The VP debate proved, again, that Democrats don’t have a governing agenda, just anger
If President Donald Trump wrote a book called “The Art of the Deal,” then Democrats could just as easily and expertly pen a self-help tome called “The Art of the No-Deal.”
This thought occurred to me as I watched the 2020 vice presidential debate on Wednesday night. As the program wore on and Vice President Mike Pence was repeatedly called (by Democrat VP nominee Kamala Harris and moderator Susan Page of the USA Today) to explain and defend policies that really aren’t all the complicated, it became clear that Harris -- and Joe Biden himself -- aren’t the least bit interested in taking a hands-off approach to governing and liberty. No, they want to take over everything and spin the results as though their colossal federal bureaucracy could possibly improve people’s lives.
Harris demonstrated that Democrats don’t want to “deal” on anything. Plain and simple, liberals seek to control industries due to “climate change”, outlaw non-politically acceptable thought, send checks to people, foster increased dependency on government, rain goodies on their ill-informed voters, and, most importantly, keep Americans hooked on the notion that life will end unless individuals and businesses surrender every last bit of freedom to the central authority to keep them safe, healthy and upright. And obedient.
This pretty much sums up Kamala Harris. She’s horrible. And not nice, either. She’s Hillary Clinton with darker skin tone. A debate was a good way to understand it.
This forum demonstrated why Democrat primary voters weren’t about to anoint Harris as their standard-bearer, because she’s not personally appealing and enviable. Would you want your daughter to be like her? She fumbled for answers from the get-go, failing miserably to explain why it was Trump who allowed the COVID-19 pandemic to get out of control.
“He said it (the pandemic) was a hoax,” Harris pontificated. “They knew on January 28th, blah, blah, blah.” Pence then replied that to criticize the response was to lessen the contributions of people like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, along with the thousands of professionals from across the country who diligently fought the virus. The vice president also pointed out that billions in equipment were distributed. And the paycheck protection program saved millions of jobs.
That exchange alone revealed the bankruptcy of the Democrats’ platform -- or lack thereof. Pence delivered one of the best zingers of the evening: “When I see their plan, it looks a little like plagiarism, which Joe Biden knows all about.”
Whenever Harris looked like she was making headway with her standard “Trump is the embodiment of evil” talking points, Pence was ready with a retort.
Pence did sidestep a couple of Jones’s questions and did run long on several of his answers, but his slow and deliberate manner of speaking was very effective overall. Pence was likable and knowledgeable and in command. Harris rotated between smirks and arrogance and what appeared to be uncontrolled grinning. She’s phony. I think Americans saw it last night.
As would be expected in this age of political disunion -- roughly divided between those who support Pence, Trump and the administration versus the reactionaries who want everything done and dictated for them -- the candidates didn’t agree on much. It was optimism (the Trump/Pence side) versus pessimism and doom (the Biden/Harris ticket) on display in Salt Lake City.
Healthcare? What healthcare?
It's often been said that COVID-19 (caused by the Chinese Communist Party (or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus) derailed the Trump/Pence effort. This is true in the abstract, but what really changed 2020’s voting calculus was a switch from what was a booming economy to a concentration on healthcare and wellbeing, an issue Democrats have demagogued since the beginning of time. Well, maybe not that long, but at least since the 60’s Great Society, which introduced the ever-powerful welfare state into Americans’ consciousness.
To talk about the economy, you actually need hard data and numbers -- the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, tax collections, government spending, consumer spending, consumer confidence, etc. To talk about healthcare, you have statistics but also an awful lot of “People need this and that and otherwise they’ll suffer.” Add the fact that most everyone has had, at one time or another, a bad experience with private health insurance companies and you’ve got people nodding along to the notion that government will pay for everything. And it will be free!
And Democrats treat abortion as though it’s healthcare. Kamala Harris insists on it. She ducked a question on whether Biden and herself supports federal funding for it. What a collection of liars!
Tax cuts and loosening economic regulation, as Pence touted effectively, are terrific concepts to people who understand how businesses and markets work. To the dull-brained who either didn’t bother learning the basics of payrolls and accounting, or even worse, never had to, it’s a form of charity to believe that everyone “deserves” healthcare and it constitutes a “fundamental right.” Oh yeah? Where in the Constitution does it say doctor visits are sacred and unalienable?
Joe Biden and Harris hammer the healthcare issue because one, it’s got everyone’s attention right now; two, because Mike Pence led the administration’s efforts to combat the Chinese plague and three, the economy is hurting because of the virus and the lockdowns. Of course, red states are doing better economically than blue states, but what does that matter to the gimme-gimme crowd?
Pence took the chance to highlight the failure of Obamacare and Harris repeated the lie that 20 million people would lose their coverage if the law is repealed. The discussion on healthcare was a wash, as it always tends to be. Democrats promise the moon and don’t care whether the nation can afford it or not.
I would’ve liked to have seen a question on whether Harris and Biden are in favor of insuring illegal aliens. But immigration was only lightly addressed. Harris talked a little about it during one of her “Trump is mean” diatribes, saying Trump called “Mexicans” rapists and murderers. That’s not exactly in context, is it Kamala?
Pence said “You’re entitled to your opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts” at least a couple times. The California kook couldn’t lie her way through this one.
The two Kamalas showed up simultaneously in Salt Lake City
You almost had to feel sorry for Kamala Harris. Going into the evening, she had to play two divergent roles and pull them off convincingly enough so that people could see her stepping into Joe Biden’s shoes as President of the United States. The only problem is, Biden probably can’t remember where he put his shoes… and Harris’s five-foot-two frame doesn’t compare in a size sense to the man at the top.
With Biden’s age steadily heading towards 78 (he’ll turn that number next month), everyone in America was watching intently to see whether Harris could function as president -- literally at a moment’s notice. To make her seem more approachable and likable, the Democrat powers-that-be likely demanded that she smile a lot more and learn to be empathetic to the white suburban woman who cares more about getting along than she does about the differences in policy platforms between the parties.
Therefore, Harris had to come across as the fist-thrusting, angry Black Lives Matter supporter while also presenting herself as a person Americans might want to see on the nightly news for four years. You know, she had to pull off the trifecta, kind of like Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012. She can hobnob with Willie Brown and the Louis Farrakhans of the world, but she needs to do it quietly so as to not offend too many undecided voters who’d be turned off by a leftist radical.
Harris’s primary campaign focused on an entirely different personality. Everyone knows, to gain attention and the national spotlight, “Prosecutor” Kamala interrogated Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh two years ago during his confirmation hearings. She beseeched the distinguished judge to provide her yes or no answers, as though Kavanaugh was on the witness stand enduring leading questions from the government’s lawyer.
Further, Harris carried that tough gal persona into the Democrat primary debates. She clearly didn’t want to be known as the airy, smiley gal from San Francisco Bay that she is now. Kamala wanted respect, darn it, and she wasn’t about to let Biden get away with his racist friendships or permit other candidates to skate by with being less antagonistic than she was towards the hated Donald Trump.
Towards the end of the debate, the rabid mean-girl prosecutor showed up. Harris said “I will not be lectured by the vice president.” Can you imagine Trump saying such a thing? Or even Biden? It sounds petty and defensive, not as a leader would act.
Both Kamalas attended the debate, and neither one was likable. Pence was clearly the better candidate.
Mike Pence won the debate on substance, style, and just about every other measure
There have been a lot of people drawing parallels between 2016 and 2020 lately. What were the polls like at this juncture back then? How popular is Donald Trump? Have Americans finally gotten sick of his schtick and decided it was time for a change, even if the move is towards a candidate like Joe Biden (and his gaffes, tall tales, plagiarism, tangible loss of memory, obvious corruption, angry dress-downs of voters, charter membership in the Washington swamp, etc.)?
One comparison that I haven’t seen much concerns Pence and the vice presidential debate. Four years ago, critics and pundits gleefully claimed that the awful Hillary Clinton had won the first presidential forum, largely because she’d introduced former beauty queen Alicia Machado into the national conversation. Hillary alleged that Machado was “fat shamed” by Trump and was indicative of the heinous way the candidate treated women. Stupid, no? But this is the Democrats and the media we’re talking about.
Mike Pence helped steer the conversation back towards the issues during his one-on-one clash with Hillary’s VP nominee, Virginia Democrat Senator Tim Kaine. Kaine wasn’t exactly a household name prior to being chosen by the would-be first female president, and perhaps he felt he needed to distinguish himself outside of being another liberal Democrat from the DC swamp. In contrast, Pence was the governor of Indiana and typified “midwestern nice.”
Kaine constantly interrupted Pence throughout the evening, making the Republican seem more in-control and better capable of handling the complexities of executive leadership. Even if the two names at the top of the ticket were showier and more controversial, Pence was a calming influence. He repeated the performance on Wednesday night.
The tendency in politics is to always underestimate Pence’s knack for debate. Part of it is attributable to his understated demeanor and part of it is due to his position as second in command to a man like Donald Trump.
Simply put, Pence makes Trump look better. He’s as polite and unflappable as Trump is aggressive and emotional. Harris, on the other hand, doesn’t make Biden look better. Biden supposedly represents deal-making and bipartisan cooperation (he really doesn’t, but that’s the media’s narrative), but Harris is renowned solely for her incessant bashing of Republicans. Who would work with her on any issue? She’s the most liberal Democrat in the senate (which was mentioned by Pence), and that’s saying a lot.
If Harris ever became president, there would be no “deals”. No negotiations, no joint efforts. She would probably sign an executive order banning Republicans from speaking to her. It would be ugly. “Nice” Kamala would morph into “Answer my question yes or no” smirking Harris.
In a way, Pence got the 2016 campaign back on track. Here’s hoping he repeated the feat again on Wednesday night. And hopefully, Trump will take a more Pence-like approach in the next presidential debate next week. Let him (doddering Joe Biden) talk, Mr. President!
If ever there was a VP debate that could make a difference, it’s this one
The unsolved mystery from Wednesday night is, will this change the trajectory of the 2020 presidential race? Was Harris effective in laying the COVID-19 pandemic at Pence’s feet? Did she come across as likable enough to motivate Americans to accept her as the next-in-line to Joe Biden? Were people listening to the candidates’ policy differences, or did they just see it as a white guy and an African American woman speaking at each other from a hundred miles away (It kind of felt like it, didn’t it?) and through plexiglass virus shields?
Why not fashion a Get Smart-like “Cone of Silence”?
Like in 2016, Mike Pence succeeded in steering the conversation back towards effective governance. The man is unflappable and shows Americans that there’s a capable hand in the vice president’s chair should the unthinkable happen to the president. Kamala Harris, on the other hand, is a phony empty pantsuit who couldn’t carry a political tune in a bucket. Advantage Pence.
Vice President debate
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