Vice President Joe Biden won the first presidential debate, and before my Trumpster friends have a stroke, let me tell you why.
You did it to yourself with all your smoke about Biden’s supposed dementia, and his inability to put together two coherent sentences. You set the bar so low a caterpillar could have stepped over it, let alone 77-year-old Uncle Joe.
But you know, even without the advantage you gave him, he came across like the adult in the room, laughing off President Donald J. Trump’s incessant interruptions and nonstop scowling. It was as lively as a fight in a prison mess hall.
The delusions of the right wing nuts were exhibited before the debate began when Fox News host Tucker Carlson admitted he lost when he bet that Biden would not show up for the debate. How self-deluded can he be? This is the result of listening to fringe Trump coyotes.
Sympathies to moderator Chris Wallace who fought valiantly to keep order. He repeatedly admonished Trump, who raged like a typhoon, to obey the rules his team had agreed to. Despite the referee’s warning, the 74-year-old Trump kept it up, but failed to ignite Biden’s temper. At one point Wallace suggested maybe Trump would like to moderate.
Trump glowered at Wallace, scowled at Biden, and missed an opportunity to connect with the audience. To the contrary, Biden several times looked directly in the camera lens and addressed you, the viewer, which he did effectively. In that, he schooled master TV showman Trump.
Trump is a more facile, off-the-cuff talker, and was able to knock Biden off the point he was trying to make by interrupting him. Biden referred to notes, while Trump winged it as usual.
Here’s the big anti-Trump talking point: Wallace asked Trump to condemn white supremacy, and he started to, then pivoted to something else, and Wallace chided him to get back on track.
“Proud Boys. Stand back and stand by,” he said, of the racist, neo-Nazi group.
An anti-Biden talking point will be his refusal to comment on Democratic notions to end the filibuster and pack the U.S. Supreme Court.
The most contentious exchange did not come during the segment on race, but on taxes, of all things.
When Wallace asked Trump if it was true he paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. Trump said, “I paid millions of dollars in taxes” in those years, despite the fact that the New York Times has those tax returns.
Biden challenged Trump to release his returns, but Trump responded it was policies created by President Barack Obama that allowed his massive write-offs. During this exchange, Biden called Trump a “clown.” He later called “Trump” a racist, while agreeing there is “systemic injustice” in the U.S., while Trump denied and said racial division began under Obama.
Trump came off as bullying, while Biden remained cool, calm — and conscious.
Biden will not have the advantage of lowered expectations next time.