Right after the debate on PBS, pseudo-conservative analyst David Brooks hailed Joe Biden over Paul Ryan. “Biden naturally talks the language of the kitchen table,” while Paul Ryan talked the language of conservative think tanks like Empower America, where he used to work.
By Friday night’s NewsHour, Brooks shifted with the crowd, and agreed that Biden was too rude, and certainly way too rude for a PBS set. (He said the same in the NPR studio). Neither of his liberal counterparts were agreeing, but Brooks went overboard in claiming Biden was even too hot for "Hardball" [!]:
DAVID BROOKS: He lifted the morale of the Democrats, but I think it is simultaneously and also true that he offended a lot of people. A lot of Republicans were deeply offended. A lot of independents will be offended. There are sort of two phases in the series of the debate, for the people who watched, which was a lot, by the way. I was surprised.
MARK SHIELDS: Fifty-one million.
BROOKS: Yes. So, people are really interested. So it's very high ratings. But then there's the discussion period about the debate. And that discussion period is mostly about Biden's manners. And so I personally didn't like the manners. I find Biden extremely engaging and charming and also annoying simultaneously.
And so, if I had interrupted Mark -- or if anybody came on the "NewsHour" and behaved the way Biden did, we would kick them off in the middle of the set. It is just not what discussions should be like.
And not only the "NewsHour." You could go on "Hardball,". and you don't talk that way. And so I do think the extreme condescension, the constant interruption, the weird smiling, I do think that will dominate the discussion phase. And I do think that will turn off people because independents really don't like the way politics works. And I do think that will help symbolize it.
Shields responded by insisting that CBS polled independents right after the debate and found Biden won 50-31. “I mean, Joe Biden's default facial expression is a smile. I mean, if he's irritated, he smiles. He's got great teeth. I don't blame him for smiling. But if he's happy, he smiles. If he -- if he is a little nervous, he smiles. I didn't find it to be -- I mean, he did interruption, but I didn't find it to be so over the top."
Shields did allow that it “was an appropriate statement” for Ryan to say the audience would get more out of the debate “if we didn’t interrupt each other.” Brooks, naturally, added "I do think, by the way, that Biden actually in reality in the Senate has been a deal-maker. And more of a deal-maker than Paul Ryan."
On NPR’s All Things Considered, Brooks said “partisanship is sort of barbarizing and if I treated E.J. the way Joe Biden acted last night, you would throw me out of the studio.”
Dionne shot back with the usual chumminess: “In as civil and polite a way as I can, I think David's completely wrong in reading this debate that way because, yes, Joe Biden deserves a humanitarian award for stopping so many Democrats from committing suicide.”