The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why Biden Has A Better Chance Of Debate Success Than Obama Did

Here’s the Nonsense:  No one outperforms Barack Obama in a debate. Even though he had a bad night last week in his debate, Joe Biden could never meet expectations like Obama can.

Here’s the Horse Sense:  Obama didn’t meet expectations because they were set far higher than he is able to perform.  But expectations for Biden are far lower than Obama.  Biden doesn’t even have to win to meet expectations set for him in the debates.

When writing before the debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the mainstream media and Democrats were confident that Obama could not be beaten.  With the upcoming debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan everyone pretty much assumes that Biden will be outperformed by Ryan, even though the left won’t admit it publicly.  The expectations for Biden are low, much unlike what the expectations were for Obama in last week’s debate.  But in some ways Biden has a much better chance of debate success than Obama did.

With a history that is as bumbling and gaffe-prone as anyone you could probably name, Joe Biden’s debate performance is really not expected by anyone to be great.  In fact, those on the left are most likely hoping that he just gets through the debate without getting his foot so far into his mouth that they can’t live it down.  Just to refresh your memory, here are just a few of Biden’s gaffes for which he is so famous:

  • "My mother believed and my father believed that if I wanted to be president of the United States, I could be, I could be Vice President!" – speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, 05-16-2012
  • "His mom lived in Long Island for ten years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she's- wait- your mom's still- your mom's still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul." – speaking about Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s mother in Washington, D.C., 03-17-2010
  • "If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there's still a 30% chance we're going to get it wrong." – when he spoke the House Democratic caucus members’ retreat in Williamsburg, Va., 02-06-2009
  • "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs." – speaking in Athens, Ohio, 10-15-2008
  • "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." – speaking about Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic primaries, 01-31-2007

But Barack Obama has been touted as the greatest orator ever to represent the Democrat Party and the most intelligent man to ever hold the office of president, even though there’s no evidence for either belief.  And because of the image the media and the Democrats had built up for Obama, they found themselves in too deep when Mitt Romney trounced the president in last week’s debate.  Even the pre-debate efforts to downplay how well the president may do against Romney weren’t able to lower expectations enough to save face from the resulting defeat.

The fact is that because of the low expectations for Biden, he has a low threshold to cross for an acceptable performance.  Add to that the fact that Paul Ryan, his opponent, is known for his number-crunching abilities and strong handle on facts and policies, Ryan has a much higher level of expectation to meet.  Ryan is expected to mop the floor with Biden, but could very well get caught up in trouble if he allows Biden to control the debate and take it down the path of personal stories and examples, whether true or fictional.  

No matter what numbers Ryan quotes and deeply detailed analysis he lays out, the way around those arguments is to ignore the facts and get people to use more right-brained thinking in processing what is happening in the debate.  Facts can be overcome if the answers given by Biden impact people emotionally enough.  And since no one can check on the spot as to the truth of the answers, it doesn’t matter if the left makes them up, twists facts, or actually has real examples to back up their claims. 

Right-brained thinking is often said to be more emotional based focusing on feelings while left-brained thinking is often said to be more logic-based focusing on facts and analysis.  The idea that you would want people to use right-brained thinking is because then, when you talk about things that impact people emotionally, they will relate to it through feelings and tend to support your side of an argument. 

Salespeople are often trained to try to get people to think from a right-brained perspective when making a buying decision.  Then they can appeal to a person’s emotions and often win the sale.  For example, getting someone to buy one vehicle over another is often a right-brained decision.  The salesman may appeal to the emotions regarding safety and therefore sell a car that is known for its safety features and construction.  Or the salesman may appeal to the emotions of nostalgia and our youth when dealing with one of us males who is having a mid-life crisis and get us to buy a sports car. 

Using this concept, if Biden can tell stories of people who’ve supposedly benefited from the policies of the Obama/Biden administration, then he will be striking at the emotions of debate viewers and will win them over due to their empathy for people in those circumstances. 

However, if Ryan can hold his ground and keep the discussion on statistics and analysis he can and will build a very strong case based on logic (left-brained thinking).  The way he closes the deal with voters is to bring up stories that move people to right-brained thinking while he tells stories and gives examples of how the policies that a Romney/Ryan administration would impact people even more than what Obama/Biden have to offer.  He can also tell stories of how the current policies have negatively impacted people.  This, once again, moves people to action because of emotion and nothing is as powerful in gaining support than getting people to do it from emotion. 

Paul Ryan is brilliant at what he does.  But his personality is not drawn to use emotion to drive a decision, His is a personality that will try to convince people through logic and analysis.  Because of that he has to work very hard to also appeal to the emotional side of voters. 

Barack Obama lost the first debate not because he was “off his game” last week.  No, he lost the debate because Mitt Romney was in his element.  This is what Mitt Romney has spent his life doing:  encountering situations with huge problems, figuring out how to fix them, and then implementing solutions that result the majority of the time in success.  

That’s the difference between a true leader and someone who’s just in a leadership position without the qualifications to be there.  In my new book, No Tomorrows: How To Halt America’s Imminent Collapse And Return To The American Dream – And Why It Must Start With The 2012 Elections, I address the root problems our nation faces and how to fix them.  One is replacing our unqualified leaders with true leaders.  Mitt Romney showed some of the character traits of a true leader in last week’s debate.

Barack Obama has never done that in his life prior to politics or in politics.  He has no experience at problem-solving, let alone success at it.  Yet the expectations of the media and Democrats since he was nominated to run in 2008 were set so high because they believed and wanted everyone else to believe that he was the messiah.  He wasn’t, and now we have his track record to prove it.  He lost because he performed in the debate no better than he usually performs.  His opponent this time was far more qualified and it showed.

Joe Biden can give the Democrats a respite from the criticisms of Obama’s performance if he only can hold his own and not make too many mistakes.  Paul Ryan has a much higher standard to meet.  But don’t forget that Paul Ryan is capable of meeting the expectations set for him.