All you need to know about Paul Ryan’s skill as a debater
When you debate competitively there are some issues you know not to
address. There are others you know to better than to pursue. Then there
are those that must be avoided at all costs—that must not even be
mentioned lest your loss become an object lesson in unwitting
self-immolation. Whether Ryan’s handlers wanted to watch him burn or
Ryan was simply too stupid to recognize the brutal inefficacy of his
anecdote matters less than the fact that he said it with his “honest
face” to Joe Biden’s actual one:
RYAN: Mitt Romney’s a car guy. They keep
misquoting him, but let me tell you about the Mitt Romney I know. This
is a guy who I was talking to a family in Northborough, Massachusetts
the other day, Sheryl and Mark Nixon. Their kids were hit in a car
crash, four of them. Two of them, Rob and Reed, were paralyzed.
The one thing you don’t address—the one you know better than to
pursue—the one that must be avoided at all costs—the one that must
not even be mentioned in a debate with Joe Biden is a tragic car accident.
The attempt to elicit sympathy for Romney by anecdotal proxy is a poor
enough of a play. The decision to do so via an anecdote about a tragic
car accident in a debate with Joe Biden means you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power.