Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. So, What Did We Learn?

 

What we “discovered” last night is that President Trump is unwilling to stop talking, and that he will pursue any rhetorical rabbit in his eagerness to engage a critic, even if it means throwing away an opportunity to make a significant point. He isn’t a debater, he’s a brawler.

But we already knew that.

What we “discovered” last night is that Vice President Biden will promise the moon while dodging any inconvenient question, secure in the knowledge that “I’m not going to answer that” is an acceptable response for a member of his party.

But we already knew that, too.

We already know that both men will say untrue things, that each has a history of saying untrue things, that they’re two varieties of the same species: Trump lies like a self-promoter, telling you all the great things he’s done; Biden lies like a politician, telling you all the great things he’ll do.

What no one discovered last night, because it was never brought up, is how the two men differ on the fundamental job of governing. That should have been the purpose of the debate, to help people who haven’t decided who they’ll support understand the differences between the kind of governance the two men bring to the country.

But that really wasn’t the purpose of the debate. Had that been the purpose, Mr. Wallace would have asked each man to answer the same questions, questions about how he thinks we should address specific challenges facing the nation. We have plenty of challenges, and in almost every instance the preferred approach of a Republican administration and a Democratic administration will be diametrically opposed. That’s important; that matters. That’s something people should know.

But, again, that wasn’t the purpose of the debate. The purpose of the debate was to generate heat. The format encouraged combativeness between the candidates; the questions encouraged defensiveness. Mr. Wallace’s job was to start a dog fight, and then to act like a man who doesn’t approve of dog fights. He pulled that off pretty well, and he’s probably happy with himself.

So the nation learned nothing last night. Instead, we got a demoralizing show of pettiness, rudeness, and evasion, a reinforcement of the mistaken idea that what matters is how these men behave at their worst, rather than their very different approaches to governance.

Well done, Mr. Wallace.


There are big differences between the Republican and Democratic approaches to governance. The President has demonstrated his approach: deregulation, Constitution-loving judges, an arms-length but apparently effective foreign policy, and a broadly pro-growth, pro-business domestic agenda.

In contrast, the Democrats seem focused on racial grievance, climate change fear, an end to capitalism, an apparently immortal narrative of Russian collusion, and an implacable hatred for the man who won in 2016. What do those things look like when you put them in power? It would have been nice if that had been a topic of conversation last night.

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  1. Stina Member

    Henry Racette: What we “discovered” last night is that President Trump is unwilling to stop talking

    Did we watch the same debate?

    Because I saw both Trump and Biden largely honoring the 2 minutes. What I did see is Trump insisting on a rebuttal. And that, I think, is where all the fighting started.

    • #1
    • September 30, 2020, at 7:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: What we “discovered” last night is that President Trump is unwilling to stop talking

    Did we watch the same debate?

    Because I saw both Trump and Biden largely honoring the 2 minutes. What I did see is Trump insisting on a rebuttal. And that, I think, is where all the fighting started.

    If you’re under the impression that the President — for whom I voted and will vote again — demonstrated self-restraint in his speech, then no, we probably didn’t watch the same debate.

    • #2
    • September 30, 2020, at 7:39 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    One thing I did find amusing was Biden’s bold pronouncement that he was the decision-maker in the Democratic party — despite the fact that he was afraid to answer any question that might have raised a hard-left eyebrow. “My dear, I’d like to be the man of the house today. Is that okay?”

    • #3
    • September 30, 2020, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  4. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Those events are not debates. They haven’t been for 50 years.

     They are opportunities for sound bites, gotchas and hopeful gaffs by your opponent.

    Trump does just fine. At least he doesn’t just roll over and take it like the Romneys and Ryans of the GOPe.

    • #4
    • September 30, 2020, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  5. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    I learned that when you say that crime and violence are up in Dem. run cities, that Chris Wallace will provide an alternative fact about Tulsa. What’s with the moderator fact checks?

    • #5
    • September 30, 2020, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  6. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: What we “discovered” last night is that President Trump is unwilling to stop talking

    Did we watch the same debate?

    Because I saw both Trump and Biden largely honoring the 2 minutes. What I did see is Trump insisting on a rebuttal. And that, I think, is where all the fighting started.

    If you’re under the impression that the President — for whom I voted and will vote again — demonstrated self-restraint in his speech, then no, we probably didn’t watch the same debate.

    There were moments, mostly in the second half, that Trump was silent for long periods of Biden lies. 

    • #6
    • September 30, 2020, at 7:47 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. David Carroll Thatcher
    David CarrollJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    We also learned the Chris Wallace is overrated. I used to defend him as being even-handed. No more.

    I once moderated a debate between Ron Paul and a far leftist. I promise you that I am very biased. After the debate, the leftist acknowledged that I had done an even-handed job. It’s not that hard. Chris Wallace was a disaster.

    • #7
    • September 30, 2020, at 7:52 AM PDT
    • 19 likes
  8. Franco Member
    FrancoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I listened while driving. I thought Trump missed a lot of opportunities. I thought Biden came off okay.

    But then I’m much more political than the low info voter who can be influenced by a sudden flood of information and the attendant theater and presentation. 
    After reading quite a few sources, I discovered that many Biden-leaners were surprised at how old and tired he was, Hispanic voters thought Trump ‘won’ by a 2-1 margin, and a lot of Biden supporters ( not politicos) thought Trump won. Lots of Trump supporters were somewhat disappointed but apparently ‘normal’ people are giving the bout to Trump by decision.

    If Trump’s goals were to highlight the rifts in the Democratic Party ( clearly one of them) to soften Biden up for the next two debates (strong finishes are better) and if just to give Hispanic voters the impression he won ( is it perhaps cultural? machismo/energia?) then he gets a B and Biden gets an ‘incomplete’.

    • #8
    • September 30, 2020, at 8:22 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Your analysis is spot-on. Well done. In the end, Trump was Trump and Biden was Biden. I am sick and tired of debate questions of the form “Will you state for the record…”. That is not a debate question; it’s an attempt to gin up controversy no matter which way the candidate answers. The actual questions were predictable and trite. They are all the things that each candidate covers every day in their speeches so there was really no purpose in asking them at all.

    • #9
    • September 30, 2020, at 8:23 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  10. Ralphie Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    I learned that when you say that crime and violence are up in Dem. run cities, that Chris Wallace will provide an alternative fact about Tulsa. What’s with the moderator fact checks?

    Husband caught that. Tulsa had what, a one day riot? and Portland has something like 100 days? Big difference in governance right there.

    • #10
    • September 30, 2020, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    Henry Racette:

    There are big differences between the Republican and Democratic approaches to governance. The President has demonstrated his approach: deregulation, Constitution-loving judges, an arms-length but apparently effective foreign policy, and a broadly pro-growth, pro-business domestic agenda.

    In contrast, the Democrats seem focused on racial grievance, climate change fear, an end to capitalism, an apparently immortal narrative of Russian collusion, and an implacable hatred for the man who won in 2016. What do those things look like when you put them in power? It would have been nice if that had been a topic of conversation last night.

    You could highlight this difference by the records of both nominees – Trump’s accomplishments during his first 4 years despite a lack of cooperation even from his own party, versus Biden’s 47 years including the times when the Dems held the House, Senate, and the Executive Branch.

     

    • #11
    • September 30, 2020, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. CACrabtree Coolidge

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Those events are not debates. They haven’t been for 50 years.

    They are opportunities for sound bites, gotchas and hopeful gaffs by your opponent.

    Trump does just fine. At least he doesn’t just roll over and take it like the Romneys and Ryans of the GOPe.

    Exactly. As it has been pointed out, in the Vice Presidential debate of 2014, Biden continually talked over Paul Ryan; not to mention making childish faces each time Ryan made a point.

    This time around, Biden ran into someone who was just as rude as he is.

    The most disturbing (and telling thing) about Biden’s performance was his refusal to answer questions about packing the Supreme Court and ending the Senate filibuster. I don’t know why Wallace didn’t press harder for an answer. When a Presidential candidate flatly refuses a question such as this, it should be a huge red flag.

    • #12
    • September 30, 2020, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  13. Ekosj Member

    Henry Racette: President Trump is unwilling to stop talking, and that he will pursue any rhetorical rabbit in his eagerness to engage a critic — even if it means throwing away an opportunity to make a significant point.

    Agreed. My lovely bride said much the same thing to me last night. Trump seems to need to win every engagement large or small. I understand the motivation, but in a time-constrained format it is necessary to let some things slide to win a larger point.

    I think it suffered from not having a structured rebuttal period.
    And questions should be limited to 12 words or less. Not 45 second partisan speech as prelude to question.

    • #13
    • September 30, 2020, at 9:34 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    David Carroll (View Comment):
    We also learned the Chris Wallace is overrated. I used to defend him as being even-handed. No more.

    My rule of thumb is that anyone who fawned over John McCain is a poor journalist.

    • #14
    • September 30, 2020, at 9:53 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  15. Samuel Block Support

    Stina (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: What we “discovered” last night is that President Trump is unwilling to stop talking

    Did we watch the same debate?

    Because I saw both Trump and Biden largely honoring the 2 minutes. What I did see is Trump insisting on a rebuttal. And that, I think, is where all the fighting started.

    Unfortunately, no. I think Biden would’ve lost if he had more of a chance to speak. Trump relieved his opponent from having to express his stances (such as they are) repeatedly. 

    • #15
    • September 30, 2020, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Gary Robbins Reagan

    The issue is no longer policies or personalities. It is now Rule of Law. Trump threatened the electoral system and instead of telling the violent folks on the right to go away, he said “Stand Down and Stand By.”

    • #16
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The issue is no longer policies or personalities. It is now Rule of Law. Trump threatened the electoral system and instead of telling the violent folks on the right to go away, he said “Stand Down and Stand By.”

    Gary, there’s more than a touch of irrationality to suggesting that it is Trump who stands in opposition to the rule of law, given how often he has called for the law to be upheld and offered to lend the resources to achieve that, only to be rebuffed by the people you are trying to put in power.

    • #17
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  18. Roderic Reagan

    I voted for Trump because we were presented with a binary choice, and I’ll vote for Trump again because we’ll be presented with a binary choice.

    But looking at the choices, I’ve got to ask, “How did we end up like this?” Good God!

    And this is by no means meant to provide succor to the Lincoln Project and their ilk. Of all conservatives their elitist arrogance and their I-don’t-give-a-crap-about-winning-I’ve-got-my-precious-status-to-worry-about attitude is the thing most responsible for putting Trump at the top of the Republican Party. A pox on the lot of them!

     

    • #18
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Suspira Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Those events are not debates. They haven’t been for 50 years.

     They are opportunities for sound bites, gotchas and hopeful gaffs by your opponent.

    Exactly, which is why I’m disappointed the coronavirus didn’t kill off the whole ridiculous notion. We’d learn much more from separate interviews, taped simultaneously, but with the same list of questions.

    • #19
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng… Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens, Trump Aveng…Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The issue is no longer policies or personalities. It is now Rule of Law. Trump threatened the electoral system and instead of telling the violent folks on the right to go away, he said “Stand Down and Stand By.”

    You man refused to address antifa. Did you miss that, Gary.

    I bring up Biden refusing to even admit antifa exists much less disavow them because it shows what a hypocrite you are.

    • #20
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:28 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Django Member

    What I saw was Biden attempting to do to Trump what he did to Ryan. That was expected, and Trump wasn’t having it. Wallace was next to useless. So, we got a food-fight. 

    • #21
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:37 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  22. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CACrabtree (View Comment):
    The most disturbing (and telling thing) about Biden’s performance was his refusal to answer questions about packing the Supreme Court and ending the Senate filibuster.

    As if a Biden administration would veto a law to do either of those things.

    Not a chance in hell.

    • #22
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The issue is no longer policies or personalities. It is now Rule of Law. Trump threatened the electoral system and instead of telling the violent folks on the right to go away, he said “Stand Down and Stand By.”

    Gary, there’s more than a touch of irrationality to suggesting that it is Trump who stands in opposition to the rule of law, given how often he has called for the law to be upheld and offered to lend the resources to achieve that, only to be rebuffed by the people you are trying to put in power.

    It’s pure psychosis. 

    • #23
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Kozak Member
    KozakJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The issue is no longer policies or personalities. It is now Rule of Law. Trump threatened the electoral system and instead of telling the violent folks on the right to go away, he said “Stand Down and Stand By.”

    You man refused to address antifa. Did you miss that, Gary.

    I bring up Biden refusing to even admit antifa exists much less disavow them because it shows what a hypocrite you are.

    He’s protecting his investment.

    • #24
    • September 30, 2020, at 11:56 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    If you don’t think Biden lost decisively, ask yourself this: has any other candidate ever been so soundly whipped that some of his more prominent supporters publicly called for the remaining debates to be canceled?

    • #25
    • September 30, 2020, at 12:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The issue is no longer policies or personalities. It is now Rule of Law. Trump threatened the electoral system and instead of telling the violent folks on the right to go away, he said “Stand Down and Stand By.”

    You man refused to address antifa. Did you miss that, Gary.

    I bring up Biden refusing to even admit antifa exists much less disavow them because it shows what a hypocrite you are.

    The big lie, the big, unforgivable lie, was Biden denying that he supported the Green New Deal. I forget just how he said it, but I think it was something like this:

    “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal” – Joe Biden, 9/29/20

    Yeah, that’s it. That’s it exactly.

    In the meantime, his campaign website continues to declare that “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” and, further, that “our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.”

    The Green New Deal is a blunt and open call for a collectivist takeover of the US economy: employment, housing, transportation, health care, the energy sector — it’s a comprehensive call to a centrally planned state.

    Joe “No Malarkey” Biden lied to us because he thinks we wouldn’t vote for him if he didn’t, and he wants the authority to do to us what he thinks we don’t want him to do. So he lied.

    As candidate lies go, that’s the worst kind.

    • #26
    • September 30, 2020, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.

    https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/

    • #27
    • September 30, 2020, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  28. Suspira Member

    I don’t know if that “debate” helped either candidate. Most of the reaction I’ve seen has been somewhere on the continuum between disdain and contempt.

    • #28
    • September 30, 2020, at 2:54 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    One thing I did find amusing was Biden’s bold pronouncement that he was the decision-maker in the Democratic party — despite the fact that he was afraid to answer any question that might have raised a hard-left eyebrow. “My dear, I’d like to be the man of the house today. Is that okay?”

    Almost everything Biden said was either a lie and/or a gaffe.

    By refusing to answer the question about court packing, he tipped his hand. On the other hand, even if he said no, I wouldn’t believe him.

    He says he doesn’t support the Green New Deal after saying that it will ‘pay for itself’ (which is another lie).

    His website says the Green New Deal is a “crucial framework” for addressing future climate concerns.

    What I learned is that age and senility have accentuated Biden’s worst traits.

    The Dems are doubling down on naked pandering and dishonesty. Their electoral success depends on ballot fraud and a gullible citizenry.

     

    • #29
    • September 30, 2020, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. MISTER BITCOIN Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Those events are not debates. They haven’t been for 50 years.

    They are opportunities for sound bites, gotchas and hopeful gaffs by your opponent.

    Trump does just fine. At least he doesn’t just roll over and take it like the Romneys and Ryans of the GOPe.

    It’s true – Republicans get punished for trying to engage in civil discourse

     

    • #30
    • September 30, 2020, at 3:24 PM PDT
    • 1 like