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If Democrats were expecting Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to deliver a reprise of her unforgettable takedown of former Vice President Joe Biden over his past support of racial segregation in an early Democratic presidential primary debate, they were surely disappointed.
Prior to Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate, one of Harris’ advisers told Politico: “This could be a mic drop moment for her … She just has to go out, nail Pence to a wall, and walk off leaving a trail of blood behind her.”
As it turned out, she did neither.
However, given that Biden’s poll numbers both nationally and in crucial battleground states continue to defy gravity, Harris (D-CA) didn’t have to.
The disciplined and unflappable Pence, who was once a conservative radio talk show host, was widely considered to have won the debate. He defended Trump’s record admirably. He was strongest on the economy, law and order, Biden’s promised reversal of the Trump tax cuts, and the sharp leftward shift of the Democratic Party.
The two were questioned on the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus. Harris raised the issue of the President’s private telephone conversations in February and March with journalist Bob Woodward in which he said he had downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic to the American people. She hit Pence hard over Trump’s failure to inform the public of the severity of the crisis.
Pence struck back by saying that Biden’s plan for dealing with the pandemic was remarkably similar to Trump’s current plan, telling Harris that Biden’s policy “looks a little bit like plagiarism.”
Harris came across as just as unlikable in Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate as we remember her. Her constant smiling and smirking as Vice President Mike Pence spoke was the most memorable feature of her performance. That, combined with her obnoxious habit of nodding her head up and down while uttering her own remarks, gave her the appearance of a bobblehead doll.
She was disrespectful and dismissive toward Pence. Similar to Biden calling President Trump a clown during their fiery clash last Tuesday and saying, “Will you shut up, man,” Harris cut off Pence several times by imperiously scolding him, “Mr. Vice President. I’m speaking … I’m speaking.”
As always, pollster Frank Luntz held a focus group with 15 undecided voters, most of whom found Harris to be “abrasive and condescending.”
Luntz told a Fox News panel, “The complaint about Mike Pence was that he was too tired, but [he was] vice presidential, or presidential. If this is a battle over style and substance — which is often the case with undecided voters because they simply do not choose on policy, they also choose on persona — this was Mike Pence’s night.”
“The participants were angry over “Harris’ reactions to Pence — the smiling, the smirking, the scowling.”
Luntz noted that, “Voters do not like it when candidates run long, and when they run long every time, they think that’s an example of being undisciplined and unfocused. However, they were more agitated with Kamala’s presentation than they were with Mike Pence.”
“It was clear that Mike Pence was the winner of tonight’s confrontation,” Luntz said.
Throughout the debate, Pence hit Harris hard on several points. He asked her why both she and Biden are unwilling to reveal their positions on packing the Supreme Court. At a certain point, their repeated refusals to answer this question, he said, means that they plan to pack the Court.
The political implications of packing the court are huge and this is a point Team Trump needs to hammer them on relentlessly over the next 26 days. Additionally, in the remaining debates, Trump needs to force Biden to divulge his position on statehood for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, and whether he supports abolishing the electoral college. They must make voters understand the consequences of such actions. If any of these measures become a reality, which is likely should Democrats win the presidency and God forbid the Senate, Republicans will never win an election again.
Harris was asked what she and Biden would do if they win the election and Trump refuses to accept the result. Pence pounced on this opportunity to say that Democrats have refused to accept Trump’s victory for over three years.
The recent release of key documents pretty much proves the FBI’s 2016 Russian collusion investigation into the Trump campaign was a hoax. Among these records are former CIA Director John Brennan’s handwritten notes completed after he had briefed then-President Obama about allegations from Russian intelligence officials that Clinton had okayed a scheme to accuse Trump of colluding with the Russians to win the election.
The genie is out of the bottle and we can expect Republicans to pound this story daily ahead of the election.
Numerous times, Harris presented the Democrats’ unproven smear attempts as facts.
For example, in early September, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg published an article entitled “Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’.” He wrote that Trump had “repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades.”
Goldberg claimed that “multiple sources” had told him so, yet many of those present at the time immediately denied this story. No one has ever come forward on the record to confirm it.
While liberal commentators such as Jake Tapper “pondered” if Harris’ gender may have prevented her from “steamrolling” her rival and George Stephanopoulos accused Pence of “mansplaining” at times, Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle quickly dismissed it. In a tweet, she noted that, “Jake Tapper is suggesting that Harris was not able to be aggressive because she’s a woman. That was … not my impression of how that debate went.”
In another tweet, McArdle wrote, “Mike Pence is actually a good debater–full of nonsense, but a good debater. And you didn’t see him over there rolling his eyes and doing exaggerated highschool-theatrical “this is my disdainful face” mugging. Harris’ X chromosomes did not force her to do that.”
Although this was a strong night for Pence, VP debates rarely “move the needle” in any election.
However, given Biden’s obvious mental decline, voters’ dislike of Harris, who will be very much in charge if the ticket prevails in November, should be an issue. Independents need to ask themselves how they would feel about a President Kamala Harris.Published in