Team Blog

It was Z grade acting, but Biden’s performance was what American politics needed

Joe Biden’s performance in the VP debate may have energised not only the Democratic Party but the wider American public. EPA/Rick Wilking

I find Joe Biden very annoying. He induces groans from me for his overconfidence in his own ability and knowledge and overexcited speeches personified by his Democratic Party Convention performance in 2012.

However, of all of the political moments of 2012 his Vice Presidential debate performance was just the ticket for American politics.

The media frames the Presidential and VP debates as competing sets of ideas, with the general assumption that the ideas from both sides connect to reality (more or less), and that some of these ideas will work out in practice. This is a flawed approach in 2012 as many of the ideas from the Romney/Ryan team are either pure fantasy or deserve to be labelled “tried and failed”. The Romney/Ryan secret tax plan is about as believable as Richard Nixon’s secret 1968 plan to end the Vietnam War.

The faith Romney/Ryan place in the free market to deliver cost efficient health care or the ability of trickle-down economics to “grow the middle class”, as Americans say, are positions that have a mountain of evidence against them. Both have the capacity to be failures on almost the same scale as the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush/Cheney administration (a policy also embraced by Romney/Ryan).

For me, watching Biden’s emotional body language was about as enjoyable as watching that hammy American 1990s award winner Forrest Gump. However, he was right to call Romney/Ryan’s policies “malarkey” and unless enough Americans realise Biden was right to laugh at Ryan’s solutions as a joke they will be swimming in the skata.