The minute Joe Biden won the debate last night came at about the three-quarter mark of the evening. Trump was lashing out continually about Obama and Obamacare and Joe pointedly remarked: “This guy needs to know WHO he’s running against. He’s running against Joe Biden.”
It, for the first time, disarmed Trump from his proclivity for blaming Obama’s presidency for all of our current ills. There were many moments over the course of the night like this, but this one was decisive.
I did myself the favor of watching very little of the pre-debate talking-heads fest on the networks and CNN. On ABC, George Stephanopoulos had Kid Nausea, aka former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, demonstrating his Vulcan death-grip on the obvious, while CNN had garden gnome Michael Smerconish and others speculate on the evening’s outcome. I opted out. Instead, I watched the first thirty minutes of the new “Borat” movie.
It is with a sense of dread and loathing I watch the second debate. Ten minutes into it I am grateful it hasn’t degenerated into the shitshow the first one became. Moderator Kristen Welker tolerates NO bullshit from either candidate.
The first topic of the evening is the coronavirus and Biden seizes on it. He provides hard data that, since their LAST debate, 16,000 more Americans have died, and scientists speculate that 200,000 more will die before anything like a vaccine or treatment is realized.
The muting of the mic turned this into a fair contest and Trump is caught flat-footed and Biden scores big in the first round of questioning. Trump tries to make some hay out of the fact he had the virus and survived and Biden reminds him that it is through his own negligence that he had it.
All through the night Trump refers to the “China Virus,” taking no responsibility for any of the human suffering, pain and death his own inaction engendered. Biden reminds him of what he told Bob Woodward and Trump’s own downplaying of the lethality of the virus. Trump is so egocentric he feels like COVID-19 is something intentionally done to him.
Trump, idiotically, utters, “People are learning to live with it.” To which Biden body-slams him, answering, “People are learning to die with it.” What is frighteningly clear is that Trump and company STILL have no salient plan to combat the virus.
Trump then starts pimping a new vaccine that is allegedly right around the corner; and says states should not shut down despite shocking and spiking cases. Biden reminds him that were he not fucking around in a sand-trap and if he’d been paying attention, we might have been able to stem the rampant spread of the virus.
Biden chides Trump hard about his disparaging remarks regarding Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s acknowledged expert on epidemics, pathogens and viruses. Trump tries mightily to walk his criticisms of Fauci back.
The first topic of the night is a win for Biden.
I am shocked at Trump’s restraint. it’s very clear his owners have coached him extensively. He tries to push moderator Welker and she is not having it. Anytime he wanted to respond after the fact, he has to ask permission. Holy shit, it’s actually working. We have a for-real debate instead of an ape-house-style shit-flinging contest.
They move on to foreign entities interfering with American elections, and again Trump gets pounded with facts: Russia, China, and Iran have all interfered in the American electoral process and there is an inference that Rudy “Let me lay back and grab my joint” Giuliani may have been and still is a Russian asset. What intelligence agencies refer to as a “U.I.”—a useful idiot. I was SO hoping Biden would mention Rudy grabbing his crank in the hotel room with Borat’s “daughter.” I feel like Biden missed an opportunity by not making political hay out of the clown car of mental and moral defectives that surround Trump. I guess there is only so much time.
Trump tries in vain to gaslight Joe with a lot of “His family made money off of Russia” bullshit. None of it sticks. Biden mostly laughs at him. Biden reminds the American people that he’s turned over twenty-two years worth of tax returns while Trump has not turned over any. Trump replies “I paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes. I pre-paid.” Odd that there is no record of this.
Again, Trump tries to drag Biden’s family into this and Biden, wisely, will not take the bait.
When the moderator moves on to Trump’s coziness with the most hideous regimes on the world stage—China, North Korea and Russia—Trump remarks that Kim Jong Un “didn’t like Obama” and that it was a good thing to get along with North Korea. As if kissing the little mutant’s ass has done anything to halt the most aggressive stockpiling of nuclear material on the globe.
Trump insists Obama “left him a mess.” This, says the man who has run up a trillion-dollar deficit, helped kill 230,000 Americans and let big business and the one-percent of the wealthiest Americans loot the rest of the country.
Trump keeps trying to pepper the conversation with charges of “socialism,” that Obamacare represents a slide into socialism. Biden then tells him that Obamacare will soon be “Bidencare” and will include a public option and that NOBODY will lose the choice of selecting private insurance if they wish. He adds that he’s opening up competition for pharmaceuticals to reduce drug prices.
On immigration, Trump draws blood by reminding Biden that the detention at the border started with Obama. Biden reminds him of his characterization of Mexican immigrants as “rapists and murderers.” Neither man wins this topic.
On race, Joe hands him his ass when invoking the Central Park Five, who Trump pushed for executing after an infamous assault incident in 1989. All five were found innocent after serving considerable jail time. Biden hammers him with his dog-whistle message to the “Proud Boys”—the far-right group of losers who enjoy beating up gays and anyone else who disagrees with them—who travel in packs like all cowards do. Biden also rips him for classifying Black Lives Matter as terrorists. Trump hasn’t a leg to stand on.
I’m waiting for Trump to go off the rails. It’s obvious they’ve dialed back his Adderall a notch or two, but Trump being Trump, which is to say batshit, one knows it’ll happen.
At around 9:16pm, it happens. He goes full-goose Bozo when the subject of the environment comes up: a ramble about windmills causing cancer, cheap gas and “A.O.C. plus Three”—huh? He is, of course, referring to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and three other congresswomen he actively despises. It is so off-topic even Joe narrows his eyes as if to say, “Jesus, his senior moments are goofier than mine!”
It is no surprise that “A.O.C. plus Three” refer to four women of color whom Trump is intimidated by. It’s also no surprise that they have nothing to do with the subject being debated. Trump has undone nearly every environmental protection legislated in the last fifty years. He’s so queer for oil that the very thought of alternative or green energy technologies make him goofy. As usual he tries to conflate this with “socialism,” his favorite buzzword.
As Trump’s verbal acuity is limited, he speaks in squishy atmospherics rather than specifics: “The horrible, horrible emails—the millions your family was raking in from Russia…” Again not bothering to say WHAT the emails contained as well as a lesson in Gaslighting 101: Accusing your opponent of that which you, yourself, are guilty of. Biden calmly deflects this and does not take the Hunter Biden bait.
The night’s hero is Kristen Welker, who keeps the candidates on a tight leash. Trump will be graded on a curve—mostly for not completely losing his shit. This is considered a triumph for this dipshit.
All Biden had to do was hit singles, which he did, all night. He won handily by having a plan, making point-by-point arguments and sounding presidential.
Well done, Joe.