A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Category: joe biden

Paul Ryan to Write Book Like Some Sort of Common Person

by evanmcmurry

The zombie-eyed granny starver is putting pen to paper. Thoughts:

  • Atlas Shrugged is already taken. So is Fountainhead.
  • I hope it will contain more lines like “We’ve turned the safety net into a hammock.” Lol poorz!
  • Anybody want to take an over/under on whether it contains the details about specific spending cuts curiously missing from his last two budgets?

That’s if it actually gets written. I bet every time he closes his eyes to think of a sentence, he sees this.

Joe Biden Would Like To Interrupt This Post To Talk About Medicare

by evanmcmurry

This morning’s polling generally finds the “bleeding stemmed”—to use the agreed-upon MSM phrase—from Obama’s poor debate performance two weeks ago. In sum, Romney saw an overall lift in his positives, and he’s polling closer to Obama, but Obama has regained a couple point lead in the national polls.

As always, national polls are—not meaningless, exactly, but not revelatory either. Breakdowns in the polling, though, can tell us more: Greg Sargeant has a whole slew of areas in which Romney showed no gain since the debate, especially on the question of which candidate voters think better represents the middle class, providing an opening for Obama in tomorrow’s debate to do nothing but bring up Romney’s 47% remarks.

But in one area, Obama has actually increased his lead since the polls two weeks ago:

Obama’s advantage on who is more trusted to handle Medicare has actually gone up, from 47-43 to 53-38. This was a major topic at both debates, and recall that Joe Biden made a strong appeal to voters to trust their “instincts” on who is better for the program. [Emphasis Sargeant’s]

Recall that before the first presidential debate, Romney was losing serious ground in states like Ohio and Florida, somewhat due to Paul Ryan’s Medicare-killing inclusion on the ticket; since the debate, however, Romney’s rebounded in both states, especially in Florida. If there’s an issue that will remind Floridians why they were leaning against the Romney/Ryan ticket, it’s Medicare, and it looks like Joe Biden got that across loud and clear; in fact, it’s entirely possible that that was Biden’s primary job going into the debate last Thursday, and he smiled so much because he nailed it. It would be nice and poetic if Joe Biden interrupted Romney’s rise as figuratively as he literally interrupted Paul Ryan, and on the same issue, no less.

Can You Follow A Debate From Twitter? (Yes)

by evanmcmurry

Due to circus-dances, I ended up at the Menomena show last night rather than watching the VP debate; I live-streamed the first few minutes, up until Biden yelled “Malarkey!” before I had to run.

But being stuck inside of a ballroom while something important is happening elsewhere ended up doubling as a phenomenological experiment: could I follow a political debate from Twitter? The answer: pretty much. Simply from my phone, I learned that:

  • Biden had gotten Ryan to admit that the latter had asked for the stimulus funds he was now disparaging, and admitted that he did so because they would help create jobs.
  • Ryan got tangled up trying to defend the privatization of Social Security, while Biden scored points for clearly stating that his party would never let people down on SS or Medicare.
  • Biden was absolutely infuriating Republicans by a) constantly interrupting Ryan, and b) smiling all the time.
  • Most important: Biden was winning, even to the point of steamrolling his newly-diminutive opponent.

I stopped checking my phone about halfway through the debate (which coincided with the band’s first song; I’m not rude.*). After the show I watched clips of the debate and read recaps and commentaries, and everything I’d gleamed above held up. Twitter proved to be an accurate source of both primary information (what got said by whom about what) and qualitative analysis (who’s coming across how and why).

What to make of this? I don’t know. I’m certainly not advocating that we stop watching events in real time and start reading Twitter feeds; obviously, I would have much rather watched the thing as it happened. But you don’t always have that option; there are plenty of other obligations—less-voluntary ones, I might add—than going to a show, and one day you’re going to have to be elsewhere when an event you want to follow is transpiring. So it’s good to know that a Twitter feed can compensate (not, mind you, substitute). I walked out of the Bowery Ballroom more informed on an important political event than any other human in there; somebody from the WAH-Twitter-I-Don’t-Like-New-Things-Jonathan-Franzen crowd needs to explain to me why that’s such a bad thing.

* I am rude; I checked the Yanks/Orioles score throughout the whole show.

The Alternate Existences of Jack Kennedy

by evanmcmurry

Perhaps this is a personal tic, but I’ve never internalized that whole Jack-is-a-nickname-for-John thing, primarily because it makes absolutely no sense. A side effect of this mental block: for years, I heard the “I knew Jack Kennedy, you’re no Jack Kennedy” line and assumed it referred to one of the many lesser-known Kennedys who had entered politics. There was John, Bobby, Ted, probably a Chad, and some guy named Jack, who was clearly very respected, maybe because he was Chairman of the Budget Committee or something, and I just hadn’t heard of him because I didn’t know enough about politics.

The same thing happened briefly last night. After one of the many times Biden pointed at Paul Ryan and said, “LIAR!” Ryan namechecked—or tried to namecheck—”Jack Kennedy,” before Biden let him have it. I spent about thirty seconds trying to remember who Jack Kennedy was before I realized they were talking about the 35th President of the United States.

Perhaps, in retrospect, I’m getting confused not because Jack is an absurd nickname for John, but because JFK was president for about six minutes, during which he fucked everything that moved, including an invasion of Cuba. Oddly, the Jack Kennedy in my head is much more accomplished.

Paul Ryan Doesn’t Like Being Questioned; So How Will He Like Debating Joe Biden?

by evanmcmurry

Paul Ryan got snippy with a Michigan reporter today who asked him how, exactly, he would create opportunity in inner cities to reduce crime. “And you can do all that by cutting taxes?” the reporter asked, in what was a definitely snarky rejoinder. “Those are your words, not mine,” said a clearly pissed Paul Ryan, who went on to mutter in aggrieved-sorority-girl tone about how, like, rude the reporter was.

Two things:

1) I finally figured out who Paul Ryan reminds me of: Chad, that insufferable douche who tortures Anna Chlumsky throughout the entirety of In The Loop. Here’s a clip.

2) More important, this is the second time Paul Ryan has lost his cool under the barest of questioning (which shows just how little he gets questioned.) Ryan’s thin skin suggests that he’s exactly how Charles Pierce has portrayed him: a con man who’s bought his own hype about how brilliant he is. Scratch his surface for specifics to back up that brilliance, and he gets real angry, real fast.

This gives Biden all the room he needs to win Thursday’s debate. Just as Biden used a combination of low expectations and sincerity to quietly and methodically show Sarah Palin to be the sneering opportunist that she was (“There ya go agin, Joe”) four years ago, Biden can now take his Unky Joe act to Kentucky and good-naturedly poke at Paul Ryan’s ridiculous fiscal magic show.

It shouldn’t take too many pokes to get the desired response. Paul Ryan is no more likely to break down and admit himself a fraud than Palin was. But Palin just got more and more stranded throughout the debate until she looked out of her depth, which she was. Paul Ryan is liable to lose his temper, which will destroy a good amount of this nice-boy image he’s got going on. And Joe Biden will be smiling throughout the entire thing.