Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Body Language: Watching the Debate on Mute

ARCHIVES
Michael Reynolds/AP

You might have watched the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan. But you haven’t heard this version of events, heard being the operative word. This is what happened in the debate as viewed without the volume and without the aide of Twitter. Here’s the vice presidential debate boiled down to only the guffaws, grimaces, and finger-pointing.

These guys wanted to be there, they enjoyed their time under that Giant Eagle. If President Obama hurt himself in the first debate by looking bored or put out, Ryan and Biden got the memo. They were engaged. They jabbed, crossed, and flashed broad smiles, Biden nearly always showing his super-white teeth. Their experience in Congress showed. These were two candidates used to persuading people, used to bringing people around to their way of thinking.

Ryan was at his strongest in the beginning and at the end of the debate when he was the guy explaining that the Wizard of Oz was just a guy hiding behind a big mask. (Not sure who the flying monkeys are in this scenario.) He seemed to pile point on top of point. It was like watching someone do simple addition. It seemed to make sense.

Biden, who frequently looked like he was measuring the height, width and length of things, was at his strongest in the middle, when the gesticulating died down. He hit his stride and he was Edward R. Murrow, a trusted figure delivering a serious newscast.

The gestures and the broad smiles were more of a crutch for Biden’s arguments than an aide to them. The waving and finger-pointing distracts from, well, whatever he was saying, and Ryan’s smirking during the most gesture-filled answers gave the impression that the answer was more street magician sleight-of-hand than vice presidential pronouncement.

Follow Excellence in Government on Twitter | Facebook | Google + | LinkedIn

Read more at National Journal

Michael Catalini

Michael Catalini is a staff correspondent covering the U.S. Senate at National Journal Daily. Previously at National Journal, he reported on national politics and was deputy editor of Influence Alley, covering Congress and K Street. Before joining National Journal he oversaw coverage of the Baltimore Ravens at The Baltimore Sun. While at The Sun, he also pioneered the use of live-streaming video, organized and edited online content and wrote breaking and feature news. He graduated from Penn State with a bachelor's degree in journalism and has a master's degree in government from Johns Hopkins.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.