We often hear about the pot calling the kettle black. The old saying is echoed in complaints about Vice President Joe Biden’s performance against Rep. Paul Ryan in their debate Oct. 11. It perfectly predicted what happened in the rematch between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, who seemed unimpressed by what was said about his vice president because it so consistently was an assertion that seemed like what the Republican extremists themselves so often do.
The charge is that Biden, with his animated reactions to ideas he thought were absurd, was rude, dismissive and evasive. Of course, the accusation is now being made by the same right-wing ideologues who perfected this particular way of demeaning the opposition. With the tables turned, the guilty are pretending that they have always been as soft and sweet as a marshmallow.
Rush Limbaugh, the far right’s attack dog, fulminated about Biden’s performance: “The way a lot of people are gonna watch that debate last night is a young son embarrassed of his bloated, overbearing father who’s wrong about everything and his son is trying to tell his father the world has changed.”
Well, Limbaugh knows a thing or two about embarrassment. After all, old Rush lost a large number of sponsors because of his attack on Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student whom he called a “slut.”
But Limbaugh was just fine calling Biden “disrespectful” for having the gall to puncture the lies Romney and his cross-training buddy from Wisconsin have been shouting as they crisscross the country.
Then again, hypocrisy always lurks close to the surface of American public life.
Those familiar with the Nation of Islam know how it was fond of detailing the white man’s racism while at the same time managing to be the most racist and imbecilic version of black protest, one that caused incalculable harm to the civil-rights movement.
The Nation has always claimed to be scientific in its wild and hateful assertions, just like a GOP that by and large claims that it is pro-life yet advocates for less help for the poor and more wars in which our soldiers might die. This might remind those who have actually paid any attention to the conservative version of Batman and Robin, Mittman and Boy Ryan. Mittman has promised to repeal Obamacare and stop funding Planned Parenthood, while Boy Ryan has sided with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, the man the GOP wishes the public would forget.
On Oct. 11, the covers were pulled off Ryan in the same way that they have been pulled off “birthers” like Donald Trump, called a “bloviating ignoramus” by George Will, or the rabid fringe “thinkers” exposed by David Brooks, Peggy Noonan or David Frum, all of whom are conservatives serious enough to make a real argument.
Too many people, though, fall for the lies of the right, which is why Biden had to engage in heated exchanges, exposing Ryan’s famed mastery of the facts as nothing more than cobbled-together factoids. Obama mirrored that heat and accuracy in shooting down the Mittman when he tried again to get away with presenting himself as a trustworthy contender. But once was enough. He went the way of Boy Ryan.
The supposedly impressive Republican intellectual was made to appear no more than a college boy, desperately trying to repeat the half-truths fed to him by the Koch brothers and the tea-party cabal.
Joe Biden did what had been sorely wanted when Obama faced off against Romney the previous week, with very poor results. As we saw, the president may have been inspired by his own second man to come forward with the heat we all knew he had.
A few nights ago, Obama was one with Biden as he showed that the Republican Party is out of sensible ideas, that it is afraid of profound thought and that it will tailor the facts to fit its own outmoded vision of reality.
Of course, that may all be beside the point. Actual facts and numbers are not important to Ryan or Romney. They only want the high chair of victory, and they will take it at any cost.
Like their billionaire backers, they believe in a quick profit and quicker solutions — no matter what the price ultimately paid by the people or the land.
As both Obama and Biden made clear with the truth, sometimes served too hot for liars and their supporters to swallow, this country will continue to recover from the mess left by the previous administration. That mess has been held much in place, as the obstructionist Congress thinks we all will forget.
This cannot be hidden by calling all references to the public voting record a “blame game.” It is time to think ahead, not stay caught on the barbwire of quick fixes. Memory will serve the public far better than the shifting factoids brought to the debates by the Mittman and Boy Ryan.
Stanley Crouch can be reached by email at email@example.com.