Meade and I were just having a conversation, not about politics. About baseball, actually. I was expressing an idea I had. (It doesn't matter what my idea was, but in case your curiosity is distracting, my idea was that to enjoy baseball, you need to watch the game in real time, with the slow parts left in, and once you start fast-forwarding to the parts that look exciting, it ruins the experience, and you might as well just read a report of what happened.) Meade keeps scoffing and laughing really annoyingly, until I get the joke that he's doing his Joe Biden imitation.... at which point I give him the finger. Suddenly, I realize that is the normal reaction to Biden's antics. Give him the finger.
There are other reactions when someone acts like that, laughing in your face, rolling their eyes, smirking, every time you're trying to say something. It's incredibly antagonizing! In real life, what do you do? There are different reactions, depending on how much of a friendship you have and how much you know about this person's propensity toward physical violence and whether you have a good escape route.
But sometimes you're in a situation where you must maintain your demeanor, despite the other guy's antagonism. For example, in a job interview or a discussion with your boss or maybe when you were a kid and your father was exerting his authority. The VP debate is also, obviously, one of those situations. Imagine if Ryan had given Biden the finger? Ryan is a young man, he had to have been thinking of the various reactions that you'd use in an ordinary social situation, even as he rejected each one and told himself that he had to keep acting as if Biden were not behaving inappropriately.
And what was going through Biden's head? (♪♫What goes on in Biden's brain?♪♫) Did the old man lose control of his bodily functions? Let's assume he had a strategy and was deliberately annoying, distracting, bullying, and rude. Why would he adopt such a strategy? Has he no self-respect? Maybe he's okay with his longstanding "Old Joe" reputation. He's a clown. A gaffe machine. So what? Everyone already thinks that. Flip it! Weaponize clownery. If it was a plan, it was a plan to provoke Ryan. What if Ryan suddenly gave him the finger? Where's your choir boy now, Ryanistas?