Posted by Curt on 15 October, 2012 at 11:01 am. 5 comments already!


Ace @ Ace of Spades HQ:

I was thinking about this. Bill Maher whined that Republicans wouldn’t “admit” Biden won the debate.

I had no idea what he was talking about. I thought Ryan won — but not by as many points as some people expected him to. I did think he was less effective than I hoped he would be, and left a lot of chips on the table.

But I think he won.

So I was wondering how on earth liberals could imagine that Biden won.

There are two answers here, I think. The first is that they knew they had to claim, as a group and with one voice, that Biden destroyedRyan, in order to try to push that particular interpretation. As Ryan said, they were all “under duress” to make up ground from the Romney demolition of Obama.

That’s certainly true.

But I also think they’re employing a crude metric to call the debate for Biden. Biden definitely “won” in one sense — he contradicted everything Ryan said. Whether it was chuckling, sneering, interrupting, or just stating “That’s a bunch of malarkey” to everything, Biden did contradict everything Ryan said.

I think what they think is this: Romney won the first debate because he contradicted everything Obama said. Hence, the winner of any debate is the one who contradicts the most. Biden contradicted the most, ergo he wins.

But… that’s not the rule, of course. That’s, what’s the word?, stupid.

And that’s not what Romney did. Romney didn’t just contradict Obama — he contradicted him and then offered a series of facts which supported his contradiction. In many exchanges, Obama would make an assertion — just an assertion, unsupported, and just one — and then Romney would make three supported claims undermining Obama’s assertion.

Just to mention one particularly effective response by Romney: Obama contended that Dodd-Frank was just perfect and anyone calling for a repeal (plus replacement) of that bill must be some kind of crazyperson. Romney supported his position of repeal by noting first that the law made five banks “too big to fail” and guaranteed their survival, thus encouraging the exact same consequences-be-damned bets that came to a head in 2008.

Then he followed that up — as an afterthought, no less — by noting the law required banks to only grant mortgage loans to “qualified” borrower, but then failed to define what a “qualified” borrower might be. Thus freezing the banks from lending, paralyzing them by leveling a vague diktat upon them without letting them know, as a law should, what is lawful and what is not.

And that fact — that banks are not lending — is a major factor contributing to the moribund state of the economy.

Now– is that merely a “contradiction”? Is that merely, as Python had it, “an automatic gainsaying of whatever the other man says”?

No, that is much more than that. That is a proper argument, with a premises, support for those premises, and conclusion. It is not merely the automatic gainsaying of whatever one’s opponent says.

Which is… mostly what Biden did. Simply gainsaying whatever Ryan said, but, more often than not, not offering any particular reason for believing Biden’s contradiction, apart from “Trust me” and “Trust your instincts” and so forth.

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