By Brett M. Decker

The 2012 presidential election is one of the most momentous crossroads in U.S. history. As Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee, stated in his Thursday debate against Vice President Joe Biden, the outcome on Election Day will determine “what kind of country we are going to give our kids.” Under Obama-administration policies, out-of-control government spending has grown to such an extent that federal debt is now larger than the gross domestic product of the United States, the largest economy in the world. U.S. power and prestige in the world are in such dramatic decline that armed Islamists can overrun an American diplomatic compound, murder a U.S. ambassador and get away with it. On the economic and foreign-policy fronts, our nation is in chaos. The Obama-Biden ticket can’t run on its record of failure so it has moved to a desperate scorched-earth strategy.

Make no mistake about it, Mr. Biden’s obnoxious, smirking, rude behavior on the debate stage was the most disrespectful performance of any presidential or vice-presidential candidate in the history of televised election debates, which goes back to the 1960 contest between then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy. In the end, the arguments and messages of the two candidates this week didn’t matter so much because Mr. Biden suffered an overwhelming loss on the likability scorecard. As Brit Hume of Fox News characterized the match, “It looked like a cranky old man debating a polite young man.”

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