September 29th 2020
Well, that was…something.
I won’t call it a debate. For the most part it consisted of Trump braying lies at the top of his lungs, trying to prevent Joe Biden from making a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. (Definition courtesy of all the Bruces and Sheilas at the University of Wallamazoo). He was trying, with limited luck, to shout down Biden, and doing somewhat better at bullying the moderator, Chris Wallace, who spent a fair bit of time fluttering and repeating, “Mister President, Mister President.” Give Wallace credit though: in his position, I wouldn’t have reached the hour mark in the debate without shouting, “Hey, asshole! Shut your bloody gob!”
Well, Wallace is considered the voice of restraint and reason at Fox News. Granted, that’s a pretty low bar, and they’ll probably fire him before the end of the year as a part of their self-lobotomizing drive, but he did manage to stand up to Trump a few times.
Biden only blew his cool once, referring to Trump as “that clown” and an expression instantly flickered across his face, knowing he had said something that by his standards, was intemperate. Never mind that he was right. It wasn’t something a former Senator would say about an opponent. He did call Trump a liar several times, but even amongst Trump’s dwindling band of supporters there would be considerable reluctance to die on the hill of Donald’s veracity. Trumpkins may be willing to die stupid, but most of them don’t want to hear a bunch of snorts and giggles from those around them as the light fades away.
I had one of those “debate bingo” cards, laden with the various lies, strawmen, and fear-mongering that makes up an average Trump speech. I ticked off 15 of the 24 spots, an amazing display of…well, no. I’m not going to say Trump was showing restraint. My guess is the Adderall caused him to forget half his talking points. So we weren’t treated to slogans like “Our response was perfect” “Lowest fatality rate in the world” or “Nobody tougher on Russia.” He didn’t quite dare call Biden “Sleepy Joe” with Joe standing a careful six feet away, and obviously not in the least bit sleepy.
The loud idiocy partially concealed the horror that is Trump. Asked to condemn white nationalism, he couldn’t do it. Indeed, he said that on election day, Proud Boys should stand down “but stand by.” Street Nazis, Assemble!
At one point, responding to Biden’s mention of Trump thinking of soldiers as loser and suckers, Trump claimed Biden called the soldiers “stupid bastards.” Against all odds, there was actually a grain of truth there; according to the Guardian, “This is true – but it was a joke. During a 2016 speech in Abu Dhabi, Biden addressed troops and told them: “Notwithstanding what you may hear about me, I have incredibly good judgment. One, I married Jill. And two, I appointed Johnson to the Academy, I just want you to know that.”
He was referring to Lt Karen Johnson, of Wilmington, Delaware. After a pause, Biden said: “Clap for that, you stupid bastards.”
The former vice-president also praised the troops, saying that Americans “appreciate, but they don’t fully understand the incredible sacrifices you make for our country”, Biden added. He thanked the soldiers and their families.”
I won’t bother with Trump’s lies, which were legion and mostly obvious. You know he’s a liar, I know he’s a liar, we all know he’s a liar. ‘Nuff said. At one point though, he said that whenever you saw Biden, he was wearing a mask, while pointing to Biden, who of course was not wearing a mask. Adderall or dementia? You be the judge.
I only caught Biden on one misstatement, when he said Trump stood to be the first president to have a net loss of jobs at the end of a term. He’s actually the third, behind Hoover but slightly ahead of George W. Bush.
People were watching the debate. In the final 60 minutes, the Biden campaign got an extraordinary $3.8 million in donations, by a considerable margin the biggest hour fund-raising in presidential campaign history.
The debate was a complete shitshow, and while Wallace wasn’t a great moderator, most of the blame rests with Trump, who showed beyond any reasonable doubt what a vile, filthy, prevaricating piece of shit he really is. Anyone still supporting him at this point needs to look in the mirror and ask themselves what sort of person they have become.
Two more debates to go. Sigh. Don’t expect statesmanship from Trump. On the other hand, he’s sinking himself quite well, so it isn’t a complete waste.