On Thursday evening, Joe Biden was in full effect. Loud, obnoxious, and bullying, he was combat-ready and repeatedly interrupted both his opponent, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, and debate moderator Martha Raddatz.
In post-debate analysis, Democrats defended Biden's bizarre behavior as being necessary to shore up the liberal base, who had become universally demoralized after Barack Obama's poor debate performance the week before.
If this is true, it was a major strategic error.
While Democrats were cheering Biden's unstatesmanlike conduct, independent voters and women of all political persuasions were appalled. As one female commentator said, "He reminds women of their first husband, and why she left him."
Others related Biden to a "used car salesman, but worse" and one female participant in a CNN focus group called Biden a "Buffoon."
At this point in the election, a mere 27 days from the last ballot being cast, both campaigns should be focused on independent voters like a laser. Yet apparently the Obama campaign finds themselves in such a panic that they felt it necessary to gamble the independent vote in order to stop the bleeding from their base.
Whether or not this gamble pays off will be revealed in less than a month. But momentum is with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. If Obama shocked Americans, Biden enraged them. And to use Biden's own word, Democrats' chances to win the independent vote has likely been "crushed."