Saturday, October 10, 2020

VP Debate: Pence and Harris

Usually the only point of a VP debate is for the potential or actual Vice-President to show that he (or she this year) can tie his shoes, walk unassisted, and won't immediately collapse into a puddle of goo if something goes wrong and he becomes President. If someone can pass that low bar then they have pretty much fulfilled their patron's expectations. This year is different because Trump and Biden are each so old that there is a real possibility that neither will be around four years from now. I write possibility. Some might say hope.

I have a dislike for both Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.  I think they are both quintessential politicians without much in the way of backbones. Harris' nasal speaking tone and laugh are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Pence gives every indication of being a soulless yes man.  

Harris has a bad record as both prosecutor and district attorney. It is a sign of how desperate the Democrats are to beat Trump that while significant elements of the Democratic political and racial base are expressing disdain for "law and order" as it is currently unfairly applied to Black men and boys, the 2020 Democratic nominee for Vice-President and likely next Vice-President is an empty suit who joked about locking people up for marijuana violations, refused to prosecute dangerous cops, referred to herself as California's "top-cop", and fought to keep prisoners locked up so that they could serve as cheap labor to fight California fires. As others have pointed out Harris was no progressive prosecutor.

But I digress.

Both candidates played to what they considered to be their strengths and went after their opponent's record and that of his (her) running mate. Harris had a somewhat easier time of this simply because Trump's record is so bad. We're in the middle of a pandemic and have the developed world's worst response. Based on the removal of the individual mandate the Trump Administration is currently trying to have the PPACA (ObamaCare) thrown out in court. Unemployment is high. Trump can't stop playing footsie with white nationalists/supremacists. Pence couldn't really defend any of this. And Harris zinged him on all of it. 

But Pence is a good debater and counterpuncher, two things Harris is not. Pence furrowed his brow, cocked his head in a "concerned" manner and proceeded to lie with great sincerity about how great things were and how bad they would be under a Biden administration. Pence went on to raise fear about Harris' and Biden's adoption of the Green New Deal, Harris' and Biden's plans for the Supreme Court, and Harris' prosecutorial record. On the last Pence couldn't and didn't say too much because he is of course a man of the right and isn't all that bothered by prosecutorial abuses. It wasn't Tulsi Gabbard 2.0. In my opinion neither party gives a damn about Black men. One has a policy of benign neglect while the other prefers open hostility.

All in all they each laid hands on each other but if I HAD to pick one I'd say Pence won just barely on points. But actually Pence lost. Pence was defending such malevolence and incompetence that unlike in past VP debates I'd say he needed to move the needle drastically. Pence needed to bring over undecided voters or convert marginal Democratic voters who didn't like Harris. And I see no way in hell that Pence did that.

Advantage Harris.

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