Ryan gave Biden plenty room to be a jerk

While Democrats are relieved that Joe Biden did not top himself on his embarrassing gaffes, for which he has become well-known, he did not, in fact, "win" last night's vice-presidential debate. Expectations were so low for him that anything short of a caricature of his own hapless self would have been received by the party faithful and their friends in the media with applause.
 
Biden was over the top with his 82 interruptions (aided and abetted by moderator Martha Raddatz) and the rude yet odd facial expressions. But what I found the most interesting was Paul Ryan's demeanor.
 
Paul Ryan was even-keeled to the point of near-boring. Some are saying his performance was perfectly fine, but not memorable, and that Joe Biden's drunk-uncle persona is what voters will remember.
 
Exactly. And a brilliant strategy, by the way.
 

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While the nation at large was introduced to Paul Ryan last night, those who are familiar with him have witnessed him routinely sparkling far more than he did last night. But Ryan knew vice-presidential debates only move the needle if one party makes mistakes. The objective is to "first, do no harm." Ryan succeeded.
 
Paul Ryan largely simply got out of the way, and let "Joe be Joe," allowing Obama's vice president plenty of room to be a jerk. The strategy worked, and Biden did not disappoint. He was, indeed, a jerk.