With the real World Series taking the night off, a lot of America tuned into Game 7 of the World Series of Politics, the last mano a mano event of the 2020 presidential season.
Neither was the home team, but the GOP suited up the Good Donald J. Trump, the one who was civil, was softer in tone, and who did not interrupt and only occasionally talked over moderator Philadelphian Kristen Welker, political reporter for NBC News, whom he actually complimented on her comportment. (Take that, Lesie Stahl of “60 Minutes.”) On the split screen, Trump had a healthy image, while his opponent looked somewhat pale (perhaps too much time in the basement.)
Former Vice President Joe Biden had a good night in that he was focused, and again was sharp and coherent, again putting a lie to the right-wing babble that he can’t string together two sentences.
Welker had the best night, being firm, asking each tough-but-fair questions.
Thanks to the threat of mute, used only during each septuagenarian’s two-minute answer to Welker’s questions, each got to answer without interruption, but they did get to trade verbal shots. Neither lost his temper, with Biden often softly laughing at some of Trump’s charges, and often addressing the viewer by directly looking into the camera lens. That was very effective, and something Trump rarely did.
Expectedly, Biden used COVID-19 as a point of attack because polling shows it is a sore point for Trump, who made the mistake of saying Americans are learning to live with it. Biden replied, “We’re leaning to die with it.”
Trump has defended his actions in downplaying the virus early on to avoid creating a panic. “Americans don’t panic,” snapped Biden, perhaps forgetting what it was like trying to buy toilet paper in March.
Trump’s major line of attack was Biden’s experience in Washington, calling him a “politician” (cue the hissing) and repeatedly asking why he got nothing done during the eight years of the Obama Administration.
Predictably, Trump dropped the bomb of foreign entanglements, first saying Biden got $3 ½ million from the Russians, then changing it to his family, plus payoffs from Ukraine and China.
This will keep the fact-checkers busy.
“I have not taken a penny from any foreign source,” said Biden, saying he had revealed all his tax returns and challenged Trump to do the same. The president retreated to the usual “I can’t while I am under audit” malarkey.
Biden denied doing anything “inappropriate” with foreign sources, even as a former business partner of his son was coming forward with claims that Biden was a silent partner in overseas deals.
If true, it could be trouble for the Dems, not that it will lose them many votes. Most votes are already baked in the cake — or already mailed in.
When Trump brought up Hunter Biden, Joe was lying in wait with a scripted line that this election was not about “his family, or my family, but your family,” suggesting Trump doesn’t care about you.
On illegal immigration, Biden said the separation of children from their families was “criminal,” and Trump’s assertion that many had been delivered by coyotes was simply untrue.
Biden as president would prepare “a pathway to citizenship” for the some 11 millions illegals living here,
Not a pathway to legality, but to citizenship — a reward for breaking U.S. law.
“They had eight years to fix it” and did nothing, Trump responded, noting the infamous cages were built while Barack Obama was president.
Asked by Welker about hate mongering such groups as Black Lives Matter, Trump said the first time he heard of them was when they were chanting, “Pigs in blankets, fry ‘em like bacon.”
Biden accused Trump of being one of the most racist presidents, and Trump threw it back in his face over the 1994 crime bill, which Biden repudiated because historical revisionists now see it as racist, even though it led to a halving of the crime rate.
There were other issues, of course, such as Biden admitting he would shut down fossil fuels over time, and not ban fracking on private land.
Trump said Biden would destroy the economy.
This was the last chance for them to have a national TV audience and a last chance to pull any undecideds who may be left, or to peel off some votes from their opponent.
I don’t think either succeeded in that. Can a World Series end in a tie?