Wednesday night’s Vice Presidential Debate was a demonstration on how to effectively mobilize one’s arguments to win any clash of intellect and ideology. At least, that would be the case if you were watching Vice President Mike Pence, who easily won the highly anticipated confrontation with his Democratic challenger, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). He may not have delivered a knock-out blow (though he might have if allowed just a little more time for his responses), but he triumphed on points throughout the 90 minutes of relatively civil but emphatic debate.
“You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”
Harris, meanwhile, did so much giggling, smirking, and double-taking while Pence was answering her questions that you would have thought she was watching outtakes from “Saturday Night Live.” But this was Wednesday night live, and it did not go well for Kamala Harris, that consummate chameleon-like politician who, like her running mate former Vice President Joe Biden, will promote any policy that she deems to make her electable.
On two occasions, Pence chided Harris, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” It was an admonishment that might be applied to Harris’s entire political life, but never more so than during her first attempt to debate as a vice-presidential candidate.
It wasn’t even as though she tried to be creative in her mendacity, she leaned heavily into tired, debunked criticisms of President Donald—like the whopper from earlier this year that he had called the coronavirus “a hoax.” (In reality, Trump had used the word “hoax,” but not to suggest the pandemic was a hoax, but that the Democrats were using the disease to discredit his administration—much as they had the Russia collusion hoax.)
The debate as a whole managed to resemble civil political discourse, much more than a barroom slugfest like the first presidential debate. The candidates were both given the opportunity to respond to questions and remarks from their opponent in a logical and rational manner (though both spoke past their allotted time), and both, unlike Trump and Biden the week before, seemed reasonably aware of the debate moderator.
“MR. VICE PRESIDENT, I’M SPEAKING. I’M SPEAKING.”
Harris has apparently picked up a few things from her recent association with the elder statesman Biden, who is 20 years the Senator’s senior, and has that many more years of obfuscation and denial under his belt. Just as her now-mentor did last week, Harris steadfastly refused to answer any question about whether the Democrats plan to pack the Supreme Court if Amy Coney Barrett is successfully confirmed as the next justice.
“People are voting right now, they’d like to know if you and Joe Biden are going to pack the Supreme Court if you don’t get your way in this nomination.”
Instead, Harris launched into a “history lesson” of how Abraham Lincoln had refused to fill a Supreme Court in the election year of 1864, then like Biden a week before, she pivoted on cue to the Democratic get out the vote talking points.
Pence responded: “People are voting right now, they’d like to know if you and Joe Biden are going to pack the Supreme Court if you don’t get your way in this nomination.” Harris responded with? Nothing.
Harris was an early favorite in the Democratic presidential primary, and opened her campaign to great fanfare and race-baiting. She probably peaked during the primary debate when she essentially accused Biden of being a racist for opposing school busing. So sure was the Harris campaign that the altercation would be a raging success that they had t-shirts promoting the incident available for sale the next day.
But Harris quickly wore out her welcome, even before the primary runoff in her home state of California, likely because she never appears to be candid or authentic—just a collection of talking points rounded up for the occasion. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), always a breath of fresh air and sanity, may have been the one to have effectively ended Harris’s candidacy, however, when she demolished her record as a former prosecutor.
Of late, Harris has taken to saying “speak the truth” as much as possible, as if by saying so, it means she is doing so. But it is difficult to speak the truth when you are not even willing to plainly lay out the policies that you stand for. During the debate, Harris tried to claim that Biden will not raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 a year. Vice President Pence rightly pointed out that Biden has also promised to repeal the Trump tax cuts in his first day in office—tax cuts that have lowered taxes for middle-class Americans, and had a dramatic impact on their liquid assets amid the worldwide economic emergency.
Harris also tried to avoid entangling Biden with the moronic Green New Deal, the brainchild of the often equally-as-if-not-more vacuous Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), but Harris had no answers when Pence pointed out that the climate change plan on the Biden/Harris campaign website was not very different.
At one point, Harris had the gall to suggest that Biden has been “incredibly transparent” about his health. (Did she mean that he has often appeared at campaign events unabashedly severed from reality?) “The one thing we know about Joe is that he puts it all out there,” Harris contended. Biden might put a lot out there, but it’s the sort of fodder one finds in abundance on a farmer’s field.
But perhaps the most pathetically indulgent claim of the night was Senator Harris’s claim that President Trump’s booming economy was a result of Biden’s fiscal husbandry during his tenure as Vice President:
“Joe Biden was the one who—during the great race recession—was responsible the economy for the Recovery Act that brought America back and now the Trump-Pence administration wants to take credit when they rode the coattails of Joe Biden’s success for the economy that they had at the beginning of their term. Of course now the economy is a complete disaster … Donald Trump … has reigned over a recession that is being compared to the Great Depression.”
Harris, whether she was suggesting that Trump had somehow turned Obama-era prosperity into a depression, or left the United States alone and isolated in the world, bereft of allies, was more often than not speaking of a fantasy world, a world found only in the Democratic campaign playbook.
“ONCE AGAIN, YOU GAVE A NON-ANSWER, JOE BIDEN GAVE A NON-ANSWER.”
When Harris was treading water, she was repeatedly thrown a lifeline by moderator Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today. While Pence tried in vain to get an answer on court-packing from the Senator, Page assiduously avoided volleying the query, and failed to demand that Harris answer the question. Neither did Page have a single question for Harris about her active fundraising for the “Minnesota Freedom Fund,” a campaign that raises bail money to get rioters and looters released from prison. Harris received her own get out of jail free card for that one—in fact, she raved that she and Biden will abolish cash bail.
“I am pro-life and I don’t apologize for it.”
Despite the moderator’s bias, Pence scored points in a variety of areas: calling Biden “a cheerleader for Communist China”; noting his drifting policy position on fracking (something he opposed while running for the presidential nomination and now apparently supports); and suggesting his coronavirus plan seemed to be “plagiarized” from what Trump has been doing for months now.
The Vice President also declared, unabashedly: “I am pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” while pointing out that the Democrats have become a party that supports taxpayer-funded abortion all the way to infanticide.
Pence dealt neatly with a nonsense question from Page about man-made carbon-based climate change being a settled issue, one that evidently every scientist supports. “Do you believe, as the scientific community has concluded, that man-made climate change has made wildfires bigger, hotter and more deadly?” Pence parried by talking about the Trump administration’s efforts to curb real pollutants—which carbon is not. “You know what’s remarkable is the United States has reduced CO2 more than the countries that are still in the Paris Climate Accord, but we’ve done it through innovation … the American people have always cherished our environment. We will continue to cherish it.”
Of course, you will not watch a presidential debate that doesn’t include the usual hysteria around climate change because the well to do liberals who concoct the program really do worry about wildfires and storms heralding a sort of secular apocalypse. Having lost faith in God and rejecting traditional religion, they seek the urgency of belief in an environmental creed that has become a smothering blanket of ideological conformity. As the Vice President assured us, the current panic over the weather is entirely misplaced because there are “no more hurricanes today than there were 100 years ago.”
For those others—those whom the former President Barack Obama sneered “cling to their guns and religion”—there are the more mundane concerns than the poetics of elite university scientists. Concerns like staying employed, providing for families, and keeping safe on streets that are increasingly ruled by rioting mobs.
Harris, for her part, didn’t seem too concerned about the violence in urban America. While talking about the demonstrations that have dominated the landscape for four months, the Senator did not once mention the riots and looting but instead, took a quick detour to tout her support for the decriminalization of marijuana—as if that would somehow facilitate greater social justice. (Although, easier access to pot might at least make it easier to arrest spaced-out lowlifes who are torching businesses.)
Pence, however, did address the violence and the leftist babble behind Black Lives Matter and Antifa. “This presumption that you hear from Joe Biden that America is systemically racist … is a great insult to the men and women who serve in law enforcement…” He also took the opportunity to express his great concern over the victims of the rioting—a kind of violence that, with all their talk of systemic violence, the Democrats seem oblivious to.
“[T]here’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd. Justice will be served. But there’s also no excuse for the rioting and looting that followed. I mean, it really is astonishing. Flora Westbrook is with us here tonight in Salt Lake City. Just a few weeks ago, I stood at what used to be her salon, was burned to the ground. By rioters and looters. And Flora is still trying to put her life back together.”
Pence did not just dominate the debate; he listed the accomplishments of the Trump administration in such a thoughtful and comprehensive manner that his arguments appeared beyond dispute. He hit all the marks, missed no opportunities to attack the Biden-Harris record, and demonstrated supreme control throughout the debate.
“YOUR PARTY HAS SPENT 3 YEARS TRYING TO OVERTURN THE LAST ELECTION!”
As anticipated, Harris played the race card, more than once, before the evening was over. She suggested that President Trump was a racist who has spent four years emboldening white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. Vice President Pence wasn’t having it:
“I think that’s one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country. That you selectively edited, like Senator Harris did, a promise that President Trump and I, and others on our side of the aisle make. Senator Harris conveniently omitted, after the President made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments, he condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and has done so repeatedly.”
Then, the Vice President tried to press Senator Harris on her own record on racial injustice:
“When you were DA in San Francisco, when you held that office, African Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics. When you were Attorney General of California, you increased the disproportionate incarceration of Blacks in California.”
Shifting then to the most “important issue” of the evening, Moderator Page was not finished with the loaded questions, claiming that President Trump had “several times” threatened that he would not necessarily relinquish power if defeated by Biden. (Attorney General William Barr has roundly dismissed these media musings as “crap.”) Nonetheless, Page wondered how Pence might deal with this grand display of political hubris, perhaps imagining the Vice President wrestling Trump out the door.
In one of the most memorable lines from the debate, Pence sidestepped this idiocy by pointing out that the Democrats had “spent the last three and a half years trying to overturn the results of the last election” with their constant conspiracy talk and a full-throttle impeachment effort.
“We can disagree … but when the debate is over we can come together as Americans.”
As is befitting the caliber of political debate among the mainstream media, the show ended last night with a question contributed by an eighth-grade student who wondered “if our leaders can’t get along” how is the rest of the population supposed to do so.
True, in our polarized climate, it wasn’t really a bad question. Still, Harris chose once again to avoid the high ground and used the moment opportunity to promote the grand “coalition” of supporters that Biden has allegedly marshaled to take back the presidency from the nefarious Trump. Harris listed Republican turncoats like Colin Powell, Cindy McCain, and former Gov. John Kasich, now standing with the former Vice President.
Ever the class act, Pence instead decided to emphasize national unity, saying, “We can disagree … but when the debate is over we can come together as Americans.”
A worthwhile sentiment, but, in these uncertain times, a very optimistic prediction to make. Because it is uncertain what kind of Democratic administration, or what kind of United States, Americans would be forced to live under if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win on November 3rd.
Whether Biden can govern effectively, or whether he will be a mere figurehead for the leftists who have seized the party of Andrew Jackson remains a moot point. The Democrats are increasingly committed to changing America, and doing so by changing the rules: packing the court, ending the Senate filibuster, and adding more states. They have a platform that is essentially socialist in its framework and intent. And its most vocal members want to take away your gas-powered vehicle and stop you from flying. They are imaging a socialist utopia but planning for a collectivist hell.
Pence won last night’s debate, but if the Republicans don’t do their part and secure the presidential election, it’s not clear whether there will still be an America where people can still come together.