Indeed, the official line seems to be that you’re a liar if you call a plan under which people receive a fixed sum to spend on insurance, as opposed to simply getting insurance, a voucher scheme.
Among the lying liars, then, is the guy who, back in 2009, described the Ryan plan as “converting Medicare into defined contribution sort of voucher system”. Oh, wait: that was Paul Ryan.
We’ve seen this movie before. For decades the right pushed for Social Security privatization — their own term for it. The Cato Institute even had a Project on Social Security Privatization. Then they found that the term polled badly, and tried to pretend that only evil liberals accused them of favoring such a terrible thing (Cato even tried, incompetently, to purge its web site of all references to the program’s previous name).
A CBS News-Knowledge Networks poll
of undecided voters who watched the debate found 50 percent giving the
advantage to Mr. Biden, 31 percent to the Republican, Representative
Paul D. Ryan, and 19 percent calling the debate a tie.
A CNN poll of debate-watchers, however, had 48 percent giving the debate to Mr. Ryan, and 44 percent to Mr. Biden. ...
... There is a plausible hypothesis, however, that some of Mr. Romney’s recent surge in the polls reflects a growing “enthusiasm gap” between Democrats and Republicans. To the extent that Mr. Biden’s performance re-energized Democratic partisans, he may have left President Obama in a slightly better position than where he started the night.Another hypothesis, not necessarily unrelated to the prior one, is that some of Mr. Romney’s gains in the polls are momentum-driven, and could include some soft support that might come up for grabs again once the news cycle turns over. ...Nate Silver, 538
It's important to remember that Republicans plan to disrupt -- and are already, in some places -- disrupting polling with their True The Vote gang. Democrats are well aware of that and many have made other arrangements for voting. Whether it's a mail-in vote or in-person early voting, quite a few have made up their minds and aren't budging. Unless you're a blogger or an otherwise completely engaged voter, you're in the category of "I've voted and I'm not paying a lot of attention to the ups and downs of the final couple of weeks." That may explain a reported enthusiasm gap.
Seniors and about-to-be seniors may well be paying attention, though, whether they've voted or not.
The dispute was especially sharp over Medicare. Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney have proposed the most fundamental change to the program since Lyndon Johnson created it. The government’s defined benefit, fee-for-service insurance system would be reshaped into a defined contribution system, much like guaranteed pensions have shifted to 401(k) plans. Each beneficiary would receive a fixed amount of money — Mr. Biden called it a “voucher” — to purchase private insurance or buy into the existing government program. The money, known as “premium support,” would rise each year by the growth of the economy, plus 0.5 percentage points, considerably slower than health care’s current rate of inflation.
Mr. Ryan’s belief is that competition would drive down the cost of health care, keeping the voucher’s value up to date. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the value of the voucher would erode, shifting as much as $6,400 a year more to seniors.
And Mr. Biden saw it as his job to stand and say no.
“We will not be part of any voucher plan,” he declared. ...NYT
For some, the debate (and Ryan himself) may have been a turn-off.
If you came into this debate hoping to find a civil discussion of the differences between the two candidates, you, um, didn’t get what you wanted. The bulk of the debate was Biden and Ryan slamming one another for not telling the truth, being misinformed or simply being clueless. The bickering that dominated the middle section of the debate — ok, the whole debate — is just the sort of stuff independents/undecideds don’t like. It’s easy to imagine they simply turned off the debate — if they were watching it at all. ...Chris Cillizza, The Fix, WaPo
Joe Biden politely referred to Paul Ryan as "my friend" throughout the debate. More than one American, whether Democrat or Republican, may agree fundamentally with Biden's actual feeling about the man, though.
It was abundantly clear from the start that Biden not only doesn’t consider Ryan a friend but also that he actively dislikes the Wisconsin Congressman. ...Chris Cillizza, The Fix, WaPo
To each his own.
Biden’s willingness to scoff at, laugh at and generally express his disregard for Ryan (and Republican policies in general) are just what the Democratic base needed/wanted after Obama’s uninspiring performance last week. Ryan’s unwillingness to back away from his proposals will make Republicans smile. ...Chris Cillizza, The Fix, WaPo
Ezra Klein, also at the Post, says Biden did his job -- but the goal of winning the election is not yet in sight.
If it was Biden’s job tonight, it’s really Obama’s job going into the homestretch in the election. Biden gave Democrats hope tonight. But the real question is whether, in the next presidential debate, Obama will give them change. ...Ezra Klein, WonkBlog
Jonathan Chait admits he thought Paul Ryan would win but now thinks Biden gave a "revelatory performance."
The contrast with Obama lies not merely in their very — very, very — different energy levels. Obama approaches debates with the same intellectual method he uses in his books, his speeches, and his policy discussions. He instinctively tries to find common ground first, trying to work within the framework his opponent has established and acknowledge what he agrees with before delineating his disagreements.
Biden does not bother. He simply casts aside his opponent’s frame and works within his own. He did not ignore Ryan’s arguments, but he barreled over them like an enraged truck driver plowing over orange cones, before moving on to his own intellectual turf. Sometimes he barreled so fast his points were wrong or incomprehensible — most notably when he appeared to attribute the financial crisis to Bush-era fiscal profligacy, and seemed to set the bar for who should pay higher taxes at $1 million a year, not the $250,000 line Obama has labored to align his party behind. But it was a highly effective way to handle the smarmy evasions that Ryan predictably served up.
Biden met his audience at a gut level. ...Jonathan Chait, Daily Intel
Wait a minute, JC. Bush wasn't responsible? Still, in the end, it was Biden all the way.
Biden’s most effective, and characteristic moment came when he defended the stimulus, swatting aside Ryan’s insinuations of corruption with statistics showing it had been nearly devoid of fraud. He cornered Ryan by citing the two letters he had written asking for stimulus funds for his district, letters which endorsed the argument that stimulus would create jobs. Ryan appeared not to have prepared for the attack at all. ...Jonathan Chait, Daily Intel
CNN gave Ryan the win. At first. Then it footnoted that it had oversampled Republicans and... Well, in the end, CNN may be ignored on at least this issue. And the right blamed moderator Martha Raddatz for Ryan's loss, pointing to the fact that one of Raddatz's exes went to law school with Obama and is a friend of Obama. I don't think that argument will take them very far, do you?