The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Last night's presidential debate was a pathetic display of petulant behavior by both candidates. It was embarrassing to watch two national politicians act like ill-behaved five year olds for 90 minutes. Worse, the public learned little if anything about the issues that really matter in this election.  Neither candidate made much sense, and both reinforced the notion that the American public deserves better.The editors of the Wall Street Journal summarize nicely:

No one expected a Lincoln-Douglas debate, but did it have to be a World Wrestling Entertainment bout? Which may be unfair to the wrestlers, who are more presidential than either Donald Trump or Joe Biden sounded in their first debate Tuesday night.

The event was a spectacle of insults, interruptions, endless cross-talk, exaggerations and flat-out lies even by the lying standards of current U.S. politics. Our guess is that millions of Americans turned away after 30 minutes, and we would have turned away too if we didn’t do this for a living.

Mr. Trump no doubt wanted to project strength and rattle Mr. Biden, but he did so by interrupting him so much that he wouldn’t let Mr. Biden talk long enough even to make a mistake. The President bounced from subject to subject so frequently that it was hard to figure out what he hoped to say beyond that Joe Biden is controlled by the Democratic left. Even when moderator Chris Wallace asked a question that played to the strengths of his record—such as on the economy—Mr. Trump couldn’t stick to the theme without leaping to attack Mr. Biden.

The former Vice President wasn’t much better, interrupting nearly as much. And for the candidate who says he wants to bring people together, he was ready with his own name-calling. He called Mr. Trump a “racist,” a “clown,” and told him to “shut up, man.” He spun out falsehoods as fast as the President, notably in asserting that 100 million people would be vulnerable to losing their health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. The Obama Administration set up a special fund for pre-existing conditions in the transition to ObamaCare, and the takers were only in the thousands. Mr. Trump didn’t know enough to be able to rebut him.

No one won this fiasco, but Mr. Biden did succeed in passing the test of appearing coherent for 90 minutes. Mr. Trump had done him the favor of calling his mental capacity into question for months, so expectations were low. Mr. Biden passed that bar, albeit in highly scripted fashion.

Joe Biden refused to answer any pointed questions about substantive topics:

What he would have actually done differently during the COVID-19 crisis (he babbled about more PPE and testing, but it was clear that he had no earth-shattering revelation that would have saved those who died); 

Whether he would support packing SCOTUS (he didn't answer the question), 

Whether he would outright condemn the BLM organization (this after Wallace insisted that Trump condemn "white supremacists") and implyed (dishonestly) that they were as culpable as leftists for the rioting that has roiled the country over the past four months.

Why his son Hunter received significant payments from the Chinese and Russians for ... well, nothing (he called this a lie, but, of course, it is no such thing). 

Chris Wallace, the moderator and a #NeverTrumper, allowed Biden to lie about the "fine people hoax" (in fact, Wallace brought it up in a question) and the Clorox hoax, his son's Hunter's dirty dealings, his contention that people with pre-existing conditions would be left in the cold (they would not), while at the same time quasi-debating Trump on specific issues. Wallace enthusiastically asked Trump about his taxes, but avoided any discussion of Biden's lack of mental acuity—certainly a topic that should be considered prior to the election. Wallace avoided asking Biden why it took him almost three full months to condemn the leftist rioting in Portland and other cities. Wallace purposely mislead a national audience with his question on Trump's totally appropriate ban on Critical Race Theory for government training, calling it "racial sensitivity training" and thereby softening its marxist and anti-American origins. But that's par for the course. Wallace is no longer an objective observer—although he plays one on TV.

Biden was all platitudes and generalities—maybe because that's the only way he can speak coherently. Trump for his part was a bull in a china shop, wasting valuable debate time with interruptions and other nonsense when he could have cogently discussed his many accomplishments and his plans for the next four years. His responses were often muddled and his attempts to connect Biden to his hard-left handlers grew tiresome.

If they were capable of embarrassment (they are not for different reasons) they should both be ashamed of themselves.


Roger Simon takes Chris Wallace to the woodshed over his role as moderator of the debate:

Forget Candy Crowley. Chris Wallace was the worst moderator in recent memory. Clearly biased and argumentative, he was anything but the invisible presence he promised that he was going to be.

Meanwhile, both candidates more or less stunk. Trump wasn’t organized in his responses and interrupted more than he should, sometimes even when Biden seemed about to fumble the ball and make the kind of gaffe the president’s supporters were hoping he would.

Biden did a fair amount of interrupting himself, usually to call Trump the likes of “racist” and “clown.” How imaginative!

But, to be fair, this debate was two against one with Trump versus Biden and moderator Wallace. Yes, Trump frequently acted like a buttinsky, but he really had no choice with the odds stacked against him.

Wallace kept letting Biden off the hook, notably on multimillion-dollar Hunter/corruption issues in Ukraine, China, and now, Russia, that the former vice-president assured us were “debunked.” (When a politician uses that word, you know they’re lying. Anything can be “debunked” by someone, even, or especially, if it’s true.)

It's worth noting that Wallace will seem like a Trump partisan when compared to the next two moderators of debates 2 and 3.