Pence wins debate … mostly
Vice President Pence could have had an uncompromised win in his debate with his Democrat opponent Senator Kamala Harris if not for his propensity of speaking well beyond his allotted time. Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief for U.S.A. Today, had to blow the proverbial whistle by reputedly saying “Thank you, Mr. Vice President.” That is different than interrupting your opponent, which Pence and Harris did modestly in equal measure.
However … Pence taking more time than allotted was more impression than reality. By the clock, they both used about the same amount of talking time. It was just that Page did not slap down Harris for her violations of the rules. At one point, Harris simply said I want to say more – and Page let her run on.
Naturally, the left-wing media pounced on the impress as opposed to the reality. Post-debate pundits on the left ignored virtually all the points Pence made – reporting style over substance. Pence won most of those rounds.
The fact that it has no real meaning did not stop all the networks from noticing the fly that took up residence on Pence’s white hair. Perhaps it was attracted by some tonic or styling gel. It will likely get Pence more publicity and notoriety on social media platforms than anything that was said during the two-hour verbal contest. You know … was the Biden campaign planting a bug on the Vice President? There are endless of such quips, but I shall leave it at that.
As was the case with FOX News’ Chris Wallace in the first debate, I thought the moderator-generated questions that were based more on dubious narratives and political gotcha journalism than real issues. I further dislike the fact that there was what lawyers would call leading questions designed to elicit a desired response — softballs for Harris. That is why I hate to have reporters serve as moderators and debate inquisitors.
Page’s introductions to the questions seemed to be spun in favor of Harris. Moderators should ask questions and not introduce them with prejudicial introductions. In court, such questions are not allowed, but in the court-of-public opinion, anything goes – especially the facts.
I give Pence the win because he was able to provide a lot of information that is generally censored in the mainstream media in favor of incessant anti-Trump narratives. He was able to push back on much of the Covid-19 criticism by explaining the actions the Trump administration had taken.
Pence was best in getting out the administrations message on the economy. Pence made the point that Biden has promised no new taxes on the middle class at the same time he said he would reverse the Trump tax cut – which is a tax increase on the middle class.
Pence was effective in highlighting a number of flip-flops by Harris and Biden on the Green New Deal and fracking. And he put Harris on the defensive in terms of her record as Attorney General of California. Pence noted that neither she nor Biden had brought about reform of the disastrous crime bill Biden sponsored during his days as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee – a crime bill Harris used to prosecute a lot of young black males.
Pence could have had a bit more fire in the belly without the excessive pugnacity of Trump in the earlier debate. But Pence is a very laid-back guy.
As could be expected, the personalities on CNN and MSNBC were drawn from the most strident left-wing Trump haters, so they gave nothing but praise to Harris. She was brilliant. Pence was dull. That was their spin.
There were no knockout punches, but I am inclined to believe that those who actually watched the debate would give the match to Pence – excluding the Democrat base, of course.
As has been the case of vice-presidential debates in the past, the impact of this will last for one news cycle. It will not change much in terms of the election. With Biden holding a significant lead in the polls, a non-event is not good for the Trump campaign. They need to reverse the trend lines – and have very little time to do so.
So, there ‘tis.