Well, that was about 90 minutes of crap. I have watched a lot of presidential debates. I’ve seen more then I’ve been alive for because I’m a political nerd who likes to go back and watch old news videos. A few weeks ago, I spent two days watching the entire 1980 Republican convention, the debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and all eight hours of election night coverage from NBC News. Tonight’s debate is the absolute worst debate that I’ve ever seen so far. I eventually lost count, but I think I had somewhere close to 150 tweets during this debate. You can follow me, by the way, @WisdomWheels83. But this thing was a total disaster all the way around. I could bore you with my reaction to every point that I made. I have tried to do that in past years, and I ended up with something so long that I can’t imagine anybody read it. I’m not sure I would go back and read some of those, and I wrote them. Instead, I will break this down into three parts: my thoughts on President Trump, Joe Biden, and Chris Wallace.
On the positive side for the president tonight, he was more prepared for this debate than I thought he would be. There had been talking beforehand about how he was getting handed index cards to go over between other things he was doing. Plus, like him or not, President Trump is not a policy wonk. You’re never going to see him get down into the specific details of a policy. We are not dealing with Paul Ryan or Senator Ted Cruz here. That’s not why we elected him. President Trump was sent to Washington DC to shake things up like a bull in a china closet, although I wouldn’t stay in a china closet too long. You might get COVID-19 faster, or something worse they may be working on sending around the world next. The point is I don’t expect a lot from him when it comes to detailed discussions on public policy. However, there were a few moments tonight where he did surprisingly good with that. I wish he would have stayed like that for the entire debate because he acted like a jerk the rest of the time. I lost count of how many times he interrupted Joe Biden. He could have been trying to throw Joe Biden off his game and get him frustrated in an attempt to show Joe Biden’s mental deterioration. But whatever the motive, it didn’t work.
Joe Biden outperformed expectations tonight. But that is easy to do when people, myself included, have set the bar so low that all he had to do was show up with a pulse and not say, “I’m Joe Biden and I — fire dog pretzel cookie zoom….feathers. Wait, where was I?” And, again, much to my surprise, he was able to clear that shallow bar. I don’t know if they pumped him full of something right before the debate to increase his cognitive ability or what happened. But, if I had not seen anything but tonight’s shouting match, I would not come away from it thinking that Joe Biden was mentally incapable of doing the job. However, he also came off looking like a petulant, overgrown child. He didn’t get a lot of tough questions. The ones he did get, he failed to answer. Either that, or he did a poor job answering. If the central focus of the expectations for Joe Biden had not been whether he was going to have to be led out by the hand and Jill would have to walk out every few minutes to wipe the drool off of his chin, I don’t think there would be much positive to say about Biden’s performance. However, the Trump campaign and supporters like myself set the expectations for Joe Biden so low that he could pass the test even in his impaired, most likely propped up, mental state.
Chris Wallace should go ahead and get a job at CNN or MSNBC already. I have not been impressed with him for a long time. Anytime I have seen him interview the president or a conservative on Fox News Sunday in the recent past, he is always asking questions that validate progressive premises. Tonight was no different. Biden was not pressed hard on a lot of things while Trump was. Trump was asked to repudiate white supremacists, which he has done a gazillion times in the past already, for example. And Wallace’s absolute worst moment of the debate was when he told President Trump that he was doing most of the interrupting even though there was plenty of that going on both ways. However, Chris Wallace gives off the impression that the chaos of tonight’s debate was mostly the president’s fault. He essentially gave Joe Biden a pass more often than not. If Chris Wallace was trying to earn his progressive reporter merit badge tonight, he can rest easy because he passed the test with flying colors.
Overall, I don’t think there was a winner in tonight’s debate, not Joe Biden, not President Trump, and not Chris Wallace. It sounded like a couple of preschoolers in adult bodies deciding who will win an argument by talking the loudest over the other. Then you find out that the supposed peacemaker is a parent of one of the preschoolers trying to appear neutral because it looks acceptable to the spectators, but he’s really trying to help his kid win. There was no winner tonight, but there was one group of losers: Us.