In Defense of VP Debates


When I was little, my Momma told me, “Justin, never discuss politics, religion, taxes or death while meeting someone for the first time. Oh, and stop talking about The View. It’s weird, even for you.”

So, if you are joining me for the first time: Hi. How was your day? Do you play the tuba? Oh, that is fascinating. You are so funny! Did you know Elizabeth Hasselbeck placed fourth in Survivor before she joined a certain daytime talk show?

Hmm, made it farther than usual. Perfect.

So did you see the VP debate last night, my now dear friend? Did it seem important to you at all, or was it just a new way to express your opinions via forced rhetoric and internet comment boards?

Apparently, responses are largely in favor of the latter.

Republicans rally behind the sad-eyed suburbanite from infomercials, while Democrats prefer the chuckling octogenarian who creepily flirts with your aunt. Actually, a debate between those unfair caricatures would be awesome.



Are they really unfair?

Are they really unfair?

Due to the semi-tie of these two politicians, Americans are left to make their own decision about the winner. This has led to widespread derision and false claims of clear victors. It happens after every debate, but close ones are far worse. Last week’s presidential debate had none of these ambiguity problems, because everyone knew who won. According to the internet, Big Bird.

But insipid opinions are actually more sensible than those of many pundits. Pre-debate, you wouldn’t find many professionals who considered the VP debate anything more than “fun.”

I included quotes because political pundits think checking Gallup polls is "fun."

I included quotes because political pundits think checking Gallup polls is “fun.”

In many ways, everyone is wrong. Ha, talk about broad strokes…

Some people treat debates like sporting events, rooting for a team, tossing back a few Jägerbombs, beating up opposing fans in bathrooms and parking lots. And considering the “no clear victor” thing, both sides can trumpet their vuvuzelas. Then everyone loses their minds. On the other hand, political pundits seem to believe VP debates are an interesting diversion, like stopping at the Corn Palace on the way to Yosemite. And worst of all, some people just ignore the VPs completely.

In all, too many people seem to believe the VP debates hold little importance. Either they ignore the facts in lieu of a pre-determined outcome, or they consider it “fun” fluff. It’s not like we’re voting for either of them, right?

Well, kinda we are. Strike that, we totally are doing just that.

Democracy needs to be simplified wherever possible, but the importance of VP candidates should never be overlooked. If, God forbid, something were to happen to President Obama, we would have President Biden. Likewise, a Romney presidency could lead to President Ryan. Are you as fearful of those possibilities as I am?

Selecting VPs has, in recent times, become a matter of balancing the ticket. Biden gives Obama some foreign policy street cred, and Ryan gives Romney the youthful vigor of P90X. However, if it came to actually being president, both of these men are woefully under-qualified. And instead of pointing that out, we half-watch the debate and hope we get some good meme material.

Like this.

Like this.

Granted, we do that for everything nowadays… but never mind, that’s not the point.

We really should take the VP debates a bit more seriously. We got a free pass four years ago with a certain Alaskan, but not every debate can rely on potential disaster to make it interesting. Biden v. Ryan should have been a serious discussion about weighty topics with real world effects, and we treat it with none of the respect it deserves. VP debates, and therein VP candidates, have become pure pop culture, but I wish they never fell into my blog’s topic range. Not that I’m complaining.

Making fun of serious topics is fun. Making fun of “fun” topics? Not so fun. So can we make the VP debates serious again? I’d really appreciate it.

Tune in next week when I defend Hinduism, excise taxes and the grim spectre who haunts us all. Also, The View.

Fun. And scary. So scary.

Fun. And scary. So scary.


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