Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Conventional wisdom is made for one purpose and one purpose only. To be wrong.
The conventional wisdom last week was that Obama would wipe the floor with Romney and we all know how that turned out.
This week's conventional wisdom is that Rep. Paul Ryan, a very smart, wonky, and articulate speaker will wipe the floor with human gaffe machine Vice President Joe Biden.
This is, of course, completely wrong. Why? Because it is almost impossible to beat someone who believes his own lies, I mean really believes them.
We certainly expect that in this debate between two baptized Catholics, a number of important issues about Catholic teaching and the attacks on the Church will be front and center.
In this debate you can expect Paul Ryan to articulate why the attacks on the Church and religious liberty by this administration are wrong and un-American. You can expect Ryan to promote life, reflecting his deeply held Catholic belief. You can expect Ryan to make the case that massive and mounting debt is a moral issue. And you can expect Ryan to make the case for subsidiarity when it comes to the social safety net.
And you can expect Joe Biden to say the exact opposite while boldly claiming that his Catholic faith is front and center in his decision making. He will boldly claim that he's every bit as "good" a Catholic as Ryan while at the same time:
* Supporting government sponsored abortion in Obamacare.
* Supporting an anti-Catholic HHS mandate which forces Catholics and Catholic institutions to violate Church teaching.
* Supporting massive and continued debt spending while saying that any cut to any program regardless of its effectiveness is an attack on the poor, or women, or minorities, or....you name it, and thus unchristian.
How do I know this? Because this is the same man who proudly touts his faith while supporting these things every day.
This is the same man who said he would not begin to question China's murderous one-child policy.
This is a man who danced for joy when he learned the the Supreme Court had upheld abortion in the Casey decision. Danced. For. Joy.
This is the same man who holds all these horrific positions but who said "The next Republican that tells me I'm not religious I'm going to shove my rosary beads down their throat."
How can you defeat someone upon whom logic and morality have no impact? How do you defeat someone who thinks he is the smartest guy in the room while simultaneously promoting two contradictory ideas and when you call him on it says "Damn right I do!" All the while grinning in triumph.
You see, Biden inherited his Catholicism the same way he believes Mitt Romney inherited his money, but unlike Romney he can do whatever he wants with it.
You see, in Joe Biden's mind he is a saint and he wants you to know it. And in a way he is right, because it is hard not to be a saint in a Church of your own making.
I am not sure that any amount of serious discussion or wonkish logic can have any effect on such a man.
How do you defeat a man in a debate who every day defeats his own conscience in debate while still claiming his conscience the victor?