For me it's not the same with the VPs. My sense of the sheer political effect of the debate hasn't changed from the real-time impression. I don't think either Joe Biden or Paul Ryan moved many voters from one camp to the other, which is generally the pattern with VP debates. Ryan did enough to reassure his voters; Biden did the more urgently necessary and politically significant job of charging up depressed Democrats. Now it's up to Obama and Romney again.
But on the fine grain:
- For years I have been skeptical of whether Paul Ryan's depth on any issue mastered his braniac image in a mainly sympathetic press. I mostly agree with Conor Friedersdorf about the notable things Ryan said, or didn't say, or didn't know about foreign policy. Eg, as Friedersdorf puts it:
[For the current GOP] geopolitical events unfold according to a simple, predictable model. Do you believe that America is an exceptional nation, that this must be an American century, that Iran cannot get a bomb, and that Israel is our closest ally? If so, everything will work out. It is a testament to the malleability of language that we now call this ideology "conservative."
- As Charles Pierce argues, it is fair to compare Ryan's foreign-policy sophistication to Sarah Palin's. We can ask why she was mocked for her "I can see Russia" line and he has not been for comparably bald statements about Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Russia, or the practically unmentioned China.