Needed three towels to wipe down my living room after the vice presidential wrestling match, er, debate the other day. The sweat flung off both the bottom names of the campaign bumper stickers was so thick on the Centre College stage, it shot right through television screens onto viewers at home.
In this highly anticipated undercard bout, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan took off the gloves, put on their red, white and blue Lucha Libre masks and went at each other hammer and tongs for 90 minutes with straight policy jabs and sweeping rhetorical hooks. Most of which whiffed, but it’s the thought that counts.
No knockdowns were recorded in this no-holds-barred event, but the majority of ringside judges gave the decision to Biden on points, mainly for stopping his base’s bleeding and blocking his opponent’s momentum. And doing it all without suffering a stroke on national TV. Although, it was close.
Kudos were also tossed Martha Raddatz’s way, who refereed the event with a command and aplomb that had veteran observers refer to her as the anti-Jim Lehrer. She actually seemed to listen to the responses at this debate and called candidates out when they tried to weasel away. A recurring theme.
Paul Ryan’s intensive training regimen paid off, and he punched and counter punched all evening while smiling so hard you could almost hear the enamel cracking inside his mouth. The duplicitous platform he was forced to defend seemed to suck all the moisture out of his body as he kept downing glass after glass of water, which fortunately was replenished regularly, or the GOP budget guru might have spontaneously combusted. And who wants to die in Kentucky?
Meanwhile Joe Biden showed great restraint in checking his normal penchant for dismantling the shared debate desk and chewing it into pieces. Like an aging Chihuahua let outside after a long weekend locked in the basement, he yapped and barked and laughed maniacally, frequently exposing expensive dental work to all and frightening many children in the audience.
Seemed like the former senator from Delaware had downed a couple quart containers of caffeinated Ensure. Then again after viewing the results, the White House might want to insure a case of Ensure is ready for President Obama next Tuesday at the debate at Hofstra University in New York.
Both Catholic combatants, the 69-year-old vice president and the 42 year old Wisconsin Congressman, waltzed delicately around the ring of malarkey when the question of abortion was raised, and a no-smirking zone was briefly established on both sides.
And finally, not a single word about Big Bird. Obviously these two pugilists don’t have their finger on the pulse of the American people.
On the style-versus-substance front, the GOP accused the vice president of being loud, overbearing and rude. The very same qualities they called bold and commanding when Romney wore them at last week’s debate. Hey, you guys: make up your mind. Pot-kettle-black much?
The Democratic ticket needs a visa to get out of Goldilocks Land: one half too cold — the other, too hot. But this reeking heap of steaming veep meet between pseudo-friends was entertaining, if not informative, and we could easily sell a rematch on pay-per-view, but only if the two fighters promise not to wear spandex. Maybe in 2016?
Five-time Emmy nominee Will Durst has just released a new e-book on the 2012 campaign: “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink. Available at Redroom.com or Amazon. Also, his hit one-man show, “Elect to Laugh!” is every Tuesday at the Marsh. San Francisco. 8pm. Only 4, Four, 4 shows left. Themarsh.org.