by Gary Fouse
Since I was rooting for Vice President Pence to wipe the floor with Kamala Harris in the vice-presidential debate Wednesday night, there were times when I wanted to scream at the TV. But I am the eternal pessimist, and it seems Pence got better grades from the professional pundits than I gave him. In the end, it all came down to whom the pundits were rooting for as to who did better.
I was frustrated by Pence’s tendency to talk way past his allotted time and the tendency of both candidates to avoid answering the specific questions asked of them. As for the moderator, Susan Page, while she conducted herself in a more professional manner than Chris Wallace, she didn’t ask a lot of red meat questions-especially to Harris.
Pence came off as stiff and wooden, but that is his style. Harris showed more passion, but at the same time, came across to this male chauvinist pig as abrasive as she put on her condescending smile and laughed at virtually everything Pence was saying. But then again, that is her style.
Aside from her non-verbals, Harris’s biggest mistake was studiously refusing the question as to whether she and Joe Biden intended to “pack” the Supreme Court if they won the election.
I think my biggest disappointment was the absence of pointed questions to Harris by either Pence or Page as to her biggest weaknesses. For example, when she pointed to her record as a prosecutor, Pence jumped on that to talk about incarceration rates for blacks in San Francisco while she was DA. What he missed was the opportunity to point out that she refused to seek the death penalty for any murder case. When the subject turned to race, Pence missed the chance to point out that Harris had recently told an interviewer (Stephen Colbert) that the “protests” would not stop and should not stop. Most glaringly, Pence did not bring up the fact that Harris had excoriated Biden during the primaries by implying that he was a racist and a sexual predator to boot. For that matter, that would have been an excellent question for Page to ask, but it was pretty clear she would not do so. Pence did, however, score points by pointing out Harris’ opposition to fracking and her and Biden’s promise to raise taxes.
Of course, the mainstream news media continues to demonstrate that they are on the side of Harris and Biden. Most embarrassing was ABC’s “Fact Checking”, which either forgot that Harris was on the stage or thought that everything she said was the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So much for “fact-checkers”.
All in all, after watching this event on TV, I am ready for some more Trump vs. Biden. Seriously however, this debate was important in that given the health and age of both Trump and Biden, it is increasingly likely that whoever is vice president will ascend to the presidency in the next presidential term. The thought that it could be Kamala Harris fills me with dread. Though the debate probably didn’t change many minds, it was vital that the public get a complete picture of just who she is. I’m not sure that was accomplished.