That will be the question in tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate. The answer is of course, yes. But it won’t be easy. While Paul Ryan is the more intelligent, competent and able of the two veep candidates, Biden is the only one who has ever played at this level. He has ran for statewide office, the presidential primaries and the vice-presidency.
Many republicans have seemed eager to write Joe off as gaffe-prone, but that is wishful thinking more than reality. Many of Joe’s “gaffes” are actually what Joe intended to say to his specific audience, who ate up his lines, only to become gaffes when heard by a more reasonable and broad electorate. But tonight, Joe won’t be trying to impress unions, blacks or women specifically. He will be seeking to impress all Americans, and to do that he will turn on the charm.
While there is the risk that Joe could say something stupid, there is the reality that he will relate and inspire hard working Americans. I expect entire monologues that are completely distinct from the Obama economy and its reality aimed at hooking middle class Americans with interests adverse to Obama’s policies, hardly noticeable when delivered with Joe’s skill.
But what Ryan must be most on guard against is Joe Biden the scaremonger and liar. Tonight, he will aim to change the conversation from the Obama economy to how Paul Ryan wants to end Medicare “as we know it.” He will scare seniors into staying away from the Republican ticket if he can. That will be his goal tonight. To tell seniors that Ryan wants to take away their healthcare, give them a voucher, slap them on the butt and send them out the door.
Gone will be the details of how the entire program is a choice, how it will keep up with medical care inflation or how it will only apply to younger Americans. Biden will try to turn this debate into a campaign of fear if he can, to stem the tide.
Paul Ryan has never been in a high profile debate of this magnitude. With that being said, there is no one that I’d rather have on that stage. Like my grandmother who I spoke with this week, many Americans have wondered why Mr. Romney plucked a Congressman from an obscure Wisconsin district to be his Vice President of the United States. Tonight they will find out why Paul Ryan is the sharpest legislature in Washington. I have no doubt in Ryan’s ability to sell Americans solutions on the harsh realities of our budget problems.
But Biden will go for his jugular in a much more aggressive manner than Obama did last week. The only question is whether Ryan will be able to combat these mistruths and turn Obamacare cuts to Medicare back on Biden. I say he can. I’ll see you at 9 pm.