iran, Libya..  just about everything discussed.

The debate moderator, ABC senior foreign correspondent Martha Raddaz didn't do much laughing though.. Maybe she was too busy reflecting back to President Obama attending her 1991 wedding to groom Julius Genachowski, (he and Obama were Harvard Law School classmates at the time and members of the Harvard Law Review). Obama would later tap Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission...

Who knows..

The Vice President sure was having a good ole' time though
 Maybe it was uber-confidence that he was destroying his debate opponent by being the old mangy attack mutt-dog that the President either couldn't be last week or didn't have in him to be...  Maybe the VP had just arrived from a dentist appointment where the nitrous oxide gas hadn't fully worn off.. Or maybe senility creeping in.

We certainly hope not the last one.. Biden is 70 years old and we here at A&G know many at or around that age, so it would be scary if reaching that magical age was a harbinger of such demonstrations of dementia-like unpredictability.

Personally, we don't care who 'won' or 'lost' this debate just like we really didn't care in last week's Presidential debate.  But we know many others seem to...  So let's see what media and political people of various political affiliations on Twitter had to say about Biden's performance last night:

Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein: “Biden’s strategy seems to be to laugh at Ryan constantly. Will it work to infantalize Ryan, or backfire like Gore sighing?”
NBC’s David Gregory: “Biden’s smile is out of control.”

Radio host Neal Boortz: “Looking like Biden’s gameplan is to laugh his way through this.”

Townhall.com’s Guy Benson: “Will Biden laugh his ass off at the terrible economy, too?”

MSNBC’s S.E. Cupp: “Biden needs to laugh a little less through the Libya, Middle East, nuclear Iran segment.”

Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “Ok. I have decided. I find the Biden smile slightly unsettling.”

PBS’ Jeff Greenfield: “Biden has always had a smile that at times is really, really inappropriate.”

Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard: “Can’t tell yet if Biden’s smirking, laughs, eye-rolling, head shaking, works for him or not against the oh-so-young looking eager Ryan.”
The New York Times’ Ashley Parker: “Biden’s grin is Chesire Cat caliber.”

Republican strategist Ron Bonjean: “Biden laughing does not come off with the intended effect. It is actually hurting him. Looks very condescending.”

Movie critic Roger Ebert: “Joe! Stop smiling and laughing!”

Washington Times’ Emily Miller: “Biden laughing when he disagrees with Ryan is so annoying. Like a child in time out.”

Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “Biden’s laughing is losing the debate- obnoxious”

Comedy Central’s Indecision: “If this keeps up much longer, Joe Biden’s going to sprain his laugh muscles.”
Yes, a lot of laughing and grinning..  But maybe that's OK...  Even psychologically healthy to laugh to stop one self from crying...

Last week's Presidential debate was a disaster for the Democrat ticket causing a dramatic shift in the polls toward Romney especially in key swing states.  The last four years overall has been a failure, with the economy an overall disaster (unless you equate 'economy' with Wall Street's Dow) and the campaign does not have much to run on other than attacks on Romney (most admittedly accurate).

The election is 3.5 weeks away and there's a realistic chance the President could lose.  So Biden was desperate... exasperatingly so.  

And the goal was to portray Paul Ryan as such a lightweight whose ideas couldn't be taken serious by anyone, and that when Ryan spoke, all his sentences were to be treated and perceived by the viewing public as laugh-worthy.  

There's a proven psychological theory at play that shows this tends to work.   Two people sit and watch a program on television.  Person 'A' doesn't find it funny and person 'B' is quiet, thus there is no laughter expressed.   Take the same program, and this time person 'B' starts laughing every few moments, it triggers a subconscious response in person 'A' to join in and laugh.
Laughter is an ancient primal form of  play vocalization..  It is a sociable exercise..  It is also contagious.  This is precisely why pretty much all TV comedies use laugh tracks or film before a live studio audience.  

So though Biden appeared as if somewhat mentally unstable, perhaps.. just perhaps none of his expressions of laughter were either sincere nor accidental.  Each was strategically calculated to convince undecided voters that Congressman Ryan was a joke and you, the audience should join in and laugh too...

Will the strategy work?  Who knows..   still two debates left and ultimately who holds the office of Vice President has as much importance and value in people's eyes as watching a TV recording of the Weather Channel from a previous day.

Then again..  maybe, just maybe.. the laughs were sincere...  The audible reactions of a man who famously does not think before he speaks..

VP Biden certainly has expressed some real doozies in his past:

"You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.... I'm not joking." --Joe Biden, in a private remark to an Indian-American man caught on C-SPAN, June, 2006
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." –Joe Biden, referring to Barack Obama at the beginning of the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Jan. 31, 2007 

"Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America. Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me." --Joe Biden, speaking at a town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, Sept. 10, 2008

"Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya." –-Joe Biden, to Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair, Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 12, 2008

“No, Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that... (the definition of marriage) should be left to the faiths and the people that practice their faiths.” -- Joe Biden answering a direct question during 2008 VP Debate as to whether he or Obama supports gay marriage.

"If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there's still a 30% chance we're going to get it wrong." --Joe Biden, speaking to members of the House Democratic caucus who were gathered in Williamsburg, Va., for their annual retreat, Feb. 6, 2009
Ultimately who knows why a politician who has served in one office or another for over 40 years would feel the need to break out in laughter over 80 separate times in a 90minute debate.

But like any thing else second-guessed, if it bumps up the President's poll numbers and invigorates the campaign, it will be looked upon by political pundits and media wanks as utterly Brilliant!

And if it fails to ignite a spark and Romney rolls to victory, aww well.. There's Joe being Joe