The 2020 ‘President-in-Waiting’ Debate That Wasn’t
Mercifully, the only 2020 debate featuring the incumbent vice-president and a “president-in-waiting” is over.
Again, a Republican was forced to debate a Democrat and the moderator, but, Vice President Mike Pence possesses unflappable discipline and a deceptively-understated manner that enabled him to handle loaded/biased/silly questions and mendacity with grace – and effect.
Because even Joe Biden’s staunchest supporters doubt his ability to complete a first term, California Senator Kamala Harris was auditioning for the presidency.
(As an aside: Early on, the moderator, liberal USA Today columnist Susan Page who will soon release a hagiography on Nancy Pelosi, familiarly addressed the Democrat as “Kamala.” One wonders: Who appoints clearly-biased moderators? Why do Republicans accept them? Are moderators even necessary? Can’t the candidates question each other?)
Pre-debate, liberal media billed the event as “consequential,” but, afterwards, tacitly admitted that Harris failed miserably. The “tells” were wide-spread whining about “mansplaining,” even though the participants logged nearly-identical speaking times, general agreement that vice-presidential debates “don’t matter,” and “Look! A fly!”
Kamala Harris has never performed very well in public. An early media presidential favorite, Harris scored lots of friendly pre-primary press and camera time, but performed so poorly that she withdrew before her party’s first primary event. When she withdrew, Harris was polling at three points – among Democrats – and faced a certain, embarrassing home-state primary loss.
Kamala Harris prepared a short inventory of canned, rehearsed, often-tangential talking points for the debate, primarily on COVID and about President Donald Trump, most of which were at least exaggerated, usually misleading and/or provably false.
Conversely, the vice-president challenged Harris in detail over matters of national importance.
When caught out, Harris repeated her rehearsed talking points, only louder. Lacking plausible responses to Pence’s calmly-articulated answers and rejoinders, Harris resorted to adolescent mugging, eye-rolls and smirks.
When Pence pressed Harris on Democrats’ scheme to pack the Supreme Court, a question of concern to everyone, including, somewhat surprisingly, America’s biased media, Harris deflected by claiming that President Abraham Lincoln declined to nominate a Supreme Court Justice before the 1864 election. What a history-illiterate Harris apparently didn’t know was that the Senate was out of session when the vacancy occurred, but the Senate received and confirmed Lincoln’s nominee without delay on the day the Senate returned.
Attentive voters will take Harris’ and Joe Biden’s pre-Election Day refusal to answer direct questions about court-packing as a “Yes, we intend to destroy one of our constitutional system’s foundational institutions.” Packing the Court with left-liberal ideologues is part of the Democrats’ scheme to impose one-party rule.
On COVID, Harris made irreconcilable claims that the president’s shutdowns started too late and ended too soon, while blaming him for the economic fallout shutdowns caused.
In fact, President Trump cut air travel from China on January 29. Joe Biden immediately criticized the move, held an unrestricted public event In March, and didn’t admit that travel shutdowns were necessary until April.
On a COVID vaccine, Harris groused, petulantly: “If Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it.”
Pence: “The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine if [one] emerges during the Trump Administration…is unconscionable. …[S]top playing politics with people’s lives.” [Spoiler alert: Harris/Biden won’t stop.]
Harris, concerning the 2017 Trump tax cuts: “On day one, Joe Biden will repeal that tax bill.” And, she said, “Joe Biden will not raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year.” Every income tax-paying American knows those statements cannot be simultaneously true.
Pence replied, factually: “She just told you, on day one, Joe Biden’s going to raise your taxes.”
Harris amusingly insisted that Joe Biden “will not end fracking” even though he’s repeatedly said he would. So has Harris.
Referring viewers to “Joe Biden’s website” for confirmation, Pence called out Harris/Biden on fracking, and also detailed their Green New Deal policy’s dangers to conventional energy and the economy.
Harris was completely incoherent on America’s relationship with China: “Trump lost a trade war with China.”
Pence: “Trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it. Joe Biden’s been a cheerleader for Communist China [for] decades.”
Finally, Mr. Pence pointed out, accurately, that Harris’ Senate voting record is “more liberal than Bernie Sanders’.”
In short, a poorly-prepared, nonpresidential Senator Kamala Harris was comprehensively overmatched. Vice President Mike Pence politely dominated the debate on style and substance.
It wasn’t close.