I’m just going to raise three thoughts after watching the VP debate:
1) Are campaigns about issues or about who the candidates are?
Where they intersect is in the knowledge a candidate has of his or her opponent’s positions, AKA homework.
If I were an adviser to any candidate, at any level, I would say:
“Study everything your opponent has said on the issues, analyze any contradictions, understand any evolution. Then, during a debate or any public event, you will have the background to react in real time to what your opponent says.”
That is, in my observation, what Joe Biden did last eve.
2) “Do not count on anyone speak for you. Do not let anyone speak for you. Speak for yourself.”
That is also what Biden did last eve. It was harder for Ryan, who could not speak for himself because on the issues he had to speak for Romney.
Biden could speak for himself and still agree with Obama, because they have worked together for 4 years, whereas R & R have been on the same team for only 2 months and have worked out their differences only by public silence. We know Obama and Biden have differed on issues like Afghanistan and gay marriage, and they have worked it out; but R & R can’t afford to work anything out openly right now.
Think of the scenario where Ryan would take over the presidency from Romney; what ever Romney stands for, there is no denying that a Ryan budget would be more radical and punitive. Ryan could be even farther from Romney than Romney is from Obama.
Actually, that’s an area that Biden might have probed more last eve, trying to put daylight, as they say, between the two R’s. Obama can still do that, if he wishes, in his next match-up with Romney.
3) Friends one could do without
Who else is speaking for the Republican team? Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, ALEC, and those “shadowy outside groups” (which can say some pretty wild things) enabled by the FEC and US Supreme Court. Oh, and they didn’t succeed in jettisoning Todd Akin either.
Romney and Ryan can’t contradict their big donors and allies. They can’t even make them stop spending money, directly or indirectly, on their behalf. And they certainly can’t say: “Those billionaire petrochemical and gambling lobbies don’t speak for our campaign.”
Voters need to bear in mind: Those speaking for a candidate will be making the laws if the candidate wins.