Saturday, October 10, 2020

Joe Biden, an Empty Headed Empty Suit

By now, most savvy commentators have decided that Donald Trump lost the first, and perhaps the only presidential debate. His strategy was to interrupt Biden constantly, thus provoking Biden into saying something incoherent. It did not work, and it showed that Trump, for the good and the bad, is not a great communicator. He is not a great debater, either. Mike Pence clearly did a better job.

Sorry, to be the bearer of bad news, but unless something drastically dramatic happens, the radical left is about to take over America. If only Trump had remained quiet, Joe Biden would surely have put both feet in his mouth. Biden cannot speak coherently off the cuff for two minutes-- such is the nature of his cerebral deficiency.

Curiously, a never Trumper called Andrew Sullivan, after opining about Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and issuing his usual rant about Trump’s tyrannical tendencies-- a rank absurdity, on its face-- launched a description of Joe Biden at the debate. Unfortunately, too many people were distracted by Trump, so much so that they missed the real Joe Biden. 

Since Sullivan is probably going to vote for the hollowed out husk called Biden, we grant some added credence to his analysis-- which is very, very good. 

Sullivan notes that, even when compared to the Democratic primary debates, Biden seems even more diminished, more frail, more out of it:

Biden looked older than I’ve ever seen him, and with less of a grizzled-elder-vibe than a nursing-home-visit one. In the primary debates, he managed at times to look vigorous, even sharp, to the relief of many of us. Last Tuesday, he looked … well, the word that comes to mind is simply frail. His voice was relatively quiet, higher-pitched than usual and often hushed, his whispery white hair and pale color accentuating the sense of a beloved great-uncle who gets confused at times, but whose heart is nonetheless in the right place. When Biden looked directly at Trump, and we saw his profile, he looked even frailer: less like an authoritative statesman ready to take back the helm with vigor than a reluctant draftee, called out of retirement, like Bob Mueller, doing his duty, barely able to comprehend, let alone counter, the walking, talking shit-show to his right.

There is no way such an individual, diminished and declining, can do the job of president. One agrees with Sullivan that we should recall the incoherent Robert Mueller, the great hope of the Democrats who wanted to depose Trump, appearing before a Congressional panel, dazed and confused, sounding like he had not even read the report that had been issued in his name.

Viewers who were looking for a reason to vote for Biden, were disappointed. Sullivan says he was like a flickering pilot light, ready to die out:

The hackneyed phrase for a key sign of a presidential winner — “fire in his belly” — did not and does not seem to apply to Biden. It’s more like a flickering blue pilot light you’re worried may go out at some point. “I was praying that Biden was going to come in and slam dunk, and I was really disappointed,” said one female 2016 Trump voter, in a focus group organized by Sarah Longwell. “I agree that we weren’t able to get a full idea of Biden. I was hoping I was going to come away with more,” said another. “I understand why you’d tell someone to ‘shut up’ but I wish he could’ve been a contrast to Trump a little more,” another complained. “I felt like Biden stuck to talking points. I was disappointed all around,” whined another.

It gets worse-- especially for those who thought they had elected a macho warrior, a man who could take the fight to Trump. In the end, Biden was not up to the fight. He had lost too many little gray cells to mount an attack or even a counterattack:

The best line of the night — “Will you just shut up, man?” — was wonderful in the moment, but also showed just how reactive Biden was throughout. He never seized the initiative, and was constantly on the back foot. He never demonstrated the kind of authority you want to see and feel in a president. Days after Trump had been humiliated by tax returns that showed he was both a massive business failure and a stupendous tax dodger, the issue came and went with Biden barely making a dent. Even on Covid19, as Michael Tomasky noted, Biden failed to lay out clearly the chronology of Trump’s lies and incompetence. He even flubbed what was an obviously rehearsed (and good) line: “He said he didn’t tell us or give people a warning of it because he didn’t want to panic the American people. You don’t panic. He panicked.” He garbled the last two sentences.

On policy Biden was similarly lost and incoherent:

And, yes, at the start of the evening, Biden made a decent start: “The president … wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. He’s been running on that, he ran on that and he’s been governing on that. He’s in the Supreme Court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which will strip 20 million people from having health insurance now.” But when challenged on the new policy he’s proposing, a public option in Obamacare, this is how Biden described it: “It’s only for those people who are so poor they qualify for Medicaid they can get that free in most States, except Governors who want to deny people who are poor Medicaid. Anyone who qualifies for Medicare, excuse me, Medicaid would automatically be enrolled in the public option. The vast majority of the American people would still not be in that option.” Say what?

Say what? A perfect riposte to what is essentially a word salad, from someone who has no idea what he is talking about and can barely hide it any more.

The polls after the debate have swung to Biden, but one focus group saw women rejecting Biden and moving toward Trump:

Stan Greenberg saw Trump actually gain with white working class women in his debate focus group — from 44 percent to 53 percent support — largely because of this issue: “they headed into the debate favoring Biden on the issue by an 11-point margin and came out supporting Trump by 6 points.” Losing white working class women on healthcare access is not good for a Democratic candidate. While nothing else hurt him as badly, Biden also added some clunkers. On core Constitutional and procedural questions — like adding members to the Court or ending the filibuster — Biden simply refused to say what he supports, saying “Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue.” Well, yeah, it will. But that’s also how we decide elections. If you can’t tell us where you stand, how are we to make a decision?

Of course, Biden has consistently refused to say whether he would pack the Supreme Court-- which means that he will-- but, aside from a few intrepid intellectuals, like Sullivan, the media is happy to ignore the issue. The media has simply become the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. They do not even pretend any more. For that reason, we are today turning to someone who walked away from New York Magazine, rather than allow himself to browbeaten by brain dead millennials.

Forget about the content of Biden’s character-- it has long since retired from the fray-- and examine some of Biden’s responses. Sullivan does so, and the result is devastating:

He portrayed critical race theory as a completely harmless attempt not “to hurt other people’s feelings,” which is the kind of view you’d expect from someone who has no idea what is actually happening, and someone who, as president, will do nothing to stop it. He had no solid response to the obvious fact of his son Hunter’s sleaze at all, except to say it’s all been “discredited,” when a lot of it hasn’t been. He said that he was opposed to AOC’s “Green New Deal” and then said that “the ‘Green New Deal’ will pay for itself as we move forward.”

And also,

He said he supports both “equity” and “equality”, two directly contradictory goals, one supporting equality of outcome, the other equality of opportunity. He doubted the existence of antifa, suggesting he really has drunk the left kool-aid. On police and criminal justice reform, he repeated that he was against any defunding of the police, and then we got this big bucket of blah: “I’m going to call together an entire group of people at the White House, everything from the civil rights groups, to the police officers, to the police chiefs, and we’re going to work this out.” Weak.

And this is the best that one of America’s two leading political parties can find to run for president.

Sullivan concludes:

If Trump had let Biden speak more, Biden’s inadequacies might have been more visible. And if Trump hadn’t engaged in a menacing, fascistic hissy-fit, Biden’s failure to score many points might have become a much bigger story — which is, perhaps, a coda to this entire campaign. With any luck, Trump’s infection will preclude any more debates, keeping the race roughly where it is. But we should be wary, I think, of assuming that Biden won this debate. If he did, it was by default.


trigger warning said...

My wife and I watched, and we were both struck by Biden's frail appearance. I thought the makeup people could have done more for him. I also agree that if Trump had just shut up, Biden might well have tottered into several briar patches, but that's just conjecture. My impression was Trump simply thought Chris Wallace was asking the wrong questions and decided to answer the questions he, Trump, wanted asked.

These "debates" (that are not debates) have turned into events offering anointed journalist "moderators" an opportunity to opine for large audiences. For example, Wallace might have asked, "My question, sir, is what is the Trump healthcare plan?". But no, we get this:

"You [Trump], in the course of these four years, have never come up with a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare, and just this last Thursday you signed a largely symbolic Executive Order to protect people with pre-existing conditions five days before this debate. So my question, sir, is what is the Trump healthcare plan?"
--- Chris Wallace, transcript

I can understand why Trump was frustrated and angry. I would have been, too.

Patrick said...


I agree with Everett point in your article but wonder if Chris Wallace would have let Joe Biden ramble, I suspect that if Joe Biden started rambling the moderator had a strategy to redirect Joe Biden and get back to the established plan.

Although there are substantial criticism that could be used against Donald Trump, it seems that the Democrats Party has chosen the intellectually shallow and dishonest strategy of developing a straw man to attack. The moderates of each debate framed most questions upon stories with questionable and flawed sources that have become propaganda and dishonest talking points for the Democratic Party. As journalists they should have some integrity about the accuracy of the stories rather then what is false until is is considered common knowledge.

What I find particularly disturbing is that Donna Brazil who, after being caught giving answered to Hillary before her debate with Bernie, was given a position as a Fox News contributor. I have little doubt that Joe Biden was coaches before the debates, after all Chris Wallace is from the same network that had no problem hiring a proven debate fixer. Perhaps all the questions should be published a week before the debate, then at least one side can’t receive this advantage.

I think that Vice President Pence had the best strategy when he ignored the moderator’s question to respond to a previous topic. I think that a skilled politician like Ronald Regan would have responded to Chis Wallace during the Presidential Debate by calling him out on asking questions based upon unsubstantiated claims then scolding him that as a journalist he should know better,

The big looser was the debate commission who set the debates up to be a fiasco. I wonder why journalists have a monopoly on debates when there are many who have a better understanding of issues. We see journalists usually bring in experts to explain complicated issues (at least pretending to be experts). Why not just cut out the middle man and have an expert formulate questions.

Patrick said...

Everett should have been every point

ASM826 said...

No one is electing Joe Biden. They are electing the new Democrats. How long before it's Pr. Harris? Within 6 months is my guess.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how Biden is crushing Trump. There is no excitement for him. He can't get twenty people to show up or even to watch him on the internet. Even here in L.A. there are about 10 lawn signs for Biden. When you see one, it's kind of discreet. I saw one that said B"H and I thought it was a Jewish prayer ("Baruch Hashem" -- I live in an Orthodox neighborhood.) I was told it meant Biden/Harris. That sign had zero oomph to it. I see parades for Trump and none for Biden. Huge rallies for Trump and none for Biden. Walkaway parades from the Democratic party. I just do not see the empirical evidence for Biden.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Well, lost another pair of good friends tonight over dinner. The conversation descended into politics. Yippee. Been putting up with their snide Trump-hating comments for two years now. Finally challenged them on a few things. Whole night went sideways. Sad. Wife is concerned we won’t be getting together with them again. Perhaps she’s right. I certainly have no interest. Lots of water behind the dam — I’ve been listening to all their shit for long enough. Just couldn’t take it anymore.

Christopher B said...

When reading post-debate analysis, at least one person noted Trump's interruptions appeared to be planned to disrupt Biden's soundbite soliloquies.

I agree with Patrick about Chris Wallace's role. Trump may have gone in with the idea of letting Joe ramble but, when he saw Wallace was running cover and keeping Biden on point, switched to more disruptive tactics.

Sam L. said...

Is there any one who could and would moderate these "debates" honestly? Can anyone suggest one? Anyone?? Bueller?? Yeah, I thought not.

Patrick said...


Good point which begs the question “if a honest moderator can’t be found, is there the need to have a moderator.”?

If Chis Wallace was not present the debate could not have been more annoying,, but would certainly have been more entertaining.

Perhaps have the virtual debate without the Debate Commission fixers. Cut out the journalists as the middle men and submit questions to the candidates. The candidate is expected to respond the next day and then can submit a question to the rival candidate. With no time limit for rebuttals everything the candidate says can be examined and critiqued for context and accuracy..

Perhaps a chance to light fire to the straw man characters that the press and candidates are so good at erecting then attacking.

Hamsta said...

Trump will likely win by a squeaker. Times look more though than in 2016. Women, in tough times, will unconsciously tilt towards the asshole who looks stronger rather than nicer. Trump may pick up more female voters than everyone thinks. Evolution exerts a steady pressure.