I'd rather see a second VP debate
October 14, 2020
After hearing the Oct. 6 vice presidential candidates debate by Queensbury rules, I had to ask if I were the only one left wondering if vice presidential candidates should have been leading their tickets, especially after the barroom behavior of the ticket headers the week before.
The best part of the vice presidential debate wasn’t the fly on Vice President Mike Pence’s head, it was the debate — the usual kind between candidates, complete with talking points, verbal jabs at each other and the tops of their tickets, deflections and dodges.
American politics as usual. And with some courtesy thrown in.
The vice president showed himself to be a decent Midwestern-type guy who nonetheless takes it and dishes it out effectively without losing that touch of niceness, even as he frequently bowled over his allotted cut-off times.
Pamela Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden’s choice to be his vice president, should he win the presidency, came off as a cheerful deadly weapon, combative and smiling, even as she asserted firmly to her opponent that she had the floor a few times.
In the Sept. 29 presidential debates between the main contenders, in theory the heavyweights, most viewers took away two impressions: Trump’s loud, incessant interruptions with insults and discredited allegations, and Biden’s use of phrases like “Will you shut up, man?” “You’re the worst president we’ve ever had,” and “this clown,” when referring to Trump.
Undecided voters were left wondering if there was competence at the top of either ticket.
Getting back to the real debate on Oct. 6, Pence’s worst moment to me, anyway: Trying to deflect Harris’ assertion that she would listen to doctors about a vaccine but not the president.
“That fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think is unconscionable,” Pence said. She attacked a reality-denying president, not a vaccine.
Harris’ weakest point: evading a question on whether Democrats would try to increase the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices to dilute a strengthening of the court’s conservative majority.
Pence’s high point: Reminding Harris of her flip-flops on support on the Green New Deal and opposition to fracking in the face of Biden’s more moderate approaches to traditional vs. renewable energy development and controversial fossil-fuel drilling techniques.
Harris’ high point: Her critique of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused 210,000 deaths, sickened 7 million people, and has resulted in 30 million workers filing for unemployment.
“They knew, and they covered it up,” she said of Trump’s early dismissal of the pandemic, later adding “And now, they still don’t have a plan.”
A second presidential debate? I’d rather see the vice presidential candidates go at it again than witness another barroom clash between the main contenders.
It may not happen, anyway. Trump’s bout with COVID-19 may not let him, and he will not agree to rules that could curb his disregard for time limits. Biden, in my opinion, should refuse to debate without that limitation.
Steve Hansen writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: