President Donald Trump has an uncanny habit of getting under the skin of opponents and revealing their true feelings. Such was the case in the second and final debate. On many occasions, Trump managed to force Biden into certain positions and admissions when Biden was not outright lying or trying to deflect the question with worn out political tag lines and citing either Scranton or Claymont, Delaware.
There were three occasions where Biden tried to appeal to emotions and changed subjects about mythical families sitting around worrying about replacing balding tires, whether their loved one will be there tomorrow or dead from Covid, and whether they will have affordable health care. Again, these pivots by Biden were spoon-fed to him by his handlers after likely testing with focus groups. These were also the times Biden stared directly into the camera with beady eyes which is actually more creepy than visions of black kids playing with the hairs on his legs.
According to the Joe Biden playbook, if elected everyone will have a job, health insurance will be an afterthought with everyone having it, the air will be clean, the waters pristine, and the earth will not shatter in a fireball in 8-10 years. Oh…and Social Security and Medicare will be made magically solvent and blacks, whites and every color in between will all join hands and sing happy songs as unicorns dance over the rainbows.
In reality, Biden made several blunders. He had no answer for Trump’s correct assumption that Biden would shut down the country’s economy (again) based on the advice of a single bureaucratic doctor. They can blame Trump for every death due to the coronavirus, but Biden’s plan is exactly what Trump is doing now with two exceptions: a mask mandate and throwing money at states whose dire financial situations pre-date the pandemic. Biden said relief was being held up by Trump by not agreeing to the HEROES Act. Trump turned it back on Biden as a bailout for inept blue state governors.
On immigration, Biden is going to, in his first 100 days, pass legislation making 11 million illegal immigrants legal. Trump ran on this issue in 2016 and won the election. It probably did not play too well with legal immigrants and a vast swath of Americans. Make no mistake: when a Democrat says “pathway to citizenship,” they mean amnesty.
Trump managed to get Biden to admit that the crime bill he helped craft was a “mistake.” Ouch! Your signature achievement as a Senator was a “mistake.” Trump then reminded him that his crime bill sent primarily young black people to jail. Biden then said he was going to end “minimum mandatories” (he meant mandatory minimums, but its Joe). This is about as silly a proposal as cops aiming for kneecaps and sending social workers on 9-1-1 calls.
One of Biden’s most critical errors was essentially a commitment to kill the oil and gas industry. Trump responded: “You hear that Pennsylvania? And Texas…Oklahoma…Ohio…” He (Biden) tried to qualify his on again/off again view of fracking by saying he would ban it “…on federal property.” He completely turned the subject to equating Biden’s energy proposals to adopting the Green New Deal. Trump also managed to slip in the fact that Biden’s policy would increase the energy bill of all those Americans Biden pledges to help financially.
But there were two issues where Trump excelled. The first was hammering away at Biden’s 47-year career as a politician. Throughout the night, he repeatedly reminded Biden that he was Vice President for eight years and accomplished nothing in the areas Biden was touting. When finally pushed over criminal justice reform and the Obama/Biden team failing to get anything done he claimed “I wasn’t President” at one point (Ouch! Obama got burned) and they had to deal with a “Republican Congress.” When Trump noted he had to deal with a Democrat House to get it passed, Biden had no response. Although one may have to fact-check this, Biden even asserted that negotiations on criminal justice reform started with Obama and Trump is just the recipient of the fruits of those efforts. Quite frankly, I do not remember criminal justice reform being that high on the Obama administration’s list of priorities.
Biden’s second critical error was making the election about character. This allowed Trump to bring up Biden’s influence-peddling scandal involving his son, Hunter, that creeps closer and closer to Sleepy Joe with every passing revelation. Social and mainstream media may be trying to suppress and cover for Biden, but bringing it up in a debate format with millions watching did not help Biden. He tried to change subjects about some Trump (as a businessman) bank account in China which Trump deftly defended (It was opened in 2013 and closed in 2015). To Biden’s credit, he did not repeat for the umpteenth time the “very fine people” lie.
Biden’s defense? He invoked the “50 intelligence experts” hunch that the whole thing was Russian disinformation. That allowed for Trump’s shining moment: “You mean the laptop is another Russia, Russia, Russia?” All Biden could get out was “That’s exactly…” before Trump clipped his wings with “Here we go again with Russia!”
For as good as that exchange was, Trump hit Biden where it hurt: riding on the coattails of Barack Obama. Biden continuously doubled down on Obama policies (for example, Obamacare would become “BidenCare”). Biden seems to be under the delusion that Americans were enamored with these policies. He is under the impression that 2016 was some electoral aberration. Trump managed to dispatch, with relative ease, two major US political dynasties in short order- the Bush and Clinton clans. How did he achieve it? By running against Obama’s legacy.
When Trump leaned on the podium and told Biden he ran in 2016 “…because of you,” it was a graphic reminder that Obama, despite his saintly status, was a terrible President and Biden an equally bad Vice President. It was an exclamation point on Biden’s do-nothingness over 47 years of “public service.”
The fact-checkers will spin the words to make it appear as if Biden held his own (I think he drifted off to sleep at one point). They will quibble over Trump’s assertions of the costs of the Green New Deal or the percentage decrease in carbon emissions, etc.
What they cannot quibble over is the fact that Trump brought Biden out of his shell and basement. Whether it was killing the oil and gas industry, qualifications over banning fracking, the failures of Obamacare, etc., Biden looked flustered at times and downright angry at others. Hard blows were landed in a subtle, contained, non-bombastic manner.
In demeanor and substance, Trump won this debate.