For those who spent substantial portions of their childhood in the waiting rooms of doctors; offices, the vice-presidential debate this week was a fine example of Goofus and Gallant. Paul Ryan, the often too-syrupy, too goody-two-shoes Gallant of this scene, managed to avoid lashing out at the over-the-top rudeness of Joe Biden's Goofus. I suspect that was the reason he drank so much water: a lesser boy scout would have, at the bare minimum, thrown that water directly at Biden, in order to wash that ridiculous smirk off his face.
Many of my friends were wondering if, perhaps, there might have been some illness that Biden suffered, that he laughed at inappropriate moments, rolled his eyes, constantly interrupted, openly lied about his own record, and… well, I can't recall every complaint my friends had, but the list seemed almost as interminably as the debate itself.
Personally, I think Goofus Biden's behavior was completely choreographed. The interruptions, the crude and boorish actions, all were designed to keep Gallant Ryan from successfully delivering a single, completed argument on behalf of his campaign. Sadly, it did work far too often. Ryan would start a sentence, and more than eighty times in ninety minutes (or, if you want to be honest about time distribution, eighty-plus times in 41 minutes) Goofus threw in some snarky remark. In at least one case, the man who is supposed to maintain the dignity of the second-highest office in the land jumped in and answered a question directed at his opponent in the debate.
Any way you look at it, though, interrupting a person an average of once every thirty seconds is poor sportsmanship, poor debate practice, and, in the long run, probably very poor political maneuvering. At best, it is as the intellectual equal to Goofus having dropped trou and waggled his private parts in all our faces. It may or may not energize the demoralized base, but those who had come into the evening still undecided, those who were watching the debate in hopes of being informed voters, those people more often than not will be repulsed by this, and look far more favorably upon Gallant.
Apparently, waiting one's turn, keeping one's pants on, is beneath that office. Or, perhaps, Goofus has decided that dignity itself is beneath the dignity of the office.