BOSTON (CBS) – You know what Rorschach tests are, those inkblots psychologists show you because what you see in them can reveal insight into your emotions and personality.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
That’s what political debates are.
Sometimes I swear, you could put a hundred people together to watch a debate and while you might not get a hundred different interpretations of what happened, you can be sure they will be divided according to partisan leaning and other predispositions.
Only very rarely do you get a debate where just about everyone, however grudgingly, comes away with the same perception.
That’s what made last week’s Obama-Romney debate so unusual. But last night’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan was not.
Going into the event, it seemed clear that Biden had one main task – return hope and some enthusiasm to a Democratic base left dispirited by the president’s weak performance in last week’s debate. And it looked to me like he did that, hitting on all the partisan red-meat – Romney’s foolish 47% remarks, tax breaks for the rich, “gutting” Medicare, and so on – with gusto.
So, partisan Democrats saw what they wanted in the ink-blot, and went to bed happy.
But Ryan, while considerably stiffer than Biden, also acquitted himself well, keeping his cool and zinging his opponent with the closest thing I’ve seen to a clever line all season, the remark about how Biden of all people can understand it when words don’t come out the way you wanted.
Republicans surely wake up today feeling fine about the inkblot they saw.
And what about the voters in-between who will decide the election? They might have found Ryan a bit bloodless. They also might have found Biden disrespectful and rambling.
But I’m guessing, they mostly watched baseball. And whatever else baseball is, it’s not a Rorschact test.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.