On issue after issue, Biden was dominant.

He defended the Obama record well.

He exposed Ryan and Romney for not having anything substantively different to offer on Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria. (There was, in fact, a distressing bipartisan unanimity on foreign policy. And by the way, when Martha Raddatz said “no one” wants cuts in defense, my eyebrows went up.)

Biden stressed how Ryan and Romney were serving millionaires with tax cuts and disdaining the 47% whom Romney referred to in that Mother wJones interview. Biden also surfaced a quote from Ryan saying that 30% of the public are takers. Ryan had no answer for that one.

Biden quickly introduced the topic of the successful auto bailout, and Ryan had a terrible comeback for that, saying that Romney is a “car guy” and then randomly reciting a visit Romney paid to a family that had a bad car accident—a story that had nothing to do with the bailout of Detroit.

Biden stressed how the Republicans were obstructing programs that would boost jobs and help homeowners, and urged Romney and Ryan and their Republican allies in Congress to just “get out of the way.”

Through the entirety of the debate, from the opening bell to the closing statements, Biden had the better of Ryan, who looked callow and unprepared to be president. He acted more like he was running for high school class president than vice president of the United States. He repeated a couple of prepared zingers that didn’t zing. And at one point he said to Biden that he knew the vice president was under a lot of pressure to do well because of Obama’s bad debate performance—a snide comment that fell very flat.

Though he grinned too much while Ryan was talking, Biden was forceful in making his points. He talked directly to the camera, especially to seniors, in defending Obama’s policy on Medicare and to warn them that Romney and Ryan would hurt this program. And he stressed that he and the President would work hard every day for the middle class—for jobs and for the security that “everything will be OK.”

It was a powerful, commanding performance by Joe Biden, and a weak and weasley one by Paul Ryan.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Romney in Denial about Lethal Lack of Health Insurance."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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