I have been told that communication is 60% visual.  In our modern-day work-from-home/ manage by conference call work environment; much of this meaning is lost.  Then suddenly we have a nationwide debate pitting two skilled politicians on live television and suddenly this comment comes back into focus.

Last night Vice President Biden faced off against Congressman Ryan in the only debate of the campaign season for the two rivals.  Biden was faced with a poor showing the week before by President Obama and a 4-year record that left the Vice President vulnerable.  Ryan had a good working knowledge of the economy and a vision of what is required to fix an ailing economy.  Both had a future place in history at stake as well as their own thoughts of the future direction of the greatest country in the world even though it has has taken some black eyes in the past several years.

Bidon was being viewed as an expert politician that has a tendency to blurt out a statement that disproves the theory that it is impossible to put a full -sized adult foot into ones mouth.  Last night everyone was hanging on to see if it would happen again. His debate with Sarah Palin 4 years ago proved that he can control his rhetoric when he is in the heat of battle and he was capable to staying focused.  He accomplished in depate with Ryan.

So how does a skilled politician such as Biden counter his rivaling debater.  Last night he did it with skill while at the same time leaving himself vulnerable to ridicule.

Winston Churchill was a debater and politician who operated at a level above the abilities of some of the best politicians ever to take an oath of office.  At one time he was debating an issue in London.  He and his rival had the attention of the members of Parliament.  Prior to the debate Churchill had privately slipped a piano wire through his cigar and then began to smoke it.  During the debate on the floor the cigar ash began to grow….and grow….and grow.  As his adversary continued to make his point everyone’s attention was more and more on the cigar and the amazement at how long the ash was growing and then wondering if it would finally fall.  Eventually Churchill made his point while his appointment’s argument was never fully understood. Churchill won the argument.  He had made a decisive distraction.

Last night John Bidon attempted the same ploy.  Trade a cigar for rude behavior and you distract from the opponents message and it worked to some extent.  With split screened cameras Bidon would laugh, make gutteral noises, interrupt Ryan and thus distract from Ryan’s message.  The audience was tuning in Bidon’s visual messages instead of Ryans verbal message. 

A master of the podium, Bidon had succedded but it has had a tendency to back fire.  Two of three networks polled the audiences and gave the debate to Ryan.  This was a surprise as I thought it was a draw.  Both men spoke well, were well informed and displayed passion with their vision.  What was a collateral casuality of this ploy was the maturity and respect that should be displayed by an individual that is the second ranking elected official of the United States and a person that is truly a heartbeat away from becoming the leader of the country.   The networks were abuzz with the manner in which they viewed Vice President Bidon.  While Ryan kept to the high road Bidon acted like someone running for class treasurer in his Freshman High School Class.  How sad that a man of his long-standing dedication to public service had to stoop to a point that the respect for the office he holds becomes diminished.


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