V.P. and she play dodgeball

I’ve got to confess: For safety’s sake I set up a plexiglass shield between me and the TV.

Sen. Kamala Harris makes a point while Vice President Mike Pence listens

OK — that’s a joke, but so were the oval barriers between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris.

Although the set was the same as for the last debate, this time the candidates sat at desks, while President Donald J. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden stood — and hurled insults at each other.

This time it was civil, but a tiny bit testy, and was marked by each candidate speaking over allotted time, and playing dodge ball with questions they didn’t want to answer. 

Moderator Susan Page, of USA Today, repeatedly and pointedly tried to cut them off, but she failed to follow up when each dodged a question. By my count, Pence was the major time traveller, plowing ahead to complete a memorized point, no matter what Page said.

Naturally, COVID-19 was a main topic of discussion, and the first topic to be tackled — and evaded. When Pence was asked why the U.S. death toll was higher than any other country, he said Trump’s plan was working and that Biden’s plan was a copy of Trump’s and slipped in a line about Biden and plagiarism, which most people won’t understand.

When asked why everyone ignored CDC safety suggestions at the Rose Garden ceremony that introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Pence praised the American people, but did not answer the question.

Harris ducked when asked what would happen if Biden fell ill in office. Pence skipped that one, too.

The Big One that Harris evaded was whether she would approve of Democrats trying to pack the Supreme Court. She also did not say what she and Biden would do if Trump lost the election and refused to leave office. Pence dodged by saying Trump would win and also breezed by the question on how Trump would protect people with pre-existing conditions. 

Pence lost points with this judge by his constant overruns. Harris gets a penalty flag when, legitimately questioned about her record as a D.A. and attorney general, said, “I will not be lectured by the vice president,” and “I am the only one on the stage” to prosecute a case. It came off snotty.

I think Pence wasn’t convincing on how well Trump fought the coronanova virus, and polling shows only a minority of Americans approve of Trump’s actions. Biden’s plan actually isn’t much new.

Pence’s strongest selling topic should have been the economy, but, to me, that was a push. 

Harris accused the Trump administration of disrespecting the American people by lying to them, while Pence scored points by mentioning Harris’ “radical environmental agenda” and noting that Newsweek called her the most liberal member of the Senate.

Unlike Harris in the Democratic debates, in this one she dropped the harsh tone she had used on Biden, coming across as a more likeable person. Pence seemed defensive and, I don’t know, a little depressed? She got under his skin. 

Measured against expectations, as the lesser known person, I think Harris won on points, but I doubt that anyone’s mind was changed by the debate. And thankfully, it was not a debacle. 

15 thoughts on “V.P. and she play dodgeball”

  1. Last question by an eight grader kind of sum it up as a sandbox match with parents listening to answers they knew in advance. I would call it a draw on not answering the direct questions but a slight edge to Harris on her Trump lies. I think she also showed a disrespect for her own profession by not accepting a grand jury presentment something she used in California. Overall I agree it changed no ones vote but left the door open for someone in the next presidential race to come up with something like when poor Dan Quale mentioned Kennedy and Senator Bentsen stated; I knew Jack Kennedy and your no Jack Kennedy. And with that I retain my political formula of four times four is still zero in this circus.

      1. What Quayle was not fast enough on his feet to reply, when Bentsen said “You’re no John Kennedy” was: “You’re right, I’m no John Kennedy — I’m faithful to my wife, my marriage vows mean something to me.” Would have knocked Bentsen on his ass.

  2. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Given the more respectful tone of this debate, I thought Harris came over as more likable, though she did get up on her high horse about her work as a public prosecutor in San Francisco and as AG of California. That she started out from liberal-elite San Francisco perhaps counts against her? Another politician from Pelosi-land?

    Equally, the more respectful tone of the debate made Pence’s positive account of the Trump administration more believable. However many questions they evaded, and in spite of talking over time, this debate seemed within the norms of political campaigns. They tended to avoid the divisive devil-images each side has promoted of the other. Who benefited more? I couldn’t say. But it was a relief not to have to hear constant, exaggerated, personalized contention. Some issues actually came up!

    H.G. Callaway

    ( hope this works )
    Did I ever tell you that I hate politics ?!? Same old crap since the 1960s. You lie and I’ll swear to it !
    You folks are using the wrong scorecard to rate this fight. Plenty of subtle jabs, but no knockout punches.
    Harris is cute and cuddly compared to the debonair Pence. Harris can dance better than Pence. Pence was annoyed with the bulls*&t that came from the other candidate. He didn’t go for the jugular and had many opportunities to do so. Pence should and could have defended the President and their policies much better than he did. e.g. High death count in the U.S. Golly Gee ! Maybe we have more larger cities than say, Canada. Maybe we let dopey governors turn senior citizen complexes into death traps, rather than sanctuaries. Unemployment: maybe if congress would put forth a logical bill, people could go back to work – after the dimocrat governors open up their quarantined states.
    I just put a subtle nasty gram on my facebook page for my buddy’s opponent out here in the 74th district of Chester County. In short. The I put out lawn signs on common property. I bring my weed trimmer and knock down the high junk, then place my sign. ( politics 101. be appealing ) The next day or so, our sign is either completely surrounded by dimocrat signs or they just “shield our sign with theirs. Kiddie crap ! At the same time, the TRUMP signs disappear. Rather than stand on principle and your party platform, take ( steal ) your opponent’s signs ! I hate politics. I haven’t said that in awhile.

  4. Coincidental to the debate, the Leftist roaches (led by the Queen Roach, AOC) crawled into the light yesterday and revealed the agenda they will insist a Biden administration put into place. If it is read cold-bloodedly, it should frighten the shiznitz out of 99% of the country. But 99% of the country are too dense to understand how the Left has infected the body politic. I suspect Biden will win; how can any Republican withstand four years of hatred, liberally applied by the fellow-travelers of the Fourth Estate? If — when — Biden wins, I suspect the long game of the radical Left will drive what may be the final nail into freedom and capitalism’s coffin. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  5. Harris was flummoxed when Pence brought up her anti-Christian remarks, actually anti-Catholic. On the other hand Joe was heard to say when they picked her for his VP, “Hot damn, opposites attract, right?–me being Catholic. Look it up!”😄

  6. If there exists a domain in which beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s vice-presidential debates. Being a dyed-in-the-wool Trump fan, I preferred stone-face to smirking. Trump has repeatedly condemned far-right bigotry, not least at Charlottesville (but what IS true about Charlottesville is that it was the far-right night-marchers who chanted “Jews Will Not Replace Us.” They MAY BE the biggest bigots, though, to borrow a phrase, there are bad people on both sides.) Biden and Harris have both really made “repeal the Trump tax cut” and “end fracking” statements. Where I thought Harris had scored a point is with Lincoln, of all Republican presidents, having declined to nominate a Supreme Court successor just before an election “because the voters should choose,”, but the Washington Post, of all papers, said the real reason was Congress was not in session and he did nominate after the election. But my biggest beef is with the Debate Commission. They picked the wrong Democrat intern to “moderate” the next Presidential debate. If it’s a Democrat intern they wanted, they should have picked Monica.

  7. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Afterthought: Apparently, Senator Harris is “absolutely open” to packing the Supreme Court.

    See, this brief video based on an interview with Harris:


    This strikes me as a very doubtful idea–sure to undermine whatever political neutrality the court may still retain. Apparently, a majority of Americans oppose the project.

    H.G. Callaway

    1. FDR tried the same thing. As popular a president as he was, he failed at packing the SCOTUS. I think Biden/Harris will also fail…if they are elected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *