The one and only vice presidential debate was held on Wednesday, October 7 between Vice President Mike Pence and Dem candidate Kamala Harris. Historically, vice presidential debates have been largely inconsequential. People have voted based upon the presidential candidates, not the VPs Normally, the notoriety of the VP candidates is transitory, and it fades from memory soon after the election, especially if they lose.
For example, how many of the last five LOSING VP candidates can you name? See answers below. (Naming the winners would have probably been too easy for most of you, so I wanted to challenge you. Full disclosure: I didn’t remember them all either, which proves my point.)
That said, in my opinion this year will be an exception. If Joe Biden were to win the election he would be 79 on Inauguration Day, which would be nine years older than the next oldest president, which, ironically, is Donald Trump. The median age of US Presidents on ID is 55. It is a young man’s job. Because of Biden’s age and his perceived compromised acuity and cognition among many voters there is doubt among them that he will be able to complete the first term should he win. Therefore, the qualifications and policies of Kamala Harris are taking on greater significance than normally would be the case.
To no great surprise, my research has indicated that, in general, Trump supporters thought Pence had won, and Biden supporters thought Harris had won. To be sure, there were some exceptions, but we all have our personal biases, so that is normal. A post-debate ABC poll reported an even split. Therefore, I am not sure how may minds were changed either way.
Below please find my analysis of the debate. As those of you who have been reading my blogs could guess, I think Pence won handily. I will demonstrate why below.
- The moderator, Susan Page, failed to ask certain questions that needed to be answered with respect to (a) rioting in the cities, (b) Harris’ support for the fund to bail out those jailed for rioting, (c) defunding the police, (d) immigration, (e) Biden’s record of sexual harassment, (f) his ties to Robert Byrd and various segregationist senators, and, perhaps most significantly, (g) his list of possible nominees for SC vacancies. I realize time was limited, but these are important topics that, coincidentally, reflect poorly on Biden-Harris. Consequently, some have questioned her objectivity.
- As always, both candidates wanted to defend their respective running mates against attacks by the other side and avoid committing memorable gaffes like the ones I mentioned in my previous blog.
- Harris’ primary goal was to beat up on President Trump’s record, particularly with respect to issues on which he was perceived to be vulnerable, such as his handling of the pandemic, the post-COVID economy, and that old standby, racism.
- Her secondary goal was to avoid having to answer questions on certain topics, such as the Green New Deal, taxes, fracking and “packing” the Supreme Court. These are examples of issues she and Biden have either refused to discuss of have flip-flopped their position depending on their audience. They are forced to do this because they have to portray themselves as moderate to the general populace while, at the same time, avoid offending the radical left Sanders supporters whose support they need to win. They have been aided and abetted in this “shell” game by a biased media, which refuses to ask them tough questions.
- Harris was unwilling or unable to provide answers on (1) “packing” the Supreme Court, (2) reasons for the Dems stalling the latest COVID relief bill, and (3) accepting the results of the election. Regarding “packing “the Court it is obvious that Biden’s and Harris’ refusal to deny it is tantamount to an admission that they will seek to do so. Pelosi and Schumer had pointed out that “everything is on the table.” We should take them at their word. Regarding the COVID relief bill Pelosi has admitted she wants to “bail out” states like CA , IL and NY that have been overly profligate in their spending. Their financial plight has nothing to do with expenses related to COVID. Regarding accepting the election results, in reality, both Parties want to keep their options open, because, clearly, there is a substantial risk of election irregularities, if not outright fraud. Criticizing Trump for this and not Biden is grossly misleading. Also, Hillary Clinton and other prominent Dems have continually advised Biden to “never concede” the election results.
- Pence’s goals were to expose Harris’ inexperience on national and international issues and get her to answer questions on the above topics.
- Pence exposed Harris on the following: (a) Biden’s plan for dealing with the CV was so similar to what Trump has done and plans to do that he said it “resembles plagiarism, a concept with which [Biden] is familiar;” (b) the debunking of the Russia alleged collusion investigation, and best of all (c) Harris’ criticism of the developing vaccinations to the point that many Americans may mistrust it and be reluctant to take it. He said that was unconscionable and could cost many Americans their lives. Question to ponder: If Biden were to win and a vaccination were to become available would the Dems promote it and take it or continue to denigrate it?
- Harris told several boldfaced lies. Some of the more egregious ones that I recall were the following:
a. She claimed Biden’s plan to eliminate the so-called “Trump Tax Cuts” would only raise taxes for Americans earning over $400,000. Pence pointed out that Biden’s plan would raise taxes on all working and middle class Americans by $2,000 or more as the “Trump Tax Cuts” had reduced other taxes besides income taxes.
b. She denied that Biden would eliminate fracking. The reality is he has flip-flopped on that issue depending upon his audience at the time, but the radical left wing of the Dem Party wants it eliminated, and the Dems’ own website calls for it to be eliminated.
c. She would not answer any questions about packing the SC, statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, or ending the Senate filibuster rule. Pence correctly asserted that a refusal to answer was, in essence, an admission that they intend to push through all those changes once they obtain the power to do so. Each of these actions would result in solidifying Dem control of the Senate and/or the SC, and hence the entire government, perhaps, for a long time.
d. She denied support for the Green New Deal, whereas their own website expresses support for it. If you’re not familiar with the GND I urge you to read my previous blogs on it and see for yourself how it would fundamentally change our way of life as well as bankrupt the country.
e. She cited Trump’s comments after the Charlottesville riots as evidence he is a racist and a white supremist. In point of fact, she took his comments out of context. Trump has condemned White Supremacy, the KKK and David Duke many times. I have seen the tapes. Biden is the one who has made racist comments in the past.
f. She said that Abe Lincoln had not nominated anyone to the SC prior to the 1864 election. She failed to point out that the Senate was not in session, and that as soon as it returned he did so.
As I said above, I believe most of those who watched the debate will feel that their person won. That’s only normal. The post-debate ABC poll bears this out. The result of the poll was virtually an even split. In my opinion, Pence was the clear winner, primarily for the reasons cited above.
As a general analysis I would add that Harris did not seem to be prepared for the intensity of the moment. She did not have a good answer for various questions. She either dodged them or lied. Perhaps, that was because neither she nor Biden has been subjected to and toughened by the close media scrutiny and criticism that Trump and Pence have. Pence had the best sound bite when on two occasions he admonished Harris for twisting the facts saying “you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” Like Biden, Harris flip-flopped on several issues.
One final point. The classic question before every election is “are you better off today than you were four years ago?” According to a recent Gallup Poll 56% of Americans say “yes,” and only 32% say “no.” Normally, that would augur well for the incumbent. But, this has been a crazy year.
The poll results do make some sense to me. They appear to confirm what many of us think, namely that a majority of voters like Mr. Trump’s accomplishments but not the man, personally. How those conflicting views will play out in the election is anybody’s guess.
Quiz answers: 2000 – Joe Lieberman; 2004 – John Edwards; 2008 – Sarah Palin; 2012 – Paul Ryan; 2016 – Tim Keane.