Regardless of who you think won last night's debate on issues, there was a clear winner in style. Paul Ryan was clearly respectful and polite, while Vice President Biden was snug and obnoxious. While Biden had Ryan on the defensive for most of the the debate, his consistent interruptions and rude behavior was not presidential.
At a time when our nation is being torn asunder by political discourse, the last thing we need is a continuation of divisive behavior. A wise man once said "a house divided against itself cannot stand." If we continue to reward those who perpetuate the division, we will be responsible for our own destruction.
The latest CNN poll says 48 percent of viewers thought Ryan won the debate, while 44 percent thought Biden won. The poll also noted that seven in 10 people said Biden spent more time attacking his opponent, while Ryan was seen as being more in touch with the problems of the average American.
The history of presidential debates shows that the candidate who has a respectful demeanor towards his opponent and treats the voter with respect in his discourse will fare better than the opponent who does not. In the 1984 presidential debate in which Ronald Reagan faced off against Walter Mondale, Reagan calmly responded to Mondale’s statement about the then-president’s age and said, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” In the second debate between George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton in 1992, many Americans were turned off by the then-president looking down at his watch, wishing he was elsewhere. In the 2000 presidential debate, Al Gore sighed, rolled his eyes, and even invaded George W. Bush’s space at one point. Because of both Bush Sr. and Al Gore’s behavior, their otherwise strong political debate performances were seen as weak. These two candidates also lost in their respective elections.
Read Armstrong Williams, author of the brand-new book Reawakening Virtues, content on RightSideWire.com and Come join the discussion live 4-5, 6-8 p.m. EST at www.livestream.com/armstrongwilliams.