Winners and Losers of 10/11/12 (Special Jayson Werth Edition)

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Winners:
1) Joe Biden. Political polarization means you either adore Joe Biden or you find him unbearably grating, my colleague Gabriel Snyder just noted to me. I think this is generally true, but in my case, I actually find Biden both grating and adorable, at the same time. Maybe last night he was more grating than usual, but he certainly has filled my more partisan Democratic friends with a kind of provisional joy (unadulterated joy comes, if it comes, after the Hofstra debate next week).

2) Paul Ryan. Ryan held his own against the histrionic and condescending Biden, and I thought he was more fluent on foreign policy matter than I expected him to be, given that this is not his area. I thought the Iran discussion was muddled and disconcerting (because Biden was going soft -- at least that's what it seemed like to me -- while Ryan's "tough" position simply mimicked President Obama's tough position on Iranian nuclearization.

3) Bibi Netanyahu. All across the globe, 200 foreign leaders are asking their advisers, "How can we get mentioned in an American presidential debate the way Bibi gets mentioned?" It is remarkable, these two men fighting over who agrees with Bibi more, and who knows him better.

4) Martha Raddatz. She's being compared, of course, to a guy who slept through the last debate, but she did a fine job even when compared to some Platonic ideal of moderation.

5) Foreign policy wonks. Thanks, in part, to Raddatz, we got more foreign policy in this debate than we otherwise would have, which is a good thing, because this is what presidents, and what the sitting vice president, do much of the time.

6) Jayson Werth. The Nationals-Cardinals game last night have been the greatest baseball game I ever attended. The feeling in the crowd when Werth capped off his already mythical at-bat with that line-drive homer was something I won't forget, and the junior Goldblog who accompanied me to Nats Stadium will remember this game, thanks to Werth, his whole life.

7) Europe, for getting the Nobel Peace Prize because it gave up genocide, or something.

Losers:
1) Lance Lynn, who gave Werth the perfect pitch.

2) The "ayatollahs," as Ryan referred to them. They can't seem to catch a break, can they? 

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http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/winners-and-losers-of-10-11-12-special-jayson-werth-edition/263536/