Time’s Joe Klein watched last night’s VP debate and came to this conclusion: while it showed “the weaknesses of both parties,” Paul Ryan came off as a little bit “geeky”, he mused this morning on the show.
I thought that on the substance of it [Joe Biden] really nailed Ryan a lot of times. But when you look at it, this debate showed the weaknesses of both parties. On the Republican side, they’re pedaling snake oil; on the Democratic side, they are peddling from an empty pack and Ryan’s most effective moments were when he pointed out that Biden didn’t have any answers on a lot of issues. Biden’s most effective moments [were] when he pointed out that Ryan’s answers were nonsense. So in that sense it was a draw, but I thought Biden was more passionate, more real. Ryan was a little geeky, I thought.
No Labels co-founder and former adviser to George W. Bush, Mark McKinnon, protested. “We need more geek,” he proclaimed.
Joe Scarborough said he didn’t see it.
Klein’s use of “geeky” as not quite an attribute struck me just given that isn’t that why Ryan is generally commended? He’s a numbers guy, right?
“He’s got a penchant for slide presentations and charts and often eschews the tie and unbuttons his collar when explaining how he’d take on the established order — like Social Security and Medicare — with big new ideas,” Politico’s Michelle Quinn writes about the Wisconsin congressman.
So what happens when geek goes wrong? What does it look like?
“He did these strings of statistics that were mind numbing without any humanity intervening,” Klein elaborated.
“Oh my god, the facts!” Scarborough added.
Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum sums up why this singular debate is largely about good TV theatrics and swagger and outrage, and Biden seemed to have it in spades over Ryan.
“He was priest to Paul Ryan’s flummoxed altar boy, scoutmaster to Ryan’s nervous, tongue-tied knot-tier. His smile veered—yes—between amused and condescending, depending on the honey or vinegar with which he referred to Ryan as ‘my friend.’”