The smirk heard ‘round the world

AP Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speak during the vice-presidential debate at … Continued


Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speak during the vice-presidential debate at Centre College on Oct. 11, 2012

On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden proved that he is no statesman. While his demeanor may have been surprising – even shocking – to viewers and pundits across the political spectrum, it quickly evolved into the focus of post-debate analysis.

In one of the most disrespectful and arrogant displays of partisanship we have ever witnessed, Biden was smug, interrupting, condescending, dismissive, smirking, laughing about national security failures, and badgering the moderator for more time (which he got).

Biden showed that being older doesn’t always mean you’re wiser, more distinguished, or even better behaved. A title is rather meaningless if you aren’t qualified for the job or fail to rise to the occasion.

Biden has been a professional politician for about as long as Congressman Paul Ryan has been alive. When Ryan was still learning how to walk, Biden was well on his way to becoming one of the youngest senators in U.S. history. Yet after 36 years in Congress, two attempts at the Democratic presidential bid, and four years as vice president of the United States, Biden showed he is either as immature as the day he started or in a state of regress.

View Photo Gallery: The vice-presidential candidates square off on taxes, the economy, Medicare and foreign policy in the only time they will face off during the campaign.

Biden also repeatedly showed a lack of common courtesy, reportedly interrupting the Wisconsin congressman 82 times throughout the debate.

Biden’s behavior did not reflect a man who has dedicated himself to public service, but rather, a man who has spent his life as an uncompromising career politician. If he wasn’t interrupting the conversation to spout his own partisan rhetoric, he was rolling his eyes, laughing, and shrugging dismissively as if he was above the conversation. He was not only rude to his opponent, but also disrespectful to the office of the vice president.

Biden’s actual rhetoric was no better. He began the debate with a stunning display of either incompetence or downright deceit.

He was asked by the moderator point blank why the Obama administration’s first reaction, which was repeated for days, was to blame a video and protests gone out of control for the death of four Americans in Libya including our ambassador? Biden responded:

However, testimony at a congressional hearing Thursday, hours before the debate, made it clear that the State Department knew it was a terrorist attack from the beginning. In addition, there are reports that the intelligence community, which Biden repeatedly threw under the bus, knew it was a terrorist attack within 24 hours. Yet, Biden claims “we,” the administration, reported what they knew when they knew it. This can’t possibly be the case. President Obama was still blaming an Internet video for the violence in his speech to the United Nations, two weeks after the terror attack.

To make matters worse, when asked why more security was not provided when the consulate requested it, Biden kept digging. “Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again,” Biden responded. Again, not true. Testimony before Congress clearly showed that Obama’s State Department was aware and denied additional security requests.

Ironically, the most stinging criticism of President Obama came from Biden himself. He looked right into the camera and said,

The American people are looking at how the president has handled the “issues of the day” – the terrorist attack on our embassy – and that doesn’t bode well for the President.

As the debate moved past international policy and our failures in Libya, and cutting past the constant interruptions and condescending attitude of the vice president, one other key factor stood out, a drastic difference in how the two men seeking to be our vice president view faith.

Paul Ryan clearly and succinctly explained how faith shapes his life. He said:

He went into further detail explaining his view that “life begins at conception” – a view he has consistently held and backed up with a strong pro-life record. Ryan took on the rampant religious liberty violations and pro-abortion agenda of the Obama administration. He said:

Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties. And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they wanted it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding. Taxpayer funding in Obamacare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized and wouldn’t second-guess their one child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That to me is pretty extreme.

Ryan is exactly right. It is something we have been saying for quite some time. Forcing people of faith to fund the abortion industry and pay for abortion-pill coverage in their health insurance is a direct violation of religious liberty. Ryan even directly asked Biden that if faith were so important to him and the Obama administration, “why would they [the church] keep suing you?”

Biden on the other hand, while claiming “religion defines who I am,” took a strangely disjointed view of faith. He tried, unconvincingly, to explain how he accepts his “church’s position on abortion,” but won’t “impose it on others.” Yet, almost in the same breath, he said that we should impose Catholic social doctrine to help those who can’t take care of themselves through government coercion.

As we have explained before, Jesus’ commands to take care of the poor cannot be accomplished by abdicating our own personal responsibility and forcing others through government coercion (taxing, spending, and redistribution of wealth) to do that job for us.

While we don’t yet know if this debate had a measurable impact on undecided voters, it provided an eye-opening look into the Obama administration. The American people have now seen a disinterested Obama and a condescending Biden in the first two debates, a stark contrast to the competence and consistency of Romney and Ryan. If these patterns continue, the cumulative effect over the next few weeks could be enough to put Romney-Ryan over the top.

Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. He served as a consultant to Romney for president in 2008. Matthew Clark is an attorney for the ACLJ. Anna Sekulow is director of digital policy for the ACLJ

  • concerneddemo

    Where ever Biden appears in this article replace with Romney…..

  • Omega

    Sekulow is a partisan hack

  • youarewrongmr

    Paul Ryan went on to attack Obama’s record, but the truth is his own record stinks. He talks against the stimulus when he asked money from it. He attacks foreign policy when he proposed a law to cut 300 million on diplomatic security. He is now a budget stalwart when there wasn’t a government expansion he didn’t like under Bush. Ryan has absolutely zero moral ground to attack his opponents. Biden laugh? Whatever.

  • bartonizer

    Why did the WaPo publish this garbage? Last week, Romney’s smug, interrupting, condescending, dismissive, smirking behavior was viewed favorable by everyone on the right. But when someone on the left does it, they’re disrespectful and mean. Yeah, ok. Oh, and I’m glad the author clarified Jesus Christ’s position on contemporary govenrment, and well as which candidate is truer to his teachings. In fact, I’m sure JC’s first priority when returning on Judgement Day would be a $50k/plate fundraising dinner to celebrate the successes of capitalism.

  • Vote Yes Scotland 2014

    American politicians would be a light breakfast for all but the dimmest politician in a Parliamentary democracy.
    There is a line in the House of Commons on each side of the debating chamber .This was originally to advise Parliamentarians that beyond that line they were within range of their opponents sword.
    David Cameron the British Pm would consider 82 interuptions a country holiday.
    In contrast the Australian Parliament is a blood sport .

  • lynnlm

    • June 14, 2002, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan Suicide bomber kills 12 and injures 51.• February 20, 2003, international diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    Truck bomb kills 17.
    • February 28, 2003, U.S. consulate in Karachi, PakistanGunmen on motorcycles killed two consulate guards.
    • July 30, 2004, U.S. embassy in Taskkent, Uzbekistan
    Suicide bomber kills two.
    • December 6, 2004, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Militants stormed and occupied perimeter wall. Five killed, 10 wounded.
    • March 2, 2006, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
    Suicide car bomber killed four, including a U.S. diplomate directly targeted by the assailants.
    • September 12, 2006, U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria
    Gunmen attacked embassy with grenades, automatic weapons, and a car bomb
    (though second truck bomb failed to detonate). One killed and 13
    • January 12, 2007, U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the embassy building. No one was injured.
    • July 9, 2008, U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey
    Armed men attacked consulate with pistols and shotguns. Three policemen killed.
    •March 18, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
    Mortar attack misses embassy, hits nearby girls’ school instead.
    • September 17, 2008, U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
    Militants dressed as policemen attacked the embassy with RPGs, rifles,
    grenades and car bombs. Six Yemeni soldiers and seven civilians were
    killed. Sixteen more were injured. Oh, but attacks on US embassies are all President Obama’s fault because he’s weak. They never happened before, and if only Romney were president it would never happen again, not!

  • Eric Boyer

    Almost unworthy of comment. The Vice President had command of the stage and the facts. Paul Ryan got schooled, because he tried the old Obama is weak canard. Every terrorist in the world is looking over their shoulder for a drone, We got this. And unless you think we need TEN MORE YEARS in Afghanistan, or to turn Medicare into S&H Green stamps, Ryan got his behind kicked .

  • Etek

    Biden is a drunken idiot.

    He interrupted EIGHTY TWO times!

  • BethInBibleBelt

    Great post.

  • BethInBibleBelt

    I am Mitt Romney and I approve this message.

  • o0O0o0O0o0O0o

    The most tellng line of this article comes after the last line of the article: “Jordan Sekulow is executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice. He served as a consultant to Romney for president in 2008.”

    Paid Romney Spinmeister sez “thanks for the prime free campaign advertising real estate, WaPo!”

  • nkri401

    Mr. Sekulow,

    There is no such thing as lying for the Jesus.

    If you lie you will go to hell. Is your partisan worth selling your soul to the devil and go to hell?

    I pray for you…