I watched last night’s Veep debate, and in the immediate aftermath, I felt very good about Ryan’s performance. He was solid, on-point, accurate. I thought he stumbled the constituent service part of the debate, but that was his only slip — and one that nobody really cares about. I watched MSNBC because I like to know what the other side is talking about, and I find Rachel Maddow to be really very funny (although I don’t think that that is her intent).
There were two beefs that Rachel & the gang had…
- They couldn’t understand Ryan’s stance on the Afghanistan surge drawdown, and
- They couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t list specific tax deductions to cut.
1) Relative to Afghanistan, I thought Ryan was crystal clear. It is still the fighting season. We had a surge to give the Afghan authorities time to build up security and civil infrastructure so that they can hold the gains on their own. We have pulled out 20,000 surge troops too early. So, we have left a light force to fight heavily armed insurgents while our only help is a still poorly trained Afghan military. Who do you want fighting next to you? An American Marine? Or a recently trained Afgani, who might shoot you in the back?
Ryan’s position is clear. Allow the surge to continue through the fighting season so that our troops are supporting our troops. Reduce our force level after the fighting season when it is safe to withdraw them all.
2) Eliminating tax deductions are a negotiation with Congress. That’s what Reagan and O’Neill did. It worked. We already know that if you mention an obvious cut, like the uber-wealthy Sesame Street business interests, that the leftwing and their media friends will try to hammer you. But, just as John Kennedy did and Ronald Reagan did, you can lower the rates and broaden the base and the economy grows. The Jared Bernstein acolytes don’t understand this (it isn’t in their Macroeconomic models), so the MSNBC folks don’t get it either.
So, I felt pretty good upon calling it a night last night. Upon waking this morning, I knew that we had won another debate because even MSNBC, this time Andrea Mitchell, was yammering on about how Biden had claimed during the debate that the Administration didn’t know that the Benghazi embassy had asked for more troops prior to the 9/11 attack and that they didn’t know that there was not a protest. So, either the Administration is being mendacious or incompetent (neither of which is a flattering description). If they’re being mendacious, then they’re playing the mainstream media for suckers, and even Ms. Mitchell doesn’t like that.
In short, Ryan nailed it, and Smilin’ Joe looked goofy and incompetent. On to next week.