Friday, October 12, 2012

Another Bubble Debate

Last night, I was a temporary bachelor, my wife off doing various Catholic things, so I engaged in full-on Internet debauchery. I didn't watch the debate, but I kept Tweetdeck open on one monitor while I caught up on last weekend's English Premier League action via on the main monitor. It turned out to be a good choice.

The Twitter stream gave me a decent blow-by-blow recap of the debate action without having to sit through it. Meanwhile, I watched a polished Tottenham win one game and a dreadful QPR lose another. When the debate was over, I spent a little time watching a couple of highlight videos from the debate and my viewing choices looked even better.

Peggy Noonan (a member of the Feline Theocracy) and Michael Barone can give you expert analysis, but here's my unpolished take: it was another bubble moment for the Democrats. The way Biden smirked and laughed and carried on simply screamed that he thought Paul Ryan, and by extension, all conservatives, were utterly unworthy of respect. He oozed contempt with his antics in the same way Obama oozed contempt with his inability to look Romney in the eye. As Michael Barone said,
Joe Biden appealed to Democratic partisans, firing them up by attacking and, even more often, smirking at Paul Ryan’s arguments. But smirks only work when your audience starts off agreeing with you. That would be the case with strong Democratic partisans, but it’s not at all that clear that it appeals to Independents, or to those who are undecided or moveable. He was trying to dismiss Ryan’s arguments as ridiculous, in line with Democratic talking points that no rational person could possibly agree with him, but I think that only works with people who are already convinced.
Clearly, Biden's over-the-top condescension was practiced and planned. It was too consistent to have been spontaneous.

Why in the world would you choose a strategy that assumes almost everyone agrees with you unless you lived in an ideological bubble?

1 comment:

Ohioan@Heart said...

The other reason to chose that route is if you know that when rational thought is used to compare the arguments, you know you will lose. Then you must approach the emotional part of the audience's brain.