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Friday, October 12, 2012 - Volume 3, Number 12

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

Vice Presidential Debate Plays Out as Forecast

Ryan Abortion Policy Answer Will Hurt, While Social Media Amplifies First Impressions

 

What Obama and Ryan Have in Common: Sincerity of Belief

 

As we said yesterday in future tense (UWFR October 11), we now say in the past tense: alas! The Obama campaign has not completely gone off the rails and fallen into a twilight zone vortex of incompetency; and the august Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden not only held his own against the earnest Republican candidate Paul Ryan, in some ways he even bested Ryan.True, conservative sympathizers are highlighting how disrespectful and unpleasant Vice-President Biden was with Rep. Ryan Ė and he was so to a degree we have not seen before in other debates.But, even as some independents and all Republicans will be disgusted by Bidenís visual displays of contempt and rude interruptions, it wonít hurt the Democrats when it comes to turning around the declining perception of vigor and strength in the Obama campaign.Frankly, we think Biden would have done better with independents (and would have been a better man) without the rudeness, but it wonít matter all that much when it comes to the votes.

 

Paul Ryan did well, but some commentators pointed out what we said yesterday: namely that as able and knowledgeable as Ryan is, his lack of experience left him a little green for this debate.To be fair, Ryan also had the difficult task of not appearing too disrespectful of the vice-president of the United States, or in any way feeding the perception of Ďmeannessí stereotypically associated with pro-business Republicans, while the vice-president shamelessly took complete advantage of the required deference.Ryan finally did energetically protest, as he had to, and managed to get some respite from Bidenís continuous interruptions.Nonetheless, Biden continued to succeed in taking the edge off some of Ryanís sharper points, as excellent Ryan arguments got lost or muddled in the interruptions.Bidenís performance was not all diversionary tactics.He did score some points in focusing attention on some real weaknesses in the Romney-Ryan positions on taxes (e.g., what loopholes can you close that will make up for the tax cuts, but donít affect the middle class, or what would Romney actually do differently in Syria).

 

Ryan appeared to get one good zinger at Biden when he indirectly addressed the Romney quote on the 47% who donít pay income taxes when he said, ďAnd with respect to that quote, I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words donít come out of your mouth the right way.ĒThe audience laughed.Unfortunately for Ryan, Biden deftly and immediately diminished its effectiveness by shooting right back ďBut I always say what I mean. . . And so does Romney.Ē(If you think about this retort, it actually should be damaging to Biden, but it wasnít, and wonít be.)

 

All in all, the debate wonít sway votes, except in possibly one way: independent women voters.When Ryan was asked if women wanting to keep their current abortion rights had anything to fear from what a Romney administration would do regarding abortion rights, Ryan did not give the answer the Romney campaign would have wanted.On our Twitter handle Ultrapolis last night we predicted that Ryanís pause will give pause to independent women voters who highly prize abortion rights and free birth control.Ryan was visibly sincere, and could not make himself say anything that he did not believe.Obama, we think, had a similar problem, save for the fact that he already knows what he canít do, and Ryan still doesnít.In the harsh and brutish world of real politics, you often have to say things you donít want to, or you will lose.

 

In the long run, beyond 2012, the congressman from Wisconsin will win.

 

New World of Blurts Over Essays

 

On social media, Christina Ballantino, the political editor for PBSí NewsHour reported a Pew poll found that 11% of those watching the debates were accessing a second screen, in order to read and or post on social media.(That people cannot be typing commentary without missing what else is being said while they type seems to escape many.) Note was made of how millions last week were posting that Obama appeared to have lost the debate even as the debate had yet to finish.This adds weight to our suggestion in our October 9 UWFR that social media may be amplifying initial perceptions beyond what they would be without an onslaught of online snippets reinforcing the first view to gain traction.Our concern with this is that by definition, this phenomenon will give advantage to the instant, off-the-cough, by-definition unconsidered blurts, and will drown out considered and reflective expressions that by their very nature take more time.

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Octoberís UWFR Cartoon

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Main Index of the Ultrapolis World Forecast & Review

 

© Copyright 2012, The Ultrapolis Project Ė All Rights Reserved.