Last night was the one and only Vice Presidential debate, and I think it’s safe to say that Mike Pence did to Kamala Harris what Tulsi Gabbard did to her in the primary debates. But before I get into any details, here’s a link to watch the whole debate.
Here’s a write-up of the highpoints.
There was plenty of post-debate commentary, but rather than point you to partisan analyses, here’s one that hits on what I thought was the major takeaway of the night: the vitally important questions that Kamala Harris simply refused to answer.
Like her silence on whether they would try to pack the Supreme Court and her denial that Biden will ban fracking (see them both promise to do that very thing at this link)…
…Or her denial that Biden will raise people’s taxes “on day one” (he claims he won’t raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000, but he’s also vowed to reverse the Trump tax cuts, which he misrepresents as a “tax cut for the rich” – which Democrats call all tax cuts – when most of the benefits actually went to the middle class.)
At least somebody finally asked the Democrat these long-overdue questions, even though it often fell to Pence to ask them, since the moderator certainly wasn’t going to do it.
Both sides are claiming that their candidate obviously won, but flash polls showed viewers thought Pence was the winner by as much as 2-1. It was pretty clear to the undecided voters in Frank Luntz’s focus group that Pence won decisively. And these were actual undecided voters, not the kind in NBC’s recent Joe Biden townhall who were only undecided about whether to get their “Biden 2020” tattoos on their arms or their faces.
Those viewers appreciated that the debate was more cordial than the last one (a low bar indeed!), but didn’t like when questions were dodged. Their impression of Pence was that he seemed tired but presidential, while Harris seemed abrasive and condescending. That’s probably because of the smirking, eye-rolling and inappropriate laughter during Pence’s comments. I know some are claiming that’s sexist, and that women are held to impossible standards of presentation, but I refer you to the Bush-Gore debate where Gore rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically and everyone agreed that he came across as an arrogant jackass.
The best thing about this debate for me was that Pence got a chance to calmly explain what the Trump Administration has really accomplished on a variety of fronts, cut through the Democrat/media narrative that they’ve botched or failed at everything, and compare it to Biden’s dismal record, from the coronavirus to the economy to trade deals to China and the Middle East.
For instance, he finally got to remind viewers that while it’s tragic that over 200,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, the world was blindsided with a new and deadly disease from CHINA (really glad to hear someone say that), and there was a tremendous public-private effort to study the disease while ensuring there were adequate supplies of ventilators, masks, hospital beds, etc., so that the predicted shortages and 2.2 million deaths never occurred. And he destroyed Biden’s claim that he would handle pandemics better by pointing out that Biden’s own health advisor admitted that if H1N1 (swine flu) had been as lethal as COVID-19, millions of Americans would have died under Obama/Biden’s feckless response.
As for Harris’ claim that Biden “has a plan” (they “have a plan” for everything, but don’t seem to want to share some of them), Pence noted that his plan is all things that the Trump Administration is already doing (I loved the dig about Joe's familiarity with plagiarism.) This is what I meant after the last debate when I said that Trump missed opportunities to correct a lot of false narratives. Pence grabbed those opportunities over and over and gutted the falsehoods like a trout.
Another highpoint came when Pence refuted the nonsensical rumors about Trump not accepting the results of the election by pointing out all the damage done by Democrats for 3-1/2 years because they still don’t accept the results of the 2016 election.
Harris followed Biden’s lead in repeating a number of debunked “fake news” stories and questionable partisan claims as if they were fact. To list just a few off the top of my head:
* That Trump called our soldiers “suckers” and “losers” (from an anonymously-sourced hit piece refuted by over 20 people who were actually there, including my daughter)…
* That Trump derided soldiers in Arlington Cemetery, saying, “’What’s in it for them?’ Because of course, he only thinks about what’s in it for him.” (Ripped wildly out of context; Trump was praising them for their selflessness and sacrifice.)
* That Trump “called Mexicans rapists and criminals” (he was specifically referring to MS-13 gang members, who are rapists and criminals.)
* That Trump refuses to denounce white supremacists (he’s done it over 20 times; here’s a video of 17 of them).
* That Trump said there were “fine people” among the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville (he said there were fine people on both sides of the debate about removing Confederate monuments but that the neo-Nazis should be “condemned totally.”) This has been debunked repeatedly, even by liberal outlets; and the only excuse for repeating it now is that you’re either an idiot, a cynical liar or senile. I don’t believe Biden and Harris are idiots or that Sen. Harris is senile.
It was like a greatest hits list of debunked anti-Trumper stories. Judging from those statements, Harris and Biden believe everything they read on Alyssa Milano’s Twitter feed, which isn’t comforting when you think of them having access to the nuclear button.
A real debate moderator would’ve thrown a red flag on statements that are not spin or opinion but verified lies and fake news. I’m thinking of forwarding this list to the next moderators so they have no excuse for not doing their jobs when they inevitably come up again.
Speaking of bald-faced lies, Harris tried to dodge the Court-packing question by claiming that Abraham Lincoln declined to nominate a Justice until after the election. She said, “Honest Abe said, ‘It’s not the right thing to do. The American people deserve to make the decision about who will be the next President of the United States and then that person can select who will serve for a lifetime on the highest court of our land.'”
That’s patently false. That Court opening occurred in October, 1864, while the Senate was out of session, and back then, it didn’t reconvene until after the election, on December 5. Lincoln nominated Salmon Chase and he was confirmed, all on day one of the next Senate term.
I don’t think anyone will be nicknaming her “Honest Kamala” anytime soon.
Finally, here are the questions I would have asked Sen. Harris: You recently traveled to Wisconsin to sit by the bedside of a man accused of sexual assault who was shot while resisting arrest and tell him you were proud of him. You’ve previously said that women who make rape accusations should be believed (you even said it of Biden’s accuser before becoming his running mate), so should we not believe his accuser? And secondly, when two police officers in your home state of California were shot at point-blank range by a cop-hating criminal, did you fly to their bedsides to tell them you were proud of them?