Liveblogging Joe Biden And Paul Ryan Debating Without Sound

by Awl Staff

Tonight! Two men enter, one man leaves as Vice President. (That would be Joe Biden. Who is the Vice President.) But now a new man wants to be a Vice President next time!

Here they settle that grudge when, at 9 p.m., Old Amtrak Joe and Paul Iron Ryan take the stage at Centre College in delightful Danville, Kentucky, for the Debate of the Vice Presidents Who Would Be Vice President. Did you know that Centre College has the highest graduation rate of any college in Kentucky, at 81%!?

Please join us in your living rooms and cafes and offices at 9 p.m. when the festivities begin. But not just any festivities. Welcome to the first live-blog of a debate where we will be watching with the sound muted. Let’s get physical. Let us hear their bodies talk.

8:50 PM — Exactly (?) 52 years ago tonight, Richard Nixon and John Kennedy did a historical debate on “FaceTime,” and millions of Americans who watched the video decided that Nixon was a creep because he was all sketchy and sweaty. They were correct. Those people who either could not see or lacked a television were forced (by police) to listen to the debate on the radio, as was traditional. And they thought Kennedy “sounded weird.” Tonight, we reverse history by watching a video debate without audio, to see who looks funniest.

8:54 PM — So there are a number of women in the hall down there in Kentucky. It seemed like some kind of PTA meeting, where everyone got credit for bring cakes and stuff. Now they are sitting down to watch their men.

8:55 PM — As this is a visuals-only liveblog, it is important to immediately address those TIME Magazine posed photographs of Paul Ryan dressed like “Poochy” from The Simpsons. Really a bold move, Ayn Paul!

8:58 PM — Chris Hayes is talking with his hands on my TV, because I am tuned to the communist station. I love Chris Hayes, although “what did he do with his hair??” was just asked loudly in my household. Not in an ANGRY way. Just in a surprised way!

8:59 PM — Remember to TURN OFF THE SOUND, mute the volume, etc., and put on some Appropriate Music, everybody! (If you want. You can also not do that, and let us mute-debate-blog.

9:00 PM — And the last political-media voice we shall hear tonight is that of Brian Williams, because now it is time to put on some October Jamz and mute the MSNBC.

9:01 PM — Also here’s to NOSE GUY:

9:03 PM — Chris Matthews looks … so different, so glamorous. WAIT this isn’t even Chris Matthews. We are really going to have to use our EYES, aren’t we? No verbal cues at all.

what is your SOUNDTRACK tonight?
Choire S.
Hmm, maybe some Calexico? Giant Sand? Something soothing.
I am going to listen to this Blonde Redhead song “23” again and again until I fall over.

9:06 PM — Paul Ryan is so INTENSE. He is rippling and moving and breathing and nearly jumping inside his suit, as if it was a bag of aggro snakes.

9:08 PM — While Joe Biden was going GUN FINGER.

Ken: Paul Ryan literally looks like a 14-year-old child, smirking, blinking, wincing. Four years of The Onion characterizing Biden as some shirtless loser working on his car in the street has sort of given Biden an advantage here.
Choire: That’s right! He’s UNPREDICTABLE. Like a poor person.

9:15 PM — Oh and here’s that Paul Ryan teen-face nasty-face in a little slo-mo. VERY REVEALING.

9:18 PM — Paul Ryan just lacks alpha-male power without his red cap and barbell. Whose hands look more like “human hands beneath a muppet?” We may have a tie here.

9:20 PM — Ryan’s red tie is nicely evocative of the little red cap. But you know who actually smiles? JOE BIDEN. Paul Ryan isn’t really a smiler, right? The weightlifting photoshoot showed that he cannot actually smile. Paul is a grimace-r. He’s holding a grudge with every tight-lipped smile. The raised eyebrows, the “fuck you” smirk, it’s a very unattractive package.

Ken: The moderator looks very authoritative while also having the best “style.” Perhaps she should be the new vice president?
Choire: I would vote for her. She certainly LOOKS as if she knows things. I wish they were showing her more, I am suspecting she is saying more important things than these boys.

9:23 PM — Biden is fluttering his hands a bit now, the eyes sharpen, he looks down thoughtfully, and it is kind of like a rattlesnake about to strike. The clasped hands with the eyes down! He looks like he might just POUND THIS KID.

9:27 PM —

KenLayne: That the Biden pre-strike is comforting compared to Ryan’s cornered rat is probably just evidence that we’re liberal commies. But I also don’t like people my age acting all GOP Congressional Asshole, you know? It’s a bit more evil when you understand this Ryan guy grew up in the same America that we did.

Choire: Right? He’s our PEER. And it’s horrifying that he is like us in some ways except completely misinformed and evil and wants to shutter the ladyclinics.

9:28 PM — They just had a moment where it looked like they were both enjoying this, which I guess is admirable? But Ryan goes right back to the death scowl.

9:29 PM — After all the mileage comedians and the right have gotten out of Biden’s thinning hair plugs, tonight it looks positively cuddly compared to Ryan’s missing forehead and Dracula gel job.

9:32 PM — The first appearance of “Biden Hands,” hooray! A million gifs are being formulated by the machinery at this very moment.

9:33 PM — I have no idea what’s going on but Joe Biden is GOING BIG. He’s as animated as animatronic Al Sharpton.

9:35 PM — It’s so hard to watch people that you hate. Don’t I know it.

Are you a looper, Vice President Biden?

— Natasha VC (@natashavc) October 12, 2012

KenLayne A half hour in, and I’m starting to wish for a few more camera angles.
Choire S. They could use a new cinematographer.
KenLayne Wide pan, overhead zoom out, upskirt, just break it up.
Choire S. CreepShot. Anything. It’s hard when only one person has any liveliness or body language, and the other is actually very shut down. My therapist would be really concerned about Paul Ryan. How can he release these emotions when he does not move??

9:40 PM — Paul Ryan is going to have insane frown wrinkles by the time he’s … 45?

9:46 PM — They are listening to us, in the control room! The shots are changing wildly, the Biden Finger Hammer is Hammering. Three shots, back moderator, siingles, sideways, sidecars, it’s all happening. (At least on the MSNBC feed.)

9:48 PM — Because we’re working up to the big car chase.

9:49 PM — The showrunner really needs to roll out a cherry 1972 Dodge Charger and see which one of these guys can change the oil quickest and then put on a tux to take the lady moderator out to dinner and dancing, platonically.

9:53 PM —

9:54 PM — Paul Ryan uses what they call “product” in his hair, does that seem possible?
It’s is super shiny and wet. At first I figured he’d just popped out of the shower, at the gym, where he wears that red baseball cap, but his hair would’ve dried by now in the 65-degree air conditioning.

9:55 PM — WHOA Joe Biden is leaning back into himself in SHOCK. His face almost went backwards through his skull … but then he processed, laughed, and wrote something down. This is what he wrote down: “DICKWAD.”

10:00 PM — Biden just stealth middle-fingered Ryan. Pen between index and thumb, middle finger pointed at Ryan.

10:01PM —

Choire: I have a suspicion that they have not talked about “domestic issues” (aka GAYS/VAGINAS) yet. Because I think that’s when it gets HAND-WAVEY.
Ken: And Ryan starts “adjusting himself.”
Choire: EW???

10:04PM — Watching Paul Ryan muted, I finally understand why his appearance on the Romney ticket gave Obama an 11-point lead in Wisconsin. In pure body language, this guy is saying, “I’m going to take all your shit. And I’m going to enjoy it.” Would love to know what he watches on Netflix streaming. You know how Rafael Trujillo constantly watched bloody horror movies on 16mm in his executive mansion before torturing the liberal opposition? I get that feeling. Not that Ryan is in any way hardcore enough to do anything like that. But you can kind of see him at home alone for the weekend, in the townhouse, beered up and Pantera blasting and just endless bloody slasher movies on the widescreen. While Biden just lustily kisses his wife for three hours, brings her to multiple orgasms, and then tucks her in before retiring to the garage to rebuild an outboard motor. There’s a mirror in the garage, a Dogfish Pale Ale mirror a constituent gave him, and after rebuilding the engine, he gives the mirror a quick wink and thumbs up.

10:10PM — Fun fact. Joe Biden is going to be 70 this November! I did not know that. Bless.

Ken: How many drinks of water has Ryan had tonight? I’ve been typing and refilling my beverage and otherwise not constantly watching the screen, so maybe I missed Biden having a drink of water? But I think we need to consider the likelihood that Paul Ryan will “turn back into a lizard” if he doesn’t keep hydrated. Biden’s all, “To hell with water, I’ve got a case of Jack back at the hotel.”
Choire: INTERESTINGLY I’ve seen Ryan drink a bunch, but it was only shown on one of my two feeds. I have not seen Biden drink AT ALL.
Ken: He doesn’t need it. “Water? That’s what’s in the toilet.” A man doesn’t go home by Amtrak every day for 40 years without developing a powerful thirst for firewater.

10:18PM — Whoa Paul Ryan put on his Serious Boy Face.

10:22PM — Now we know Biden better. There are worse supply packs than BIDEN’S EXPRESSION ARSENAL:
1. 70 years of living large.
2. The HELL did you just say?
3. Hahaha jackass, don’t bring a barbell to a nuclear war.
4. Be home in time for lovin’, Jill.

10:26PM —

Ken: Ryan’s shoulders sink ever deeper inside that giant David Byrne suit.
Is it weariness, boredom, petulance?
Choire: I think he really believes whatever wacky things he’s saying — PTERODACTYLS? LEGITIMATE RAPE? — and he’s sad that Biden laughed at him all night.
Ken: I swear his head was a line higher in the Declaration or whatever it is, the backdrop.
Choire: He IS getting lower and lower! Like a hungry zoo animal.
Ken: Yeah he definitely doesn’t look hurt. It’s more like, “Why do I have to sit by this old man? Ayn Rand said to kill the old people.”

10:28PM —

10:29PM — Ken: Oh it’s the closing statement, I can see the phony sincerity on Ryan. CREEPER.
Choire: He has his Bobby Jindal camera face on.

10:30PM —

Choire: I dislike his… everything. BUT HIS HAIR is impeccable.

Ken: So was the Werewolf of London’s.


Ken: Handshakes, Joe looks pleased, huge bunch of ladies rush to sex him. Ryan has a smaller crew, possibly due to lower sperm counts.

Choire: And they have unaborted children to greet them. So, I wonder what they talked about tonight.