A parable, or something: The Doberman is a designer dog, bred by a Swiss-German tax collector (who was also the local dog catcher) who wanted a streamlined, swift personal-protection animal that would look more intimidating than the farm dogs and cattle herders of its ancestry.
The Bull Terrier is a “fun, comical, people-loving… clownish” dog that looks like a cartoon pig or a whimsical ottoman. Advertisers use them to sell mass-market beer and midrange chain department stores. This is not the sort of business the breed was developed for, or from.
Anybody assuming that a one-on-one dogfight between a sleek young Doberman and a stubby old Bull Terrier would be an automatic rout is liable to end up carrying their Dobie home in a basket.
Mr. Charles P. Pierce (may he flourish for a thousand years!), before the VP debate:
… Joe Biden is not riven with self-doubt. Joe Biden is not exhausted by the hurly-burly of politics. Joe Biden is not burdened by the weight of events and laid low by the constant battle against know-nothing obstructionism. Joe Biden is not going to take the stage tonight and find himself wishing he were anywhere else. I mean, god be good to him, as my gran’ used to say, but Joe Biden actually likes all these silly performance pieces in which we insist he be engaged in order to stay vice-president. He revels in them. He would do ten of them a day, if he could. When I consider Joe Biden, and I look at the enthusiasm with which he throws himself into the various cataracts and torrents of hogwash that constitute our politics these days, I find myself looking at him the way I look at people who sky-dive or drive in demolition derbies. I have no idea why they do what they do, and I have absolutely no intention of doing it myself, ever, but, goddamn, do those people look like they’re having fun….
Joe Biden is not afraid of needles, and Joe Biden wants to stay vice-president for awhile. I’ll never understand that, but people take their fun where they can find it and needling Paul Ryan can be rare good craic. I do not think Joe Biden will be so overwhelmed by the gravity of the occasion that he denies himself that kind of fun.
And the prescient Mr. Pierce’s post-debate review is even more fun, so you should go read the whole thing.
Dave Weigel, at Slate:
Whether or not this Biden performance helps Obama, you could sell bootleg DVDs of it to Dems for $20.
Paul Constant, at Seattle’s Stranger:
… Republicans love to mock Joe Biden for being an idiot. Hell, even most Democrats wouldn’t put Biden in the top twenty intellects of the party. Paul Ryan, though, is admired by many Republican politicians as the brains of the Republican Party. Mitt Romney chose to elevate Ryan to the VP slot because Romney needed a serious Republican thinker to codify his weak control over the base. Republicans think of Ryan (and Ryan likes to think of himself) as the serious numbers guy, the guy who comes up with the plans that other Republicans follow. He’s generally considered to be the smartest Republican in a national office today.
And Joe Biden creamed Paul Ryan. He laughed in Ryan’s face and left him speechless. He shook Ryan’s ideas until they fell apart like the crepe paper and chicken wire that they truly are. (It’s important to note that Martha Raddatz’s fine moderation held Ryan to the truth, too. Republicans are surely going to target Raddatz in the next few days, as they do all “uppity” women, but Raddatz should be proud of the fact that she reminded America what a great debate moderator is supposed to do.) Biden clearly stated his beliefs as a Democrat. He argued that America cares about Americans, and he fact-checked Ryan at every turn. (I was particularly moved by Biden’s personal opposition as a Catholic to abortion, but his commitment to the fact that, as an elected official, it’s not his job to impose his will on the American people.) Biden out-argued, out-spoke, and out-thought the smartest man the Republicans have to offer, and he did so armed with the courage of his convictions.
Also, not directly debate-related, but Doghouse Riley looks at the Now Notorious Time Photo and makes fun of Ryan’s workout routine.