The Thinking 

A Debate with Gilbert and Sullivan Moments

October 12, 2012


MARTHA RADDATZ, the moderator of last night’s vice presidential debate, failed to control the show. She did nothing while Joe Biden frequently interrupted Paul Ryan, who came across as sincere and had a few good lines, but was generally disappointing and overwhelmed by Biden, who was laughing and grinning like the Joker in Batman. At times, both candidates were talking at once.

Lydia Sherman writes:

For some reason the comments by Ryan: “This is the…this is the inspector general,” reminded me of some words in the song “The Very Model of the Modern Major General,” from the Gilbert and Sullivan show, The Pirates of Penzance. When my daughter plays and sings it on the piano for her children, some of them fall on the floor laughing. When she read the debate script to them, they did the same thing.

 Here is some of the transcript:

RYAN: Here’s the problem. They got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, turning Medicare into a piggybank for Obamacare. Their own actuary from the administration came to Congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of this.

BIDEN: That’s not what they said.

RYAN: 7.4 million seniors are projected to lose their current Medicare Advantage coverage they have. That’s a $3,200 benefit cut.

BIDEN: That didn’t happen.

RYAN: What we’re saying…

BIDEN: More people signed up.

RYAN: These are from your own actuaries.

BIDEN: More — more — more people signed up for Medicare Advantage after the change.

RYAN: What — there’s…

BIDEN: Nobody is…


RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know…

BIDEN: No, this is…


RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don’t keep interrupting each other.

BIDEN: Well, don’t take all the four minutes then.


BIDEN: Martha…

RADDATZ: Go ahead. Go ahead.

BIDEN: Martha, look. His colleague…

RYAN: Crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

BIDEN: … runs an investigative committee, spent months and months and months going into this.

RYAN: This is the — this is the inspector general.

BIDEN: Months and months. They found no evidence of cronyism.

And I love my friend here. I — I’m not allowed to show letters but go on our website, he sent me two letters saying, “By the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin?” We sent millions of dollars. You know…

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