In Thursday night’s hockey game of a debate, the odd semiotics were not Gore-y sighs but grins. It’s hard to imagine a politician getting penalized for smiling too much, but Joe Biden managed it, breaking out in smiles and laughter 92 times by the count of ABC News. Ever since Obama tapped him, Biden has felt that his role is to warm up Barry’s Brother From Another Planet affect. In this debate, making up for his boss’s Spockiness was critically important, so Biden overcompensated with a volcano of verbosity and gesticulating.
Biden was trying to do what Romney did well: come across as a senior partner chastising a junior associate who screwed up. For this vice president, though, less is never more. He mugged condescension as if he were the star of a silent movie. But who ever accused Uncle Joe of subtlety?....Still, in a political world where most leaders are so marketed and poll-tested that they show little temperament, why begrudge Joltin’ Joe an excess of it — especially when he’s confronted with such whoppers? Besides, he offered a tour de force on facts that brought the playing field to life again.