Ethics Observations On 2020 Presidential Debate #1 [Comments Restored!]

 

Ten Ethics Observations:

1. I showed a photo from the first Presidential debate in 1960 to introduce the post Chris added his comments to, earning his Comment of the Day. Maybe I should have shown a video. Jack Kennedy was a Machiavellian phony of more style than talent, and Richard Nixon was more talented but just as ruthless and more unstable. Yet both conducted themselves as dignified aspirants to an honored office and role in our government, with sober and substantive answers to neutral questions that never betrayed the intense dislike the two men had for each other. Compare that event to what was on display last night. There are reasons for it, but no excusing it. Both men harmed the nation and the office last night with their ugly attitudes toward each other. As a result, they harmed the process, and democratic institutions.

2. The lack of a handshake was inexcusable, and shame on both campaigns and the debate commission for permitting this departure from traditional civility, as well as all concerned for giving the fake excuse of caution regarding the Wuhan virus. The two adversaries could have worn gloves and masks; hell, they could have worn suits of medieval armor for all I care. They needed to signal the traditional respect of each other even if they have none.

Shame on everyone.

 3. Trump’s constant interruptions of Biden and “bullying,” as it is being described in many forums, were bad form and poor strategy: Biden was vague and sometimes incomprehensible. Ethically, the President’s rudeness raises a familiar tit for tat dilemma. In his 2016 debate with Paul Ryan, Biden’s tactic was to mug, sigh, cackle, mock, and generally do everything he could to interfere with poor, polite Paul Ryan’s attempts to talk about policy, while moderator Martha Raddatz  made Ryan look weak. Trump decided that if that was going to be Biden’s game again—and it was—he wasn’t going to make Ryan’s mistake and be passive. So he acted as rude and jerkish as Biden, and made his contempt for and distrust of the moderator clear from the beginning.

4. I suspect Biden was drugged. He looked drugged last night; his pupils looked huge. The Trump team wanted to require a drug test, and though that was partially gamesmanship, it was also a fair request, given legitimate questions about Biden’s health, which should be the equivalent in this race of what Trump’s taxes were in 2016.

5. I don’t like either of these men as personalities, as elected officials, and as leaders, potential or otherwise. The difference is that President Trump has never pretended to be any different than he appears and sounds. W.S. Gilbert had a libretto he was inexplicably obsessed with about a magic lozenge that turned people into whatever they were pretending to be. (It helped break up his partnership with Sullivan, who refused to set it to music.) If Donald Trump ate that lozenge, it would have no effect at all. If Joe Biden did, he would turn into a nice guy. His supposed appeal is that he’s decent, trustworthy official, whatever his other deficits. He isn’t, and last night it was obvious that he isn’t. I can’t see anyone who was inclined to vote for Trump being put off by last night’s debate, but I can see Biden losing the votes of those who want someone more “Presidential.”

6. The real ethics villain last night was moderator Chris Wallace. Debate moderating can define a career;  why a veteran broadcast journalist like Wallace wouldn’t be determined to play it straight is a myster. Ask fair and clear questions, let the candidates answer, and allow the opposing candidate to offer a response. How hard is that? Yet he couldn’t do it.

Wallace seemed to think the debate was just another set of interviews on his Fox News show. He repeatedly interrupted both candidates, especially the President, challenging some statements while leaving others oddly untouched. When Trump made a crack about having to debate both Biden and Wallace, he was exactly right, and I doubt that it was lost on the TV audience.

7. Wallace should have shut down the ad hominem attacks, insults and incivility. He didn’t. Biden told the President of the United States to “shut up.” A fair moderator would have admonished him and penalized him.

8. Essentially, Wallace’s whole performance as moderator should have made it clear to any semi-conscious, social-media brainwashed fool that the news media is all in now trying to carry Biden over the finish line. His questions to Trump were framed as accusations. He assumed facts not in evidence, like linking the California fires to global warming. He used at least two Big Lies on the list. Wallace deceived viewers, calling Critical Race Theory training “sensitivity training.”

Biden wearied noticeably as the night wore on—there’s a reason he wanted to take breaks every 30 minutes—and Wallace appeared to be trying to help him finish the night without incident. Unethical, of course.

9. The media will be doing its usual list of Trump “lies,” but Biden was equally if not more dishonest last night. He denied so many positions that he has supported that an effective ad could be made using contrasting video clips. Does he support the cretinous “Green New Deal” or not?

Biden’s refusal to say whether he would support packing the Supreme Court and eliminating the filibuster was more damning than anything either candidate said they would support, and I suspect when all shakes out, it will be regarded as the most important statement in the debate. However, if we’re talking lies, Biden’s insistence that his ne’re do well son did nothing wrong regarding his position with Burisma is a self-evident whopper. Hunter Biden accepting any position with Burisma was per se influence peddling, creating an unethical conflict of interest for the then-Vice President of the United States.

10. The fact that (I assume) the media consensus will be that Biden “won” the debate because he didn’t faint or start singing nursery rhymes shows just how unethical it is for him to be the Democratic candidate. This really is an election strategy relying on hate, and that is unethical, just as the entire 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck has been unethical.  Biden’s statement that he, and not the socialist Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Party may have been a serious mistake, as Trump suggested when Biden made it.

I remain dubious that a sufficient number of progressives who don’t like, respect or agree with Biden will still vote for him. We shall see.

___________________________________

Below, via screenshot, are the comments that were transferred to the next post when I did whatever it was that I did.

86 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On 2020 Presidential Debate #1 [Comments Restored!]

  1. You DID post it hours ago. The comments from it are still up…. incongrously (almost Monty Pythonesquely) now in apparent response a a post about a terrible grovel by an academic.

  2. From the Baron, rescued from the wrong post:

    baronvonmonocle
    September 30, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Let’s remember that there is no agreement on what white supremacy is, anyway. The vast majority would denounce the likes of neo-nazis or the Ku Klux Klan, but others stretch the term to the breaking point and include opponents of statue toppling or those who diverge in any way from BLM orthodoxy. Hell, I read an article yesterday about a professor’s groveling apology for his white supremacy because he likes college football. https://reason.com/2020/09/29/inside-higher-ed-osu-professor-apology-sorry-football-mathew-mayhew-racism/

    You’re right. Opposing white supremacy should be standard but the left has decided that doing so includes more than the right (or any reasonable person, IMO) is willing to concede. It needs to assume some of the blame for turning what should be a point of agreement into a minefield.

  3. valkygrrl wrote, “Apropo of nothing, I’d just like to take a moment to say I denounce white supremacy.”

    So as long as we’re actively virtue signaling, how about we virtue signal about free speech too…

    I’d just like to take a moment to say that I support free speech 100% even if I denounce what some free speech is, like that of white supremacists.

    I’d also acknowledge that…

    • I denounce white supremacy.
      I support free speech.
      I denounce riots.
      I love puppies.

      [Now it’s on all of you to say this or forever be tainted as puppy haters. ]

  4. I can’t respond directly to Valky’s comment now; per the the wonky restore, I suppose.

    I was going to say I reserve the right to support white supremacy on a case-by-case basis…though I’m not yet sure what that might mean.

  5. ALERT! Another rescued comment that ended up in the previous post: In respons to HUMBLE TALENT, from MRS. Q (I’msorrysorrysorry):

    Mrs. Q
    September 30, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    As far as I can tell of late, the more one denounces white supremacy, the more racist they actually are.

    It’s easy to say things and lots of people are saying things. I don’t give a rats ass about words. Action is what matters and President Trump has done a great deal help communities of color take care of themselves. If that isn’t anti-racist, I don’t know what is.

    Some people need style over substance, and some compelled confession does nothing to actually make my life or the lives of anyone else better. When you see some white chick with a Black Lives Matter shirt in tell a black cop, “I hope they hang you first,” you know denouncing doesn’t mean shit.

    • Sorry Jack, but something’s still not right here…. I had a comment saying everything that I wish Trump had said during the debate, starting with “That’s really easy, especially if you’re a Democrat, I denounce white supremacy….” and I think that’s what Mrs Q is responding to.

    • ALERT! Here’s another one, from HUMBLE TALENT, which I believe the comment above was in response to…

      “I mean, that’s easy, particularly when you vote Democrat. I denounce white supremacy, it’s a bad idea from an older time that needs to be relegated back to 10 person meetings in shitty hotel conference rooms. Is the left going to let that happen?

      Because it’s their fault. The left, by asserting that white supremacy was more influential and important than it actually was, gave rise to the current iteration of white supremacy. I would not know Richard Spencer’s name if he hadn’t gotten a ridiculous amount of airtime on CNN and MSNBC. His ideas would not have been so influential to people had the opposition to him not been too intellectually lazy to actually refute his ideas instead of slapping bumper stickers over their ears and yelling really loudly.

      But that’s mostly academic, because while a bunch of idiots carrying tiki torches shouting “Jews Will Not Replace Us” is shitty on multiple levels, the fact is that even then, they still weren’t burning down parts of urban areas, sectioning off autonomous zones in cities, or murdering people in the streets.

      This is the whole “Islam vs. Christianity” debate all over again. “Islam has some shitty takes on gays and women, and they disproportionately commit acts of terrorism” “Yeah, but Christians are bad too, and they did the crusades!” All of that is true, but I promise you that if I came out of the closet in the middle of a devout Christian assembly, they’d either pray for my soul or maybe call me some ugly names. If I did that in the middle of a devout Muslim congregation, I’d be afraid for my life. These things aren’t equal.

      An ephemerally defined “White Supremacy” is not as damaging as Antifa or BLM. Give me an organization you think has caused more death and destruction that the progressive riots burning their own cities down and having shootouts in the street. The Proud Boys? Larpers who like to street brawl. The Alt-Right? Haven’t heard from them in years. Who are you so God Damned afraid of that you think they’re worse than the guys committing arson and murder on camera?”

  6. On President Trump denouncing white supremacy:

    First off, Wallace included the Proud Boys as white supremacists, which is wholly untrue and was an unfair and a false set-up. They are a multi-racial group that, quite frankly, has more people of color in it than Antifa. Recently some members even marched in a Black Lives Matter brigade.

    Second, we don’t have a clear definition of what white supremacy is or isn’t for the country. The definition and who is defined as such changes constantly. Worse, because identity politics is so corrosive yet ever-evolving it’s hard to take seriously those who claim to denounce supremacy. One day Asians are racial victims, the next they are white oppressors, for example. And no one has yet answered the question- are mixed race folks who are european and of color able to subjugate themselves?

    Third, as far as I can tell, the worst of white supremacy has straight up come from democrats and progressives. Eugenics, KKK, Jim Crow, anti-abolition, Trail of Tears, Japanese internment, etc. came mostly from one party. If one really wants to end white supremacy, they should stop voting in people who say they care about minorities (democrats), while sighing off on their businesses being looted and burned in the name of racial justice.

    More to the point, if I hear, in particular, a white progressive say they’re anti-racist, I know I’m dealing with a racist. Perhaps this is bias making me stupid. I have yet, to talk with someone of this type who doesn’t take a self-righteous white burden/white hero stance that does nothing but point to Trump as a bigot while ignoring the multiple efforts he has made so minorities can do for themselves. I have yet to hear even one say that burning down minority owned business is antithetical to minority success. I have not heard one say that they believe in racial minorities ability to rise up without white handouts.

    And let’s not even go there regarding treating minorities like pariahs for wanting to be cops, or conservatives, or wanting to reject the idea that they’re victims. Let’s face it, for some white progressives, the only good minority, is the one who is a compliant victim. Everyone else is an Uncle Tom or race-traitor or a puppet. Apparently a brown person thinking for themselves is just too much, which is why saying, “I hope they hang you first,” or “you have the biggest nose I’ve ever seen,” or “you’re a fucking nigger bitch,” which is what I’ve been called by a white progressive, is perfectly acceptable within this social justice millieu.

    Denounce all you want, but know not all of us are fooled by it. Actions really do speak louder than words. Any asshole can slap a self-righteous bumper sticker on their car but it doesn’t make them any less of a bigot than anyone else. But for many a progressive, style will always matter over substance, and that my friends, will keep racism alive for a long time.

    I’m glad the President didn’t treat Wallace’s question as a serious one because it wasn’t. It was about compliance and control, something our oh-so-tolerant progressives, are really good at wielding over others.

    • C-O-T-D worthy, for sure.

      I told my wife before the debate that I hoped the President watched Mike Pence’s 2016 debate with Tim Kaine as part of his preparation. Tim Kaine dominated the conversation throughout, but Pence wiped the floor with him. The VP was calm, cool, collected, and fairly eloquent. He made Kaine looked like a loud-mouthed jerk mostly by just keeping his mouth shut and let Kaine blather on.

      The President had a chance to mimic that and make his opponent look like the bumbling fool he’s become as his mind has faded.

      Unfortunately…

    • First off, Wallace included the Proud Boys as white supremacists, which is wholly untrue and was an unfair and a false set-up.

      Nope. I don’t know how to put it more civilly than that. You are factually, provably incorrect – at least when you blame Wallace.

      From the transcript:

      Chris Wallace: (41:33)
      You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left wing extremist groups. But are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia group and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland.

      President Donald J. Trump: (41:57)
      Sure, I’m will to do that.

      Chris Wallace: (41:59)
      Are you prepared specifically to do it.

      President Donald J. Trump: (42:00)
      I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing not from the right wing.

      Chris Wallace: (42:04)
      But what are you saying?

      President Donald J. Trump: (42:06)
      I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.

      Chris Wallace: (42:08)
      Well, do it, sir.

      Vice President Joe Biden: (42:09)
      Say it, do it say it.

      President Donald J. Trump: (42:10)
      What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead who do you want me to condemn.

      Chris Wallace: (42:14)
      White supremacist and right-wing militia.

      President Donald J. Trump: (42:18)
      Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem this is a left wing.

      To state the obvious, Trump was asked a question about White Supremacists and militia groups.

      He answered with a directive to the Proud Boys to stand by.

      Wallace made no mention of the Proud Boys.

      Now, less than 24 hours later, Trump is saying that he doesn’t know who the Proud Boys are.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/av/election-us-2020-54351472

      Facts matter.

            • Authoritative? No.
              Authoritarian? I think so.

              Leader command, we follow you.

              Certainly that’s how the Proud Boys interpreted it. These were the words of the President.

              • I’d love to hear or read a dispassionate explanation of why this President is any more “authoritarian” than any other relatively strong President. I have studied this stuff, you know. Words do not an authoritarian make. This term was part of the “Trump is a Nazi” Big Lie, but if we’re talking facts, Trump is no more “authoritarian” and less, much less in some cases, than Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and even Obama. “Your” leader is strong, “their” leader is authoritarian.

                It’s pretty transparent, as rhetorical hypocrisy goes.

        • I have to follow up on this…. Not only did Biden prompt Trump with “Proud Boys”, it’s not even slightly unclear. Which means that either Zoe was relying on reporting (which is both lazy and naïve given the current media climate and the availability of the clip) or lying. I hope it’s the former.

          Regardless, I’ve said it before. It’s easy to say. He’s said it before: I condemn white supremacy. I don’t think the Proud Boys in particular are white supremacists though, and I think that was Biden’s attempt to muddy the waters and poison the well. The Proud Boys are mostly angry young people who are sick of progressive nonsense and are unable to channel their rage properly (I’ve called them street brawling LARPers elsewhere), the point has been made here and elsewhere that the group is more multiracial than Antifa, and I have serious doubts that people that hate non-white people would be so welcoming of the diversity, and that they’d be able to attract such a diverse group. I think left has kind of lost sight of the reality that not all bad things are bad the same way. The complete and utter collapse of nuance, context, and proportionality is thoroughly exhausting.

      • Chris Wallace: (42:14)
        White supremacist and right-wing militia. [Biden?: Proud boys]

        Facts matter

        The transcript is incomplete. If you listen to the recording, several people were talking at once during this answer and someone shouted “proud boys”. (I think it was Biden).

        Trump jumped on that one, I assume because it came from Biden. Trump then said a phrase that is apparently associated with the proud boys – “stand back and stand by”. First hearing this I assumed he scrambled Wallace’s question, would he tell white supremacists to “stand down”. I only learned afterwards the phrase is associated with the group (I know nothing about “proud boys”).

        As Zoe pointed out, I myself scrambled the quote in my original comment. I have to assume Trump did the same, possibly accidently spitting off the “proud boy” slogan he was briefed about and vaguely remembered. Frankly, I think the original question was loaded, suggesting Trump had some kind of inside authority to make a “stand down” command.

        Also of note, Wallace asked Trumped if he was willing to condemn, and Trump say “sure” immediately. This was clear affirmative, followed by several minutes of bickering that cast doubt on the sincerity and clarity of any following statement.

      • Zoe
        As Wallace was asked by DJT to give him a name. Biden interjected Proud Boys. That is the impetus for Trump’s use of Proud Boys

        • According to Mark Levin, transcript available after 1pm 10/2/20 on his website, Richard Spencer, has endorsed Joe Biden claiming Trump has failed as president.

    • Jack wrote, “This never happens to Profs Turley and Alhouse…”

      That might not be true. I’ve seen some really weird glitches on Turley’s site but I’m not on the Althouse site enough to know. I’ve had a couple of really weird thing on mine in the last month, I had to completely delete one post and then repost it.

  7. A comment on another blog that I find illuminating.

    http://reason.com/2020/09/29/trump-pushed-to-condemn-white-nationalist-proud-boys-instead-tells-them-stand-back-and-stand-by/#comment-8491873

    They also described them as “white supremacists,” not “white nationalists.” Shackford should get it right.

    Perhaps I’m picking nits here, but it seemed to me the problem was how the question was phrased. “Will you condemn white supremacists *and* militia groups?” Then those two things were immediately conflated—I’m not sure they are co-extensive.

    It’s like asking: “Will you condemn Terrorists and Muslims”?

    Well, I’ll condemn the first. But not the second group as a whole—even if some portion of Muslims may be terrorists.

    It was a poor question, likely by design—and Trump side-stepped it.

  8. All the virtue signalers getting their rocks off denouncing white supremacy should put their money where their mouth is and move to Nigeria.

    Wait, they have a bicameral legislature. White supremacy? You’re soaking in it!!!

  9. AAARGHHH! Just when I think I’m out, they PUUULLL me back in!

    One more exchange on this post rescued from the post on the Grovel Of The Year….j

    Johnburger2013
    September 30, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    OB is correct. It is a trap and it is compelled speech, a loyalty oath in effect. It is akin to Sen. McCarthy asking if X person is now or has ever been a member of the Communist Party. The question implies the answer and there is nowhere for the responder to go other than to swat the question away.

    Why didn’t Wallace ask Biden to disavow antifa and BLM? Those are the maniacs busting things up and burning things. Trump has denounced, rejected, repudiated, and disavowed the KKK, David Duke, the Proud Boys, and a whole host of other morons. Last week he designated the KKK as a terrorist group. Why isn’t that enough?

    Reply:

    Other Bill
    September 30, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks John. Maybe Jack can move our exchange to the right post. Who knows?

    I think I have a hangover today from watching all of the “debate.” Here’s a very good take on the debate that, I think, explains my reaction today, once the fog in my brain evaporated:

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/09/30/what_that_was_about_144337.html

    The opening of the piece:

    “If you’re like me, you enjoy presidential debates for the memorable lines, the zingers, and watching two politicians talented enough to win the nomination of their parties debate the future of the country. If you’re like me, two other things are probably true: The debates are usually pitched toward people like us, and we’re atypical of most voters in the country.

    Understanding those latter two points is the key to understanding Tuesday night’s face-off between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, because for the first time in years this debate was not pitched toward people like us.”

  10. “I mean, that’s easy, particularly when you vote Democrat. I denounce white supremacy, it’s a bad idea from an older time that needs to be relegated back to 10 person meetings in shitty hotel conference rooms. Is the left going to let that happen?

    This statement shows your ignorance, not your knowledge. You would first have to understand what the doctrine of white supremacy is, and how foundational to America it had always been, before you could come out against it. You do not understand your own historical location as a postwar child and also a post-Sixties child. Classical American white supremacy is an entirely coherent idea-set. It was the idea-set of the Founding Fathers. It was expressed later by Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard. In their case it is based in a sort of American and Protestant chauvinism.

    I have taken the time to read numerous works by these Harvard-trained men and their positions are highly coherent. And there is now so much negative-animus attached to the term that it cannot even be thought about,

    Because it’s their fault. The left, by asserting that white supremacy was more influential and important than it actually was, gave rise to the current iteration of white supremacy. I would not know Richard Spencer’s name if he hadn’t gotten a ridiculous amount of airtime on CNN and MSNBC. His ideas would not have been so influential to people had the opposition to him not been too intellectually lazy to actually refute his ideas instead of slapping bumper stickers over their ears and yelling really loudly.

    The Left, as you say but without defining what is meant by that, and possibly not really understanding what you are referring to, does more than simply give importance to the idea. It is engaged in a far more involved project that has to do with ideological fracturing of those ideas against which it struggles. You would not recognize this, of course, because despite your pose and your posture you really are far more progressive and left-oriented than conservative. So, your blind-spot is easy for me to spot even if you cannot.

    Spencer is also someone no one on this blog understands. You have no idea at all where he came from, what ideas informs him, and why he actually has a very real relevance and even importance in our time. The reason Spencer’s ideas are influential — to those who read him or listen to him, and you don’t so you are totally in the dark — is because in many different ways, not all but many, he works with very valid and important ideas. They have to do with important things about which you are ignorant however. You are not a genuine intellect or intellectual. You show this by the silly and unstudied things you write! Spencer in strict terms of familiarity with *ideas* is your superior, hands down. His ideas have been ‘influential’ because correctly-grounded ideas will always influence.

    This is rich! “. . . had the opposition to him not been too intellectually lazy to actually refute his ideas instead of slapping bumper stickers over their ears and yelling really loudly”.

    You are describing yourself, you nut! It is you who have blocked your ears; it is you who shuts down ideas; it is you that cannot actually grasp what is going on in our present; and it is you who served obscuring processes, not clarifying and enlightening ones.

    But that’s mostly academic, because while a bunch of idiots carrying tiki torches shouting “Jews Will Not Replace Us” is shitty on multiple levels, the fact is that even then, they still weren’t burning down parts of urban areas, sectioning off autonomous zones in cities, or murdering people in the streets.

    The original phrase was You Will Not Replace Us and this is a rational understanding of real and definite forces operating in our present. That is, in America in the Postwar Era. I posted a short glimpse of a video by Ms Spectre of ‘Paidaia’ to Valkygrrl which shows a Jewish woman speaking about her sense of Jewish mission in multi-culturalizing Europe. You simply have no idea what you are referring to, and no desire to understand. And that is a mistake. Because if you do not understand popular sentiment and the resentment that develops among people who discern how they are manipulated and engineered, you remain blind-by-choice. It is unethical in fact. And I can prove this through rational argument.

    You are the idiot here. You are the one who refuses to learn and to see. But notice how self-righteous you paint yourself. As if you stand in some special ethical light that has made you pure. You are a poseur and you need to be told this.

    I continue to say this: if you are genuinely concerned for what is going on in our present you must work to understand it better. I use the example of the Allegory of the Cave from time to time. You Humble Talent have your vision chained to a wall in front of you one which projected shadows move and dance. You need to ‘turn your head around’ to see what creates the projected images. No lecture from you, son!

    You do not know what truly is ‘shi**ty as you say. But you couldn’t know what some people, in popular circles, are actually dealing with because you hold yourself arrogantly above them — just like the Progressive-Leftists. You really do think you have a superior way of seeing and understanding. You don’t you are ignorant and you need to undertake far more serious study.

    So, what I recommend to one and to all — the true mark of my wunderfulness! — is to do a great deal more circumspect reading. But also to realize that you yourself are an *outcome* of social engineering and ideological mind-control processes. Not *those ones over there* but you.

    I definitely have not won me a great many friends from speaking this way, yet there is utility and efficiency in doing so.

    • These Vanguard Podcasts, Richard Spencer interviewing and dialoguing with Jonathan Bowden, provide a sense of the ideas Spencer encountered and got involved with. The ideas that are presented through these talks pretty much outline Dissident Right concerns. For this reason — if one is at all serious about understanding the Dissident movement — one has to be able to make *realistic assessments* of intellectual and political positions, not to rely (as you HT can only do) of Reader’s Digest-like versions which are provided to you by your Telescreen.

      The curious element here, at least from my perspective, and in relation to many who participate on this blog, is how the will functions to keep a person from undertaking necessary, first-hand research. You have set your will on not seeing, not understanding, not being willing to prod yourself to engage with challenging ideas, to keep yourself in a limited intellectual (pseudo-intellectual) box where (I suppose) you feel safe & warm.

      The World of Ideas is indeed a big, scary place! and a rotund Canadian progressive posing as a Conservative is wise to bolt the blinders to his head! I salute your caution! 😂

  11. I am a little late to the table here. That said, I was not only disgusted with what I saw Tuesday night, but I am disgusted with everyone’s attempt to spin it their way and excuse their guy’s lousy behavior. Of course all my liberal friends are saying Biden “ate the President’s lunch,” showed him up for the jerk he is, has already won, and should just go back in the bunker now, only to come out for his inauguration. All my conservative friends are saying the president stomped both Biden and a hostile moderator flat.

    As I see it, Biden’s performance was below adequate. I don’t know if he was drugged up, and I don’t believe that possibility should be floated, since there will never be solid proof and saying that makes the speaker a magnet for accusations of conspiracy-mongering. I think his statement that he WAS the Democratic Party sounded grandiose and rang hollow against the response that he was powerless to do anything to tamp down the violence in the Democrat-governed cities. Either he is the leader of his party or he isn’t. It isn’t as though he was so busy he could not place one damn phone call to Ted Wheeler. I think it is kind of embarrassing that he couldn’t throw out the name of one law enforcement organization that backed him, since unions are usually strong in their support for Democratic candidates. However, I don’t think that’s as damaging as it normally would be, given the current hostile climate toward law enforcement, and might even be a plus with minorities. He should not have tried to dodge, nor gotten away with dodging the question on packing the courts, nor on potential nominees . That is too close to Nancy Pelosi’s line about passing the bill before you find out what’s in it.

    Yes, he told the president to shut up and called him a clown and a racist, but so what? Most of his base wants to tell the president a lot more than that, and their attitude is that he didn’t call the president anything that they didn’t already think he was, and it was time someone stood up to him and told him off. Of course, the debates aren’t supposed to be about telling the other guy off, but that’s what the base wanted. I didn’t like his attempt to link his dead son to the unsourced article in the Atlantic, which no one has ever buttressed. Even if Trump said what he said, it wasn’t directed at all fallen veterans, certainly not at Beau Biden specifically. By the way, no one disputes that Beau Biden was indeed a major in the DNG JAG corps, a veteran of the Iraq campaign, and a Bronze Star winner. However, he also is NOT a fallen member of the glorious dead. He died at 46, four years younger than I am now, of a recurrence of brain cancer, not as a result of a gun battle or IED. It was a terrible, horrible way to die and a terrible horrible thing for his family to suffer. I have lost several relatives including my mother to cancer. I have seen what it does to people and what the treatment does. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. However, it doesn’t make him a soldier fallen in battle, and his father’s cynical attempt to link his death to this unsourced statement and use it to score political points was wrong.

    His attempt to play bob and weave with the Green New Deal was truly awful, and shows that he isn’t really as in charge as he liked. Not once did he mention that there’s a big-ass tax increase coming for each and every one of us, but we’re just going to have to deal, because it’s for the common good. His constant denials with regard to Hunter’s sweetheart dealings were the worst of his performance.

    That said, if Trump weren’t already the president and the only realistic choice, his performance would have put me off. I didn’t vote for him in 2016 (because I thought he wouldn’t win) and I wouldn’t vote for him now if this were 2016. He acted like a bully and a thug, when the clear tactic was to stand back and let Biden make a fool of himself. He also was far too combative with the moderator. I’ve dealt with jerks like this, usually pro ses, and my tactic when they try to interrupt, throw me off, and just never let me get a word in, is to just speak over them, as loudly as I have to, even if it means shouting. The only time I was going to go farther is when the other attorney actually THREW a brief at me, but the judge intervened and said “eyes up here!” which gave me enough of a pause to avoid losing it and doing something crazy. I wouldn’t blame anyone for doing something crazy with the president, and I wouldn’t blame anyone who watched what a disgrace he was last night saying, “that’s it, he’s got to go.”

    The president lived up to all the worst stereotypes. He was loud, he didn’t observe the rules, he was on the attack from the first minute, he took questions and steered them to issues that were nowhere near pertinent, and he fell into two traps he had to know coming – the question about his taxes and the demand that he condemn white supremacy. Neither of these were really proper questions – one was about him, not about policy, which is what a debate is really supposed to be about, the other was a demand for a repetition of current orthodoxy. He could have fielded both questions much better, the former by saying that this was about policy, not personal issues, and he would not address that here, so could we move on to actual policy, please. the latter by saying that he has already condemned racism, several times, he doesn’t feel the need to condemn it again, and if the moderator wanted a fist in the air and a shout of black lives matter, he was going to be disappointed. Instead he let himself be led into traps that invited fact checking and shouts of “see! see! He IS a racist!” Even his own party say he should not have fallen for the latter. Not that he had to be like Jimmy Kimmel and be pushed into saying Black Lives Matter 3x, but he had to handle it better than that.

    I still don’t know if the president is doomed, although I have a very hard time believing that every poll, none of which have him leading, is wrong. If he loses, though, this is probably where he broke his wine bottle. I think there’s a very good chance election night we could see the door to a lot of states slam hard, fast, and early in his face. He needs to make it clear that he will accept that, and not get into all this nonsense about lawsuits or fraud. The people just aren’t buying it.

    • Excellent analysis, Steve.

      One thing, though: a major party is running a candidate it knows is suffering from mental decline and is out of its own ideological stream, lining up a black female leftist ideologue who was rejected by it sown voters to take over, knowing that the news media will engage in a cover-up to make certain the largest number of voters possible don’t comprehend what’s going on.

      That’s a conspiracy, not a conspiracy theory.

        • He probably lost some voters, yes. But we’ve got a month until the election and a lot can happen between now and then. We have no idea what BLM is going to do, where the pandemic and, with it, the stock market is going or how quickly Biden is declining. It’s a good four weeks for Kamala Harris to open her mouth and she will certainly have to when she debates Pence.

          This is why I will not vote early. The last thing I want is to cast my ballot and then watch my candidate of choice dive off the deep in an unsalvagable way.

        • Absolutely not. I don’t think he lost many votes, if any; the polling on the debate essentially duplicates the polling on the debates in 2016. I don’t see how anyone could say that Biden “won”—what did he do that anyone could be impressed with, other than not fall over? If your orientation is to say that Trump won by being strong, by fighting off both the moderator and Biden, and scoring some genuine hits, that’s a fair position. Biden won by not being as bad as some thought he would be, and Trump “lost” by not mopping the floor with him when he could have? By not acting differently from how he has acted all his life? By not being articulate, when he is never articulate?

          I would have killed to be in Trump’s position in that debate, with Biden’s responses. But I won’t confuse failure to take advantage of an opportunity with losing. And many of the people who hate Trump will say he lost the debate, but not bother to go to the polls to vote for a candidate who appeared to reject their radical positions. Trump could lose the debate, and still see Joe lose more voters.

          • For whatever it’s worth, Jack, I find the betting odds to be a better indicator than the polls. RCP has betting odds averaged from various sources on their front page. They were 54-45 in favor of Biden before the debate. Now they’re 60-40.

              • You don’t think you might be whistling past the graveyard on this one? It seems like everyone is really angry at the president, just like in 1992

                    • Every poll doesn’t duplicate this one, and the issue isn’t whether every poll is wrong, but rather which one is closeste to being right. The anti-Trump bias pollutes the polling as much as it does the reporting, and because of cell phones, polling methodology is less reliable than before.

                    • What are you willing to bet that President Trump loses in a rout and takes the Senate down with him?

                    • Frankly, I think the belief that a huge majority of the nation will rush to the polls to vote for a demantia-sufferer who represents racial bias against anyone who isn’t black, gun confiscation, open borders, abortion on demand and confiscatory taxes is delusional. If that does happen, the nation is both insane and doomed. I believe neither.

                    • With respect, I’m asking you now, but let me amend my question a little. Are you confident and comfortable in your belief that the president is more likely than not to win reelection?

                      You pointed out that “everyone” was not really specific, and you were right. A better way for me to put it would be that “every time I pull up my web browser the news seems to be touting another poll that is bad news for the president, and every time I get a news alert on my phone, it seems to be bad news for the president. It also seems that negative comments about the president outnumber positive ones by about four to one on the articles I read, and most of those negative comments display anger at the president.” Given that, I think it looks bad for the president.

                    • That’s sound reasoning, but a huge majority MIGHT rush to the polls to vote AGAINST a president they hate, without caring much what they are voting FOR.

                  • What are these historical conditions and trends?

                    And why are the polls untrustworthy?

                    Nevertheless, if we are to believe the polls (the polls on key issues and polls on specific demographics), we are to believe that
                    * an uncharismatic Democratic nominee.
                    * polling relatively poorly among black people.
                    * who picked a candidate disliked by black voters
                    * who polls worse on the economy than the incumbent, given the current state of the economy.
                    * will draw in enough “racially resentful” white voters (compensating for his relatively poor showing among black voters

                    to achieve the nearly impossible.

                    • I don’t know. This is beginning more to make me think of 1992 when you had:

                      – a president that was not that popular.
                      – whose successes were far behind him.
                      – a country that was in a major recession.
                      – an optimistic Democratic candidate who promised to make everything better.
                      – a president whose heart might not have been in reelection.

                      Here you have:

                      – a president who is hated.
                      – who has had no real success in 8 months.
                      – whose admittedly good economy has tanked, and is unlikely to recover completely for a while.
                      – who has seen pretty much every major city fall apart on his watch.
                      – who is viewed as not only racist, but heavy-handed.
                      – who has seen a dramatic split in the races on his watch, and is now hated by many white people who are sympathetic to the plight of the black and brown.
                      – whose numbers are subterranean with young people.
                      – who just put forth a divisive SCOTUS nominee without exactly having clean hands since 2016.
                      – who just gave a shambling, ugly performance.
                      – who now has Covid himself.
                      – a Democratic nominee who might just be OK enough.

                      This almost writes itself, and I’ve gotten messages to the effect that “hey, you’re a decent, intelligent conservative guy, why are you voting for this clown who’s none of those things? If you aren’t exactly jazzed about Biden, don’t vote for him for him – vote for him for your black and brown neighbors whose lives matter, vote for him for the women in your life who Trump wants to send into the back alleys, vote for him for the gay people you know, who will be pushed back into the closet under him, vote for him for those less fortunate, who will lose their health care under him. You just might save this nation, and you will save your relationships with all these people.”

                    • Here you have:

                      – a president who is hated. [Only by the opposition.]
                      – who has had no real success in 8 months. Huh? Economy recovering from a disaster; THREE foreign police triumphs.
                      – whose admittedly good economy has tanked, and is unlikely to recover completely for a while. But not blamable on him.
                      – who has seen pretty much every major city fall apart on his watch. What? On the watch of Democratic mayors and governors!
                      – who is viewed as not only racist, but heavy-handed. Again, the racist lie only is bought by those who oppose him anyway.
                      – who has seen a dramatic split in the races on his watch, and is now hated by many white people who are sympathetic to the plight of the black and brown. Oh, that’s just not true. The racial split is on the Left. How do you blame BLM on Trump?
                      – whose numbers are subterranean with young people…Who don’t vote.
                      – who just put forth a divisive SCOTUS nominee without exactly having clean hands since 2016. Don’t know what you mean.
                      – who just gave a shambling, ugly performance. The debate? A wash, with Biden making the biggest gaffes and being equally ugly, and unlike Trump, he’s supposed to nice.
                      – who now has Covid himself. So what?
                      – a Democratic nominee who might just be OK enough. But he’s obviously NOT.

                      I don’t find that especially persuasive.

                    • I was at work all day, and was only able to reply now, so I will add my thoughts.

                      This almost writes itself, and I’ve gotten messages to the effect that “hey, you’re a decent, intelligent conservative guy, why are you voting for this clown who’s none of those things? If you aren’t exactly jazzed about Biden, don’t vote for him for him – vote for him for your black and brown neighbors whose lives matter, vote for him for the women in your life who Trump wants to send into the back alleys, vote for him for the gay people you know, who will be pushed back into the closet under him, vote for him for those less fortunate, who will lose their health care under him. You just might save this nation, and you will save your relationships with all these people.”

                      This is an SJW-type argument.

                      I would honestly be surprised if the Biden campaign used these kind of arguments. Biden was the non-SJW candidate during the primaries. See the article “How Joe Biden attracts both black voters and racially ‘resentful’ voters” Washington Post, 9/6/2019

                      But not blamable on him.

                      I remember seeing a poll a few months ago showing half of voters trust Trump over Biden on the economy.

                      I doubt Herbert Hoover would have had that in 1932.

                      Again, the racist lie only is bought by those who oppose him anyway.

                      I suspect a lopsided majority of swing voters, and even a majority of Democratic voters, support being heavy-handed against arsonists.

                      Oh, that’s just not true. The racial split is on the Left. How do you blame BLM on Trump?

                      I would also ask him what he means by being “sympathetic” to the “plight” of black and brown.

                      Define “sympathy”

                      Define this “plight”.

                      Who don’t vote.

                      See below.

                      Now I will quote this tweet (I do not agree generally with the political views of the tqweeter, but he did cite other sources)

                      Even after the George Floyd freakout, and Biden selecting Kamala Harris, black support for Biden is hovering in the low 80’s. Another interesting tidbit is that Trump’s support is hovering about 10%.

                      The African American Research Collaborative Poll is even more illuminating. There is a twenty-one point increase in the belief that “the GOP is welcoming to black Americans” when comparing 18-29 black voters to 60+ black voters. But there is a twenty-nine point decrease in the belief that “the Democratic Party is welcoming to black people” when comparing these same age groups.
                      Perhaps one explanation for this generational gap is that younger voters are more Internet savvy.
                      When there was so much media focus on systemic racism and police brutality, this begged the question of exactly who was perpetuating these systems.

                      In any event, the focus is on appealing to the working class and racial conservatives. There are, after all, only so many older black voters, and trying to turn out young black voters, who are not very motivated, would be too much effort for so few net votes.

          • Biden did not immediately alienate the working class as well as “racially resentful” whites (two voter blocs which likely have significantly overlap).

            But then, both campaigns are using debate quotes to write attack ads even as I type this.

  12. FWIW, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on just what the Proud Boys represent.
    I follow a few gun-related groups that cater mainly to black gun owners, and there are ongoing debates in the ranks on whether Proud Boys are compatriot Second Amendment advocates, or supremacist foes. And then there’s this:
    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/oct/1/proud-boys-black-lives-matter-leaders-hold-joint-c/?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=manual&utm_campaign=evening&utm_term=evening&utm_content=evening&bt_ee=wn5vk07kjVIE3Of%2BSqVa5oqPqXNvhPB4wDPKn6EYGn1HdNxuLq9rfGYauVSwIdfv&bt_ts=1601583474405

  13. A commenter on another blog, whom I greatly respect, wrote this.

    http://reason.com/2020/09/30/as-dumpster-fire-debate-rages-jorgensen-quietly-presents-an-alternative/#comment-8492018

    I keep hearing from Trump haters telling me that Biden was just as awful as Trump . . .

    Those people aren’t taking time out of their day to fill out a ballot or stand in line at the polls if they don’t think there’s much difference between the two. There are huge differences between them on policy, but Biden blew it if he failed to demonstrate a difference between himself and Trump on civility.

    My bet?

    Thousands of suburban women in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin won’t bother tuning in for the next debate and won’t take time out of their busy day come November to go stand in line at the polls to vote for either one of the jerks they saw on TV last night.

    Advantage Trump.

    • I think that’s a legitimate analysis.

      Ann Althouse suddenly remembered that she hated how Biden interrupted Paul Ryan in 2012, and realized that the President was blocking Biden from doing the same to him.

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