In the Vice Presidential debate last week, Joe Biden told three big lies. He lied about President Obama’s tax policy, he lied about the Administration’s $716 Billion in Medicare cuts, and he lied about the Administration’s decision to ignore requests for increased security at our Benghazi Consulate. But beyond that, Biden also showed tremendous disrespect and disdain for Congressman Paul Ryan, and for those who disagree with current liberal policies (I talked about this and other topics on my radio program this past weekend, which is available here).
Regarding tax policy, Biden lied when he said that President Obama’s tax plan would increase taxes only on those making $1 million dollars or more a year. Such an incredible statement was immediately refuted by media outlets covering the debate. And the White House itself quickly debunked Biden’s statement, and reaffirmed Obama’s commitment to raise taxes on everyone making more than $250,000 a year.
Regarding the Administration’s $716 Billion in Medicare cuts, Biden insisted that the Obama Administration put the money back into the Medicare program, extending "the life of Medicare to 2024." This lie has been recycled by both Biden and Obama on numerous occasions, even though their own chief actuary of Medicare, Richard Foster, has debunked this claim. During his testimony before the House Budget Committee, Foster stated that Obama’s Medicare cuts would cause "one out of six hospitals and nursing homes to go out of business," that "Part A providers would become unprofitable" within ten years, and that "enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans will be lower by about 50 percent" by 2017.
But perhaps the biggest and boldest lie last Thursday evening was Biden’s insistence that the Administration was not aware of the repeated requests for increased security at our Consulate in Benghazi prior to the attack that left four U.S. diplomats dead. He insisted that "we weren’t told that they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security…" Incredibly, Biden’s claims came just one day after Eric Nordstrom – the former chief security officer for U.S. Diplomats in Libya – testified that his requests for increased security were either denied, or went unanswered by the State Department. Again, even media outlets usually kind to President Obama were forced to immediately fact check Biden’s statement on Benghazi, and call it false.
But the Administration decided it would double down on Biden’s lie. The morning after the debate, the White House insisted that Joe Biden was only speaking for himself and for Obama, not the entire Administration. That defense doesn’t even make sense, since Obama is the head of his own Administration. But what the White House is essentially arguing is that Biden didn’t lie during the debate because both he and Obama are simply incompetent. Unfortunately, this incompetence defense is plausible, since we now know that President Obama attended just 44% of his daily intelligence briefings during the lead up to this year’s 9/11 attacks.
In addition to telling these lies, Vice President Biden also treated Congressman Paul Ryan with tremendous disrespect by laughing out loud during his rebuttals, and interrupting him at least 82 times during the 90 minute debate (Paul Ryan spoke for approximately 40 minutes, meaning that Biden interrupted him more than two times each minute on average). Joe Trippi – Howard Dean’s former campaign manager – found Biden’s antics "condescending and overdone." NBC’s David Gregory called Biden "disrespectful." Chris Wallace – Anchor of "Fox News Sunday" – took it one step further and said "I don’t believe that I have ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan tonight."
But Biden’s "style" betrays more than just condescension and disrespect for Paul Ryan. It also demonstrates just how much he loathes being confronted with conservative ideas. For example, when Paul Ryan responded to Biden’s debunked Medicare claim by simply highlighting Richard Foster’s testimony, Biden interrupted and contradicted Ryan no less than six times within forty seconds (and openly laughed at him once). Furthermore, when Ryan explained that his Medicare plan was bipartisan, and developed with the help of the liberal Democrat Senator from Oregon (Ron Wyden), Biden interrupted Ryan five times within twenty-six seconds (and again, laughed out loud while Ryan spoke).
Biden’s behavior was clearly meant to energize extremely liberal voters disappointed with President Obama’s first debate performance. But I believe that Biden’s confrontational and disrespectful tone hurt his ability to connect with the American people. Focus groups demonstrated that voters were uncomfortable with Biden’s "style." And while both Republicans and Democrats claimed their respective candidate won the debate on substance, a CNN poll of those who watched the debate showed a narrow 48% to 44% victory for Ryan over Biden. A CNBC instapoll showed a more conclusive 56% to 36% victory for Ryan.
In order to appeal to the liberal base of the Democrat Party, Biden was forced to display open hostility towards Paul Ryan, and towards the ideas he shares with other independent and freedom loving Americans across the country (and across the political spectrum). Vice President Joe Biden may have energized some demoralized liberal voters with his disgusting antics, but in terms of shifting the trajectory of the Presidential race, I don’t believe he did himself, or President Obama any favors.
Glen Meakem is a successful technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and conservative talk radio show host, who offers information and insights on how individuals and our nation can be more successful. Glen’s unique perspective has been shaped by his experiences as founder, chairman and CEO of the B2B internet success Freemarkets Inc – which he founded in 1995, took public in 1999, and sold to Ariba in 2004. In 2005, Glen co-founded Meakem Becker Venture Capital, a firm that invests in early stage start up companies. Concerned about the liberal political agenda that has gripped the United States and his home state of Pennsylvania, Glen launched "Glen Meakem on the Weekend" in 2008. Glen served as an officer in the United States Army Reserve and is a veteran of the First Gulf War. He also earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his MBA from Harvard Business School. For more information about Glen and his radio program, or to read his blog, please visit http://glenmeakem.com.
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