Not only has Joe Biden made the transition from drunk uncle to touchy uncle, in the eyes of the GOP he's also made the move from irrepressible gaffe machine to the second coming of Daniel Webster.
In fact, both camps are elevating their opponents and downplaying their own abilities. It's all about a pre-debate strategy that I believe former President George W. Bush termed "the soft bigotry of low expectations." Consider…
Ryan versus Ryan
"It’s great to be here in North Canton, [Ohio]. Or, as Joe Biden might say, it’s great to be here in Nevada!” – Paul Ryan, taking a shot at a Biden gaffe, 8/16/12 "He's fast on the cuff, he's a witty guy. He knows who he is and he's been doing this for 40 years. So you're not going to rattle Joe Biden." – Paul Ryan, 9/30/12
Priebus versus Priebus
"Wouldn't it be nice to have a second in command who can spending his days doing more than just prying his foot out of his mouth" – RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, 8/28/12 "I think people realize that Joe Biden is a gifted orator. He's very good at rhetoric. And I think he's very relatable," - RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, 10/7/12
Priebus versus Priebus, Part II
"Joe Biden has of late put his foot in his mouth in very public ways" - Reince Priebus, 10/7/12 "I think most people understand that Joe Biden has been debating for a long time — since the early 1900s he's been debating," – Reince Priebus, Ibid.
The early 1900s, wow! So, if not quite Daniel Webster, Biden's at least a William Jennings Bryan.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Debates, Joe Biden, Paul Ryan