Republicans have spent weeks trying to lower expectations for Paul Ryan tonight, but it hasn’t worked – you can’t spend years hyping Ryan as a Boy Genius, then suddenly expect us to believe he’ll be lucky to string together a sentence tonight. And sure enough, polls show voters are expecting nothing less than a Ryan trouncing of Vice President Joe Biden tonight:
Heading into tonight’s vice presidential debate, voters in these three battleground states expect Paul Ryan to emerge the victor over Vice President Joe Biden. In Colorado, 47 percent of voters picked Ryan as the likely winner, while 30 percent picked Biden and 22 percent said they didn’t know. In Wisconsin, Ryan bested Biden 49 percent to 32 percent. In Virginia, the gap was more narrow: 36 percent said Biden would likely win the debate, 41 percent chose Ryan, and 21 percent said they didn’t know.
I’d never have guessed President Obama would do his Empty Chair impression at the first debate, so who knows what’ll actually happen. But I can tell you that even inside the Beltway, everyone is completely underestimating Joe Biden.
Look, I understand Biden has a well-deserved reputation for gaffes. But The Onion has helped greatly exaggerate the image of Biden The Screw Up. In the White House, his biggest stumble wasn’t even that BF of a D – heck, the Obama campaign turned it into a t-shirt.
And all that completely obscures Biden’s history of nailing it in big debates. Biden stole the show at the Democratic presidential primary debates in 2008, most memorably summing up then-Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani as noun, verb, 9/11. Then at the vice presidential debate, while all eyes focused on Sarah Palin, Biden didn’t just get out of the way – he did a masterful job of attacking John McCain in the friendliest way possible.
The real debate is long and boring, so I’ll just post the Saturday Night Live version instead: