Comment Of The Day: The First 2020 Presidential Debate.

[The transcript is here]

I’ll make my comments regarding last night’s debate relatively brief. Right now I’m going to give the floor to Chris Marschner, whose lengthy comment shortly after it concluded is both fair and thorough. This is an ethics blog that has been forced into commenting on politics far more than it should or that its writer wants to, and for that I blame, as a depressed friend said yesterday, “the politicization of everything.” I am going to try, as I have all along in matters relating to President Trump and the unconscionable methods the Axis of Unethical Conduct has employed to undermine and remove him regardless of the long- and short- term harm they inflict on the nation, to keep my observations on the debate to ethical issues . I think, for the most part, Chris does too, which is one reason I admire his Comment of the Day.

One of his main complaints is the incompetence of the President in failing to clearly explain and defend his response to the Wuhan virus. I won’t touch on that at all;  Chris is right,  but it’s Julie Principle territory. Yes, it would be great if this President could articulately marshal facts and statistics to kill false narratives, as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton could. The man just doesn’t do that, can’t, and never will. It is true that Biden provided many opportunities that a more verbally adept President could have exploited, but complaining that Trump is Trump seems pointless now.

My own observations, which I will restrict to just ten, are here—I wrote them up before reading Chris’s analysis.. Meanwhile, here is Chris Marschner’s Comment of the Day on last nights debate, nominally on the post, “Pre-Debate Ethics Distraction, 9/29/2020: Prediction: Whatever Happens, I’m Going To Hate It, And The News Media Will Lie About It”:

I can’t believe American politics has devolved in to the one of those circuses elsewhere when the the two sides clear the benches for physical free for all. Chris Wallace is ill suited for what our debates have become and his questions being so long allowed the two candidates to go off into their preferred areas of attack instead of giving relatively succinct answers.

It also appeared to me that the questions were structured in such a way that Trump had to defend his decisions while Biden was given the opportunity to lay out his ideas. Having to defend the measurable and complex issues of a pandemic response coupled with widespread unrest in major cities fomented by race-baiters while your opponent merely has to give unmeasurable platitudes is sort of unreasonable. The only one challenging Biden on his record was Trump while Trump was challenged by Wallace and Biden.

Trump may come across as overbearing tonight but I recall Biden’s debate with Paul Ryan in which he behaved as Trump did tonight. Perhaps the game plan was to not let Biden pull that again.

The Charlottesville reference was a bald face lie and Wallace knew that yet he positioned the question about race to reflect the events in Charlottesville. Why did he do that? If you are going to ask a question about race relations in the US why put one side immediately on the defensive?

What if Wallace had asked Biden about Obama’s remark that had he had a son he might look like Trayvon when it was demonstrated in court that “little Trayvon” was in the process of bashing Zimmerman’s head into the ground because he thought he was a gay guy trying to pick him up? Or what about the narrative that the Kenosha shooting was racially motivated when in fact the police were called to protect the woman from her estranged boyfriend who had raped her, had a protective order against him, had a history of violence against police officers ,and failed to comply with lawful orders from the police which resulted in him being shot as he walked around the car and reached inside. Do these narratives promote divisiveness or social cohesion?

Wallace’s statement that Trump defend his decision to end Critical Race Theory was conflated with more benign “sensitivity” trainings. These are two very different things and the question was used to create division. If you want to ask why he stopped funding Critical Race Theory that is fine but to confuse the public with the term “sensitivity training” is wrong.

Why not ask, ” Going forward how will your presidency seek improve social cohesion and harmony among different groups in the US?” Why do we care what happened yesterday when we are electing a President to lead us in the future?

I truly believe that the Covid issue is one that should not have been up for discussion in tonight’s debate. Debating what is being done is not helping the ongoing situation. With that said, Trump missed a great opportunity to call out Biden’s late to the game positions. He did say that Biden called him a xenophobe and racist for shutting down travel. He should have then moved on to state that he allowed Fauci and Birx to run the public health advisories and that any deviation from one recommendation resulted from Fauci and Birx coming to new assessments regarding the virus. He should have said that so many claim he doesn’t follow the science but everything he stated was provided by Fauci and Birx; that he was told by Fauci that the virus was no worse than the flu early on and that warmer weather would mitigate its spread. When we got better information we changed how we advised the governors. Unfortunately not all the governors acted upon that information properly.

He should have pointed out he mobilized the industrial base to shift production into PPE and medical devices in need, he build additional hospitals in hot spots and put the USS Comfort in New York harbor where it stood empty while the governor was pushing Covid patients in to nursing homes infecting thousands. He could have pointed out that Governors take point on state pandemic plans and the federal government is to back them up. Trump should have pointed out he has no authority to make state decisions. Because of that over 25% of the Covid deaths were attributable to two states New York (36K ) and New Jersey(14K) Finally, he should have hammered home the point that it is PfIizer , J&J, and others updating him on vaccine development. And he should have demanded that Biden stop implying that he (Trump) has anything to do with the scientific development of the vaccines and suggesting that the vaccines cannot be trusted.

Trump would have done better to have simply stated that every country measures infections and deaths differently. He should have pointed out that in the US if anyone dies and also tests positively for Covid it is treated as a Covid death even if the person died from lung cancer or auto accident. He could have pointed out that excess deaths are only 66,000 over the same period a year ago and that some of these excess deaths were a function of delayed treatment as hospitals shut down elective treatments, and higher suicides and overdose deaths from being quarantined for extended periods. He could have pointed out that only 6% of the deaths are from only the Covid virus. He lost points where he could have nailed Biden to the wall.

I am sick of all of it. I have very little respect for any politician or media figure right about now.

62 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: The First 2020 Presidential Debate.

  1. Biden says “I am the Democratic Party” and then says he can’t do boo since he’s not a public official when asked about the riots in Democratic cities?

    Essentially, he said that he had all the power when he wanted to have all the power, and no power when he didn’t want to be responsible for taking action. Do we really want a president who is going to lord the power over ordinary people when it suits him, and say there is nothing he can do when he is asked to protect ordinary people? That’s not how it’s supposed to work. With great power is supposed to come great responsibility. it’s not supposed to be anyone’s personal path to a rockstar lifestyle and hobnobbing with celebrities, while ignoring problems at the street level.

    “Shut up, man?” Calling the president a clown and a racist? Laughing? Is that how he’s going to handle Putin or Xi? WTF?

    Anf wtf is this about the president failing to denounce white supremacists? He answered the question “Sure.” That’s all you’re going to get. You’re not going to get a raised fist and a shout of “Black Lives Matter!” Another Big Lie by the media.

    • Biden also pointedly did NOT disclaim Supreme Court packing, despite “being the Democratic party”. He said if if took a position, that would be the headline, as if protecting the nation from a constitutional crisis would be a “bad” headline, or taking responsibility and admitting that a vote for him was a vote for upendiy the Supreme Court were an undeserved headline.

    • Biden says “I am the Democratic Party” and then says he can’t do boo since he’s not a public official when asked about the riots in Democratic cities?

      He is the Democratic Party, and yet could not steer the Democratic Party from its radicalization?

      He could not steer the Democratic Party from the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse Ethics Train Wreck?

      Because the people who voted for him in the primaries were mostly those who disagreed with the direction the Democrats have been taking the last six years. They mostly held views that political scientists call “racially resentful”.

      Are they still under the delusion that he can lead the Democratic party away from the Great Awokening?

      Anf wtf is this about the president failing to denounce white supremacists? He answered the question “Sure.” That’s all you’re going to get. You’re not going to get a raised fist and a shout of “Black Lives Matter!” Another Big Lie by the media.

      He was specifically asked to denounce the Proud Boys as an example, chaired by one Enrique Tarrio.

      Remember, Biden said “Antifa is an idea, not an organization”.

      • Honestly, that was an improper question. It wasn’t about policy. It was a “gotcha” question and racial litmus test question. That said, Trump could have answered better.

    • Now that you mention it, I heard that too. It was one of the few occasions that the proper words eluded him. I suppose I had been hoping for more instances, or a complete brain meltdown like we’ve seen elsewhere. But for the oil and gas not escaping, I think my brain immediately said, “He means so that heat doesn’t escape due to good insulation.” So I didn’t really pick up on that until you brought my attention back to it.

        • I didn’t feel the suburbs comment was all over. He said the suburbs were integrated, that cars carrying kids of mixed races were off to soccer practice together, and that the suburbs were dying off because of COVID-19. It seemed coherent to me. Wrong. But coherent.

          • So everything’ hunky dory in the suburbs? It’s all ebony and ivory out there? Then what’s the problem? What about systemic racism? The suburbs are dying because of COVID? That’s authentic frontier you know what, Ryan. According to Dem talking points, the virus is only killing black people and Hispanics. I think it’s not just wrong, it’s ridiculous. Cheers.

            • OB, the point wasn’t whether Biden was factually accurate. The point was whether he strung together coherent sentences or devolved into incomprehensible phrases. The point was whether he remembered where he was and what his talking points were. I think he succeeded in holding himself together on that particular point, because he didn’t space out or start rambling. Now, if the analysis is that he showed a senile moment because he contradicted the Democratic narrative, sure, I’ll buy that. Just as he bit the bullet and said he supported Law and Order, and he did not support the Green New Deal. Those were interesting moments.

                • OB, I suppose we could argue if there’s a difference between preposterous and incoherent, but that’s not what I’m really interested in. I’m glad you pointed out your issues with what Biden said, because I hadn’t been thinking in those lines. I had been more on the lookout for rambling, halting sentences where he could not find what he was trying to say and making a mess of it, and not paying nearly enough attention to whether what he was saying was consistent. Someone could argue with grammatically correct sentences that we needed to strap a hunk of cheese to our foreheads, but it would be a crazy statement nonetheless.

  2. I missed the first half-hour as I was still getting my girls to bed (the debate started at 7:00 pm local time), but when I finally reached the couch where my wife had been sitting since the beginning, she turned to me and said, “I’m about to strangle both of them.” And the debate did not improve at all from that point.

    If I had to pick a winner of the debate, I would say Biden won. I may be a victim of the “expectations so low all Biden has to do is stand upright the whole time to win” mentality, but it seemed to me that Biden was able to hold his own, make comebacks, inject humorous barbs, and portray the sophisticated, caring grandfather to Trump’s uncouth boor. I thought Biden’s looking right at the audience and talking to them was effective. In contrast, Trump’s unending interruptions, his petulance, his non-sequiturs all compiled to make him look like, in Biden’s words, a clown.

    Trump could have easily had his way with BIden if he did two things. First, in his answers, if he made sharp, pithy replies in the first 30 seconds, and then pivoted to attacking Biden, in the remaining time, and then refrained from interjecting as much during Biden’s time, he would have made his case easily. When it came to the question about racism, all Trump had to say was, “Of course, Chris. I denounce white supremacy and all forms of racism, as I have multiple times.” And he would have had 1:45 left to paint all the race riots as the Democrats’ fault. Instead he muddled his answers, ran long, talked over Biden, and beclowned himself.

    Second, Trump needed to tone down the interruptions. I’m not saying he needed to eliminate them. He seemed to be doing the job Wallace should have done in questioning Biden’s responses, but he needed to show some dignity and restraint. Instead he came across as out of control. I think I understand why he did so. Biden, as Chris Marschner pointed out, came out very aggressively against Paul Ryan in 2012, and Trump was apparently prepped to counter that. I also think he was trying to provoke Biden into spewing a gob of demented garbage, which I think was the right thing to do, but he failed in the execution. There were so many times when it seemed that Biden was gobsmacked and about lose it, but Trumps interruptions gave him the moment to recoup, get back on his narrative, and proceed as though his faculties were not slipping away. I think this was encapsulated when Wallace finally managed to quiet Trump and then asked Biden to respond to Trump’s questions, and Biden humorously asked, “Which one? There were so many.”

    By the end, I agreed with my wife. I was ready to strangle both candidates. Trump because of his boorishness, Biden because of his lies. Yes, I caught a number of Trump’s lies as well, but his lies I felt were overshadowed by his poor performance. Biden had a suave performance, which made the content of his side of the debate more important. It was frustrating listening to him say Trump has done nothing, that Trump doesn’t care about anything but lining the pockets of the rich. But it really angered me when he said there was no evidence of voter fraud with the ballots being pushed out en masse. There have been numerous cases, many documented here. It angered me that Biden brought up the debunked story of Trump insulting the military. As a father, I can sympathize a little with not being happy with Hunter’s life choices, but when documentation is readily available to show that Hunter was involved in shady deals in China and Ukraine, Biden’s claims that Hunter did nothing wrong were exasperating.

    I wish I had the clout to insist on a formal, LIncoln-Douglas debate. Or a series of them. Pick the three hottest topics, frame them broadly so the candidates have room to expand on their platform, and actually have moderation. 10 minutes each for opening statements. 7 minutes each for response. 7 minutes each for rebuttal. 6 minutes each for cross examination, where they can do as much interrupting and yelling at each other as they want. 5 minutes each for closing remarks. Then take questions.

    • Ryan, I’d say Trump was Trump, for better or worse. Joe was a talking point spouter, most likely enabled by all of Chris Wallace’s questions also being Democrat party talking points. I found Joe wooden and on auto-pilot. It was like watching a Democrat party campaign ad. “Low energy” seems pretty apt. He also seemed to be channeling Liz Warren with his “I have a plan for that, but you can’t see it right now.” And how about “You’re a liar?” Ugh.

  3. Another great comment of the day Chris.

    Chris wrote, “I am sick of all of it. I have very little respect for any politician or media figure right about now.”

    Out of pure respect for my wife I intentionally didn’t watch the debate live last night because I knew I’d be ripping the skin off my face, screaming uncontrollably at the TV, and probably end up smashing the TV into pieces. I made a promised to myself and my wife years ago to never bring home “those” military parts of me and I intend to keep my promise. My wife and family don’t ever need to see that side of me.

    I went to CSPAN this morning and started watching the video, well actually I was listening to it as I tried to work on some assemblies in my CAD system. I got less than twenty minutes into the debate and I had to turn it off because I couldn’t stand listening to those two politicians going at it without loosing my cool and I couldn’t concentrate on my work. How the hell did the United States fall so far off the rails that we ended up with these two pieces of…… arrrrgh…….. these two politicians debating each other for President of the United States? Seriously; these are the kind of people we are choosing to be in the White House?

    We deserve the crap we get!

    I’ve passed frustration and gone straight to anger!!!

    I’m voting strictly on policy and absolutely nothing else! If I go down the rabbit hole of comparing the two politicians based on anything else I fear it’ll consume me I’ll probably loose it. If I continue to listen to these two politicians over the next month, it’s going to make me physically sick. Maybe they should save a nice quiet padded room for me in the loony bin.

    How many unethical rationalizations did I use above; oh never mind, I just don’t care.

    I’m in a really shitty mood right now, I’ve got work to get done, I’ve need to find a way to get back on track. Maybe writing about it here will allow some release.

    P.S. I had to edit out an overly abundant amount of serious anger based foul language, now I think it’s time for an engineering walk around the plant.

  4. Chris wrote: “The Charlottesville reference was a bald face lie and Wallace knew that yet he positioned the question about race to reflect the events in Charlottesville. Why did he do that? If you are going to ask a question about race relations in the US why put one side immediately on the defensive?”

    I think you’d have to linger over this for a few minutes. What do you think about Charlottesville? What do *most people* think about it? It is not a simple and it is not in any sense a settled question. But one must say the following: the media-systems very much know what *Charlottesville* is and what it was. It was a Nazi uprising essentially.

    It is also important to state that the Charlottesville reference was NOT a bald face lie. The reason needs to be carefully seen and then carefully explained. Trump was called to the standard theatrical necessity of ‘denouncing racism’ and all that garbage. This is part of a game that is played today. You have to have at the ready some general statement against *it* and then to repeat the standard American platitudes that have now become part of a sort of Credo. But Trump did not do this, or he did not do it in the precise way that all must do it. Because he deviated slightly — just by mentioning that some of the people who came to Charlottesville to protest the tearing down of statues by the mobs were people who have valid points, or potentially valid points, and were ‘decent people’, he turned very substantially against the Standard Narrative of what must be said in public by a public official.

    Yes, Trump did go through the ritual of ‘denouncement’, but later. What he did with his supportive comment, if he understood it or not, was to send a very real message to millions of Americans who are oppressed under a specific ideological régime. Americans who are forced to turn against both Americanism of an original sort and also against America. That is what ‘denounce White Supremacism’ means! and that is the coercive purpose of the term. But Trump (I assume) felt at a basic level what his necessary response should be, and he blurted it out. He did not think it through because he is *responding* to psychological realities and responding as well to the ideas and needs of a battered and abused constituency.

    “Why did he do that? If you are going to ask a question about race relations in the US why put one side immediately on the defensive?”

    It’s the one who asks this question who needs to examine his self! He did that because this is what is done today! It is a complex ideological position that is, fundamentally, based in lies of course, but I think almost everyone who participates here has internalized it, like Winston had internalized Big Brother’s truths until he awoke to some degree.

    But the cool thing is that Trump did not betray himself. He even made a reference to the Proud Boys being at the ready or something to that effect. He indicated that there is a real conflict, and what whatever Antifa represents, is something that needs to be defeated. What Antifa represents, and what the Democrat party stands for, is the destruction of the possibility of white identity. And here on this blog 99% of you are fully engaged with that project!

    You are unethical and you are immoral because you cannot defend yourselves. And you teach other people how to be unethical and immoral as you essentially are. And you call this *good* and you see yourselves as *good*.

    What a joke! 🙃

    • Weird: tried to post a reply to Alizia, but it looks like the system failed. Trying again…

      So Alizia, are you in the U.S. right now, working to fix the problem you have called out? You know, don’t you, that you can’t just export “better ideas” and expect them to take root? “Ya gotta getcher boots into the swamp before you can drain it.”

      • If I have called out a problem, am I to assume that you think I have identified a real problem? What do you think about the things I think and say?

        If I were in the US — I was up there last year before all this Corona madness hit — I would be doing only what I am doing now (if if qualifies as a *doing*). I have said it a few times: I am not an activist, I don’t have that temperament.

        My husband however is an activist. As is my sister’s husband. Both are associated with the Dissident Right.

        Also what ultimately interests me — this has recently become more clear — is to continue to work out a structure of definition that can function within a sincere and sound Christian position. For example my sense that *identity* (white European identity) is necessarily linked to European Christianity is an idea that has recently coalesced. Inspired by Giles Corey The Sword of Christ and that if there is immorality or the unethical it is when people falsely believe that they should not encourage and cultivate their cultural, social, and if you wish ‘racial’ heritage. This is also what I have learned by reading Southern writers (such as those who write on Abbeville Institute).

        It has taken me a solid 5 years of continuous reading and study, in combination with my own inner, religious work, to get to this point. But as I always say I have no *program* to offer. What I do believe is that the parameters of conversation must open up.

        Also in my view, everything hinges on a clear sense of *what is to be served*. I serve *Europe*. I desire to serve the Greco-Christian Traditions. The thing that I identify to offer service to is larger than the United States. And in certain crucial senses the United States is an *adversary* of what I understand must be served.

        So at the final point I believe it really has to do with *idea*. It starts there. And I am idea-oriented. So I am doing what I can and what I should.

      • In a sense of course my efforts here (on this blog) are wasted. In another sense my presence here is extremely unlikely. The ideas I work with are weird (uncommon) indeed. But not irrational. I get more benefit from *you* than you get from me! Why? Because you are a people whose vision & view is *chained* in such a way that you only see projected images. Philosophically and religiously I MUST see beyond these limitations. I MUST see and understand the wider scope. But let me suggest that this is not so in *your* case. You prefer to see the shadow-images. You do not want to have your vision expanded. It is painful! Just as it is painful for those in Plato’s Cave to eventually *see* the Sun!

        My concerns in the most ultimate sense are — forgive me for interjecting a scary word! — Aryan. The word has two senses. One is highly real and has to do with the original, founding people (of Europe’s early cultures). The other sense has a mythical sense: an idea about a people, or an idea about ‘origin’. We live within mythic structures and all mythic structures are ‘metaphysical’. We really are metaphysical creatures!

        You wrote about ‘fixing the problem’ and I have become aware that everyone who writes here is aware that there is a problem. The awareness that there is a problem is central to the social and political focus of this blog, though Jack’s desired focus would be strictly to expound on ethical issues within a cohesive American society. Jack is a romantic as are many who write here, and your ‘romantic country’ is an Old Dream about an America that no longer exists and will never exist again. I can expound on this if you’d like.

        We are approaching and are well within a time when this romanticism has died. We are in a ‘twilight’ in which it is fading, though the ghosts and traces are still visible, but not yet within approaching night nor yet near what I may refer metaphorically to a ‘dawning’. This is far, far more than an American problem. It is, ultimately, a European problem. I only can sketch this out — refer to it in skeleton form — because the problem of decay and degeneration (what is happening to us, and what has happened to us) is a complex problem. There is no way other than through a philosophically-inclined discourse to speak about it.

        But since you have given me the opportunity — because you mentioned ‘problem’ — and since you have referred to *work to be done* or *work that needs to be done*, I will make full advantage of it.

        We must recover ourselves. The essence is here. Self-recovery. Self-understanding. Grounding of the self within *real* categories of concern and action. This is the revolution that must take place. This is rebirth. And this is ‘being born again’. I have just introduced a ‘Christian category’ and I have done it deliberately. The soul is born but — in paideia — it is also formed. Paideia, for Plato, was *everything that you will teach your child*. So as you see if we are to have a genuine and a meaningful conversation on *the most important things* we have to get clear about what those are (and what they are not!).

        The critical and dissident position is one that is capable of profound criticism of the very culture that surround us. What surrounds us is *noise*. Not substance. Noise. Self-recovery requires a weaning from noise. It involves — quite literally — reestablishing a base for sane existence on this plane of existence with an attuned, authentic being.

        To discover ourselves, to recover ourselves, involves on a mental plane (since it is physically impossible!) a return to the origin of ourselves. The origins of us as people — as a people. That is why I refer to *Europe*. So did Hilaire Belloc I might add:

        “The Faith is Europe. And Europe is the Faith”

        What this means — what he meant and what is meant more generally — must be understood. If we do not understand it, we cannot productively mold ourselves nor our world.

        This is from an essay on Savitri Devi (an extremely radical thinker but one who explored essences):

        The religion of the reborn Aryans must naturally have much in common with that of the pre-Christian European North, and with that, of similar origin and spirit, kept alive to this day, in India, in the tradition of the Vedas. It must be, before all, the religion of a healthy, proud, and self-reliant people, accustomed to fight, ready to die, but, in the meantime, happy to live, and sure to live forever, in their undying race; a religion centered around the worship of Life and Light — around the cult of heroes, the cult of ancestors, and the cult of the Sun, source of all joy and power on earth. Indeed, it must be a religion of joy and of power — and of love also; not of that morbid love for sickly and sinful “mankind” at the expense of far more admirable Nature, but of love for all living beauty: for the woods and for the beasts; for healthy children; for one’s faithful comrades in every field of activity; for one’s leaders and one’s gods; above all, for the supreme God, the Life force personified in the Sun. . . .

        Christianity is an ‘otherworldly religion’. But a Northern European Christianity a Christianity of the European North, oriented itself differently. It bridged therefore the *two worlds*.

        I have found now the track that leads to the platform of understanding upon which an authentic Christianity (Catholicism) must be grounded. It is a dual enterprise.

        1) A healthy, proud, self-reliant people.
        2) Ready and capable of fighting.
        3) Involved in genuine categories of life.
        4) Worshiping (ie identifying) what gives life (and meaning).
        5) Having identified genuine, emulate-able ‘heroes’. (This implies identifying ‘villains’ as well).
        6) Understanding ‘joy’ and also understanding ‘power’.
        7) And really & genuinely understanding ‘love’. Not ‘love’s substitutes’.
        8) Preserving of Nature and the base of life.
        9) Creating and nourishing healthy children, not sickly distorted beings.

        So, you wish to *get better* eh? Well, to do that involves a revolution. 😍

  5. Debates these days seem more frustrating than illuminating and this debate was a good example of that. Many key points about what the candidates are doing, have done, and will do, got lost in pot shots, grimaces, and smug smiling. In particular there was a lot of “I know you are but what am I?” responses, paired with much of “You’re lying” or “That’s not true” defenses that made any real substantial knowledge of the candidates plans difficult to ascertain. Chris summed up well in his comment the frustration many of us felt watching the debate.

    Biden’s lies and self-righteous smiling were distracting. His double-talk about not supporting the Green New Deal while espousing the same talking points made him look untrustworthy. Bringing up his son for sympathy points was so tacky, I wondered if his shoes were sticky. Also he needs to stop with the plastic surgery. His face is so stretched out it looks painful.

    Trump seemed like he didn’t really practice for this, which I feared before the debate started. Alizia said it well in her comment on the same post, that he did have substantive comments but, “…they were always cut up and badly arranged as is much of his thinking.” Our President needed to hammer out his points clearly, repeatedly. He also needed to smile (not smugly like Biden) a little more and needed a bit of powder to tame his shiney complexion. I know that sounds shallow, but that kind of stuff matters for the “show” aspects of these things.

    Debates are harder than they look and those who have never had to debate formally and publically don’t always understand the mental gymnastics that go into debating well. In fairness it has to be noted Chris Wallace was a terrible moderator who failed to appear neutral. President Trump essentially had to deal with two people trying to take him down. I commend our President for not taking crap from Wallace.

    I’m really looking forward to the Vice-presidental debates where I suspect Pence will do well.

    • Pence is the smooth, even-keeled, not-easily-ruffled communicator I wish Trump was.

      IMO he’s going to wipe the floor with Harris. She’s FAR too easily thrown off her game and resorts to that goofy giggle, raised eyebrows, and HUH? pursed lips.

      • Paulie, I think The Harridan is just not very smart and can not think on her feet. That pursed lip smirk simply hides what is essential a dear in headlights condition. She got into and through Hastings College of Law on an affirmative action program. Why the daughter of two Ph.D. university professors needed help to get into and through law school is beyond me. If having that kind of parents doesn’t move you to the front of the class, I’m not sure anything will.

          • OB, just my opinion: I don’t think Harris is as lacking in smarts as I read in your comments. But I think AOC is smarter, in a cat-fight-y way. For a change, I am expecting exemplary dignity in Pence. Of course we already know how that will be played by his enemies: “aloof, cold, NAZI, racist, ‘deer in headlights,’ wooden, out-of-touch,” and more. We also know that [begin sarcasm] Democrats ALWAYS win debates with non-Democrats.[/sarc]

    • Yes, but if history is any guide, they just don’t matter. Palin “won” her debate with Biden by holding her own. Does anyone really vote for a VP? This may be an exception, since so many think Harris is a 25th Amendment stalking horse. I guess.

      • Jack, what do you think of the likelihood that if Trump wins, there will be assassination attempts? I’m fairly convinced that will be reality. (I’m not trying to be a conspiracy nut. It just feels that if every other action the Democrats have taken so far have failed, and Trump is reelected, the next step is….) And if so, I think that means both Vice Presidential candidates stand a higher chance of taking over the presidency than in quite some time.

          • A while ago I worked with a former professional bodyguard. While he was recruited for his size (6’5″, 260 lb of mostly muscle) he liked to talk about what goes on behind the scenes – as much as his NDAs allowed. There is a *ton* of work in planning and prevention. The security firms know so much stuff about you (just random “you” showing up at an event with some famous person) that credit bureaus would blush by looking at those files. If you were remotely interesting, they tracked you constantly and would make sure you didn’t make it closer than 500 yards from the target. Also, they are always there, discreetly, and will appear out of nowhere at the first sign of trouble. I once saw a dozen men in black suits materialize out of nowhere because someone crossed an invisible line where a billionaire was concerned; and then disappear equally swiftly once the danger was gone. It is also important that the guy under protection cooperates, and Trump being a hated celebrity he’s probably used to that game already. I assume the Secret Service knows all of this and more, so I would be surprised if anything happens that puts Trump in danger instead of being stopped 5 or 6 steps before it has a chance to become news.

            • That said, I would totally believe Trump has been targeted already. It’s just that those attempts have been stopped so early on that they won’t register in the public consciousness.

              • I’m with Jack and Ryan. I expect sophisticated attacks involving multiple assailants in close coordination, who will go for the security guards even before they go for the prime target, just to create sufficient distraction and chaos. Actually, I expect either Biden or Trump to be in equal danger – their families, too.

        • With all of the unmitigated hatred for President Obama when he was in office, if no one tried to assassinate him, I find it hard to believe that someone would try to assassinate 45.

          • Patrice wrote, “With all of the unmitigated hatred for President Obama when he was in office, if no one tried to assassinate him, I find it hard to believe that someone would try to assassinate 45.”

            WOW, you remember President Obama’s days a lot differently than I do. What I remember is a sincere distaste for the policies that President Obama was in favor of but hating Obama the man, I think that was extremely rare! The hatred for President Trump the man is really thick in the air these days!

            • You’re right; I do remember it differently. I remember the hate as personal. Political, too, of course, but the remarks became VERY personal.

                • Wide-spread? Not in the way that you mean. In President Obama’s case, the haters seemed to come from the unhinged right-wing. In 45’s case, I know MANY average suburban grandmas (and others, of course) who want him struck by lightning. Or a meteor. Or cheap hair dye.

                • Sorry. Better clarify. Unhinged right-wing is probably too wide a net. Racists, yes, that’s what they’re called. And racism as an -ism is one thing. Racism against one person is personal.

                  As Linus Van Pelt would say: I love humanity. It’s people I can’t stand.

                  • Give me a break Patrice, almost all of the racism claims from that period of time in regards to President Obama were straight up race baiting simply because someone had the gall to publicly disagree with a black President. Damn near every time a Conservative disagreed with President Obama they were tarred as a racist.

                    You’re going to have to some up with something better than this nonsense.

                    • Rational disagreement on points of policy should not bear the claim of racism, and I regret that this may have been the case. No. People hated him because he is black. Some used their political disagreement as a mask for their racism. Some used their concern about his youth and inexperience. Some hated him because they claimed he was not qualified for the presidency because they held erroneous ideas about his birth. But the true hatred was there because of his color.

                    • I have to ask, Patrice, where did you get this idea? I view it in the Big Lie category. I didn’t know anyone who hated Obama at all, and I knew of no one who opposed him because he is black. I followed critic of the Obama administration extensively as well as other coverage—what I saw were cynical attempts to silence critics by painting them as racists.

                      I some some didn’t trust Obama because of his Muslim background and viewed him as less than fully American; that was a given from the start, but it had little to do with color. We haven’t had a female, Jewish or Italian President; Obama was only the second President with brown eyes. Yes, he didn’t fit the mold, but that doesn’t mean he was hated for his skin color.

                      He was a weak, divisive and hypocritical President, that’s all. That was enough to dislike him legitimately.

                    • Patrice wrote, “People hated him because he is black.”

                      I call bull shit Patrice.

                      Here’s a fact for you Patrice; other than Medicare, Republicans have been against socialized or government run healthcare for the masses for long as I can remember and when Obama became President having that policy opinion suddenly became racist hate in the minds of the race baiting hacks in the political left simply because a black President advocated for government run healthcare. The unethical and immoral political left found a new ad hominem hammer to beat the political right into silence and shut down their arguments without addressing any of their actual arguments; people are still using this unethical and immoral tool today.

                      Was it racist to oppose Obama policies that Obama championed, NO it wasn’t, and anyone that claims it was/is is an intellectual dunce or a political hack.

                      Patrice wrote, “Some used their political disagreement as a mask for their racism.”

                      Bull shit.

                      Prove it.

                      Patrice wrote, “Some used their concern about his youth and inexperience.”

                      It’s not hate or racism to question the qualifications of a Presidential candidate based on their youth and experience; that’s something that should be part of an evaluation of their qualifications.

                      Patrice wrote, “Some hated him because they claimed he was not qualified for the presidency because they held erroneous ideas about his birth.”

                      No Patrice that’s not hate and it’s not racism, that’s questioning the validity of birth records that were eventually provided and it shut down the argument for most people. Some went off into unprovable forged document conspiracy theories but even that isn’t racist it’s fringe conspiracy theories that should be ignored – there are lots of conspiracy theories floating around out there.

                      Patrice wrote, “But the true hatred was there because of his color.”

                      You’re making ridiculous claims that you simply cannot support with facts.

                      Prove your claims.

                      You should read this blog post, I wrote it specifically for people like you that make unsupportable claims.

            • “The hatred for President Trump the man is really thick in the air these days!”

              As it should be. I am loathe to hate anyone. I’d rather hate the behavior than the person, and we all know that God loves even 45, but it is a monumental challenge to separate the behavior from the behaver (not a word, I know, but I’m experimenting with etymological creativity).

              • Frankly, I don’t know where Steve is getting the idea that people didn’t hate Obama. Of course people did. Of course there are racists out there, and the people who hated him that weren’t racially motivated were motivated by politics.

                I also don’t understand the idea that no one would try to assassinate either he or Trump. We’ve seen both a ratcheting up of political violence in the near past, and an increase in attempts on the lives of political figures. Gabby Giffords, Steve Scalise, Rand Paul, the fact that we haven’t had a situation like that with a president yet probably has more to do with the secret service and a lack of opportunity than lack of will.

                I’m old enough to remember the scandal when the secret service allowed Obama on an elevator with a member of the public. It doesn’t matter if there are a million violent haters or five, all it takes is one.

                • Humble Talent wrote, “Frankly, I don’t know where Steve is getting the idea that people didn’t hate Obama. Of course people did. Of course there are racists out there, and the people who hated him that weren’t racially motivated were motivated by politics.”

                  I didn’t write that no one hated President Obama, in fact I wrote “I think that was extremely rare” which in-part acknowledges the fact that there were some that hated him.

                  I also didn’t write that there aren’t racists out there and I’m sure there were/are some prejudiced fools out there that hated President Obama simply because he wasn’t a white man.

                  I’m not too sure about the claim that people hated President Obama because they were motivated by politics. I wrote above, there was a “sincere distaste for the policies that President Obama was in favor of” but did that policy distaste inspire hate, I think that’s a stretch.

                  I’ll ask you the same thing I asked Partice about the Obama years; are there specific examples that you remember of wide spread hate like with President Trump?

                  The political left hated Donald Trump before he was elected as President and their unmitigated hate grew into an intense obsession after he was elected, they have been consumed by their hate. We have certainly not seen these levels of hate for a President of the United States within our lifetimes. Even with all the obvious faults and failures of President Nixon there weren’t these levels of hate towards him and Nixon was a real criminal. The levels of hate directed at President Trump these days is extremely different than what we’ve seen in the past and Patrice making a claim of unmitigated hate towards President Obama to use as some kind of comparison with the hate directed towards President Trump is not a rational argument.

                  The world has changed over the last four year and not in a good way. The political left’s reaction to President Trump is toxic to our society. The political left could have easily chosen to be the adult in the room in comparison to President Trump’s loose cannon rhetoric but they chose to flush their ethics and morals.

                  • “I wrote above, there was a “sincere distaste for the policies that President Obama was in favor of” but did that policy distaste inspire hate, I think that’s a stretch.”

                    Well sure, and then there was the tan suit, the golf time (how quaint that seems now), the expensive vacations, the additional secret service costs, the breed of his dog, Dijon mustard on his burger, the (and I wish I were making this up) “terrorist fist jab” (it was a fist bump), do you remember the shock and horror when he held up his jobs plan and it was held together by a binder clip? (dun dun duuuuuuun). I sure do. Literally nothing the man did was not criticized fervently by the right. It was exhausting. I don’t see the explanation for getting that worked up over the minutiae of life without involving hate, particularly since even the things that you could argue were tied to the job, like the increased costs of the secret service, has only ballooned under Trump, and the right doesn’t seem nearly as bothered by this as they did that. Once you clear all the day to day things he did, you get you even rougher territory, like the birther debate. Didn’t have a damn thing to do about policy, did it? Hell, he wasn’t even in office yet. How many times did you hear Barack Obama’s name (Hussein) on Fox? Do you even know what the J in Donald J Trump stands for? (It’s John). The W in George W? (Walker). (I had to Google both). And if you want to argue that that wasn’t racially motivated, go ahead, but also follow it up with why people still, to this day, in 2020, after the birth certificate has been released, think that Obama is not only a Kenyan immigrant, but also a Muslim.

                    My point is that while the rhetoric is changing, and the sides flipped, there are still an amazing amount of idiots willing to criticize some of the most asinine things they possibly could, and while the level of political violence generally, obviously, is on the rise, it’s not new, and again: It only takes one idiot to pull the trigger, regardless of who it’s pointed at.

                    • Humble Talent,
                      Give me a break!

                      You’re basically comparing annoying criticisms of petty shit like tan suits, golf time, vacations, secret service costs, breed of dog, Dijon mustard, fist bump, binder clip, and a birth certificate to blatantly hateful character assassination’s about and directly at President Trump like he’s misogynist, anti-LGBT…, racist, white supremist, Hitler, fascist, liar, xenophobia, Putin lackey, traitor, illegitimate President, Russian agent, rapist, unfit, disloyal, criminal, – the list goes on, and on, and on!

                      The petty criticisms you listed pale immeasurably in comparison to the hate that’s being slung at President Trump. Yes there were some really annoying petty criticisms, not hate, of President Obama but trying to use an argument along the lines of an everyone does it doesn’t pass the smell test.

                      Do you notice a difference in the petty shit President Obama was criticized for and the hateful character assassination’s about and at President Trump? What’s driving these differences, it’s the hate of President Trump and the flushing of ethics and morals to “get” the one that’s hated.

                      Now consider the fact that all this open bigotry and hate towards the political right and subsequently President Trump started growing rapidly during the Obama years when the left and the left’s lapdog media were constantly trying to call or implying almost any opposition to President Obama’s policies or the political left, racist. The levels of hate we are seeing now was reasonably predictable based on hindsight of the growing hate during the Obama years.

                      P.S. I covered the birth certificate controversary in a previous comment above.

                    • So… Republicans are pettier in their bullshit criticisms?

                      I think, frankly, Obama gave the right less to criticize. Could you imagine what the Fox headlines would have been if Obama did some of the things Trump did? Perhaps, as opposed to “less to criticise” he did all his garbage much more privately, or maybe because of the spotlight shone on Trump, he’s had less opportunity to be private. I’m not sure I care. I’m not coviering for the left or Obama so much as I’m asking you to really take a step back and look at what happened.

                      I mean… You don’t remember the right calling Obama a traitor? You don’t remember the call to impeachment? You don’t remember the allegations that he was a closet Muslim that wanted to bring sharia law to America?

                      Life’s too short for me to pretend that I don’t know what I know.

                    • 1. The “call” to impeachment? Come on. How many votes on a House impeachment resolution were there regarding Obama? Was there an actual impeachment? Was there an ongoing investigation seeded by Republicans? What associates of President Obama were targeted for investigation?

                      2. If you are talking policy and actions, Obama gave the Right as least as much to criticize as Trump has given the Left, and more of substance. I shouldn’t have to roll out the list. Many of the actions that the Left has criticized it would have cheered with a Democrat—the killing of the Iran terror-master, for example. withdrawing troops. You have to be talking about rhetoric then. But words are not actions. Meanwhile, the IRS scandal, to name just one which particularly bugs me, was never investigated at all.

                      3. Obama, as measured by every standard, as well as such observers as the Pugh foundation, was lauded by the news media even when he didn’t deserve it. The New York Times even tried to cover for the “if you like your plan” lie. Trump has dealt with the opposite factor, relentless negative coverage.

                      4. Far right talk radio hosts and pundits were as hard on Obama as the equivalent are hard on Trump, but politically there is no comparison. None. I don’t know why you’re even trying to argue equivalency. The Right didn’t stop Obama from presiding over ceremonial functions. No TV host called him a “cockholster.” No Republicans boycotted his inauguration. NO GOP speaker tore up a SOTU speech on TV. No Congress members called Obama a “motherfucker.”

                      Order of magnitude distinction.

                    • Humble Talent wrote, “So… Republicans are pettier in their bullshit criticisms?”

                      Yes, sometimes they are.

                      Humble Talent wrote, “You don’t remember the right calling Obama a traitor?”

                      While he was in office, actually no I didn’t remember that one so I just looked it up. Yup it happened, there were a few people that called Obama a traitor for a few specific things. People have called Trump a traitor simply for talking to Putin, one world leader to another, no one ever called Obama a traitor for talking to Putin.

                      Humble Talent wrote, “You don’t remember the call to impeachment?”

                      Yup I remember that and, really not trying to rationalize here but, which President hasn’t had the threat of that in the last 40 years or so?

                      Humble Talent wrote, “You don’t remember the allegations that he was a closet Muslim that wanted to bring sharia law to America?”

                      Yup, I remember that. Those were fringe conspiracy theories that never got legs. When you have one stupid person ranting in public it’s easy for the public to shrug it off and explain it away to others as “it’s just a wacko”, but what happens when that wacko’s rantings become mainstream and there are hordes of stupid people publicly parroting the same irrational emotionally driven nonsense?

                      Overall HT, there are very, very stark differences between the way Obama was treated and the way Trump has been treated. But remember…

                      The root cause of the chaotic things we’re seeing in the United States were NOT created by Donald Trump.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s hate.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s bigotry.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s irrational aversion to truth and facts.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s anti-American and anti-Constitution ideological leanings.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s leaning towards totalitarianism.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s bastardization of words and symbols.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s anti-history stance.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s anti-social behaviors.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s anti-respect, anti-logic, anti-critical thinking, and anti-civility.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s Pravda like propaganda media machine.

                      President Trump didn’t create the left’s “deep state”.

                      President Trump didn’t create these things, but his presence in the White House has inspired the left, especially the extreme progressives, to peel back their false facade and reveal their true selves to the world.

          • I should fix this: nothing beyond threats, plots, and “possible” (but not probable) attempts that were stopped early in execution.

      • You have a point about VP debates however I do put stock in them because they show what kind of decision making their running mates have. One of the things that impressed me about Trump was how well his VP pick spoke.

        Plus the debate may make a good drinking game. Take a sip of beer each time Harris giggles. We’d all end up drunk though.

  6. I actually think that was a pretty good night for Biden.

    People know who Trump is, they have strong opinions, they know where they stand with him, generally, there’s a lot of support that’s locked in, and there’s a lot of anti-support locked in. Biden’s support was more flexible, he’s been hiding out in his bunker for so long that no one has really seen him except in those very highly produced videos his campaign has been putting out. Trump has been calling him a drugged up zombie for weeks, and so the expectations on him were very…. very…. very low. All Biden really had to do was show up and not fall on his face or have his teeth fall out. He did that.

    Was Wallace a bad moderator? Oh yes. Did Trump need to get out of his own way? Constantly. Were most of the things Joe said Trump lied about actually true? Yuppers. Were some of those questions egregious? Mhm. Did Joe emulate a progressive talking point machine for two hours, and say some egregiously batshit crazy things? Yup.

    And not a single mind was changed, and when you’re ahead of the polls, that’s a good night.

    • Great comment, HT. As always. The question remains: does being ahead in the polls mean anything?

      I heard someone say that Nate Silver has given Biden a 74 percent chance of winning. Whatever that means. And remember, this was the guy who was the best prognosticator in 2016 because he gave Trump a 26 percent chance of winning. Kind of a head scratcher, at least to me.

    • From what I am reading and following-up (did not see it live – well, okay, I’ll admit: I TRIED to watch, saw less than a few minutes, and QUIT), it WAS a good night for Biden. Trump screwed himself.

  7. Jack,
    Thank you for your kind words. I wrote that at 3 am as I could not sleep as my brain was in hyperdrive as it sorted through all that could have been done. I hate it when I cannot sleep because of the debate equivalent of an ear worm has take hold and will not let go.

    I suppose the thing that troubles me the most is this high and mighty attitude of all the right minded thinkers who spout platitudes of why it is so important to embrace others who hold very different views about life than you and because if you don’t you are lower than slime. Most of these people never walked the crime ridden streets of a major city trying to find solutions to why violence occurs on such a relatively regular basis and how to make these neighborhoods productive and safe as I have. I suspect most have never sat down and talked about racial attitudes with guys in prison who have been convicted of very violent offenses as I have.

    Change the dynamic and have your lovely suburban communities become the market area for narcotics and human traffickers from the ghettos of Chicago, Baltimore, Camden, and others. It is one thing to find absolutely no difficulty socializing with like minded professionals of other races and backgrounds but things change when you no longer feel safe walking in your neighborhood after dark because others with whom you share no social bonds or attitudes and who believe that you are nothing but a potential treasure trove of resources, ripe for the picking, begin to take command of your quite streets. Are you a racist if this group is disproportionately a different race than you? I don’t think so. But that is what we are being taught to believe.

    I find it disturbing that some aging politician who himself cut federal education aid to predominantly black men and women who are nearing the end of their incarceration is lecturing me on bigotry and racism and would label me a racist because I will not make excuses for other peoples choices. I am sick to death of disproportionate impact as a proof of discrimination or racism. Individual personal choices and behaviors drive outcomes. If you choose not to get an education your failure to succeed in life is on you not me. No one forces another to commit a violent crime so being in jail is on you not me. Disproportionate impact is irrelevant unless you can prove that ethnic group A gets lesser jail time than ethnic group B given exactly the same set of circumstances and both having similar records. I have no special privilege and I resent like hell the implication that others demand that I agree with them on that matter. It seems to me that forcing others to acquiesce to your demands is the real privilege.

    Finally I am at a loss to understand why some racial, ethnic or gender subgroup can have advocacy groups specifically to promote those have similar immutable characteristics are permissible but others are not. Why is it that if group A feels disaffected and forms an advocacy group but if Group B does so because they feel disaffected too and want to advance their race/ethnic/gender based agenda but are not seen as a minority those groups are treated as social pariahs, racists, misogynists or some other pejorative. That itself is systemic bigotry. Where is that 14th amendment when it comes to evaluating the merits of BLM or the Proud Boys. Why is it that only one can be considered racist group?

    We all look to these people who want to be president to have plans but it is impossible to create a plan that brings us together when we are all seeking to maximize our benefits through government differently. The fact is that government is ill equipped to meet the insatiable demands of all groups simultaneously. The best they can do is placate them temporarily which causes other problems and bloats our government.

    The more plans our government has the more it will cost us in terms of both money and loss of liberty. As our economy becomes more centrally planned and consequently inefficient the less able we will be to progress as a united people.

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