Patterico's Pontifications

8/3/2020

In The Air: Call To End Presidential Debates

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:32 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The idea is being promoted by members of the media and the political community. From Elizabeth Drew’s op-ed in the New York Times:

The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership. In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president. When we were serious about the presidency, we wanted intelligence, thoughtfulness, knowledge, empathy and, to be sure, likability. It should also go without saying, dignity.

Yet the debates play an outsize role in campaigns and weigh more heavily on the verdict than their true value deserves.

This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests. The point is that “winning” a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves.

Hm, if this call to end debates isn’t about concerns that Trump might possibly prevail over Biden during a debate, then why not make the case prior to the debate between Trump and Clinton, or Bush and Obama? I think that Ms. Drew’s timing is suspect:

Drew was a panelist for the first debate in the 1976 U.S. Presidential election, and moderated the debate between the Democratic candidates for the nomination in the 1984 race.

Which makes the question of ‘why now’ all the more relevant.

The New Republic suggests that political debates, like conventions, are relics of a bygone era:

This moment has forced us to reimagine much of our politics, and it’s perhaps the right time to consider whether these annual televised events have the same salience they had in the heyday of Jim Lehrer. The truth is that the debates have long since stopped serving the needs of voters and instead only exist to benefit television networks and cable news, in particular. Perhaps it’s time to consign them to the dustbin of history.

Every election cycle brings helpful souls out of the woodwork, pitching a new wave of ways to fix our broken presidential debates. There is a constant refrain: Dial down the pageantry and ratchet up the sobriety. It is a truth universally acknowledged that live audiences, more keen on hooting and hollering than listening, distract from the proceedings. This not only gives debates the atmosphere of an early-round NBA playoff game, but it also underlines the fact that what is happening is a spectacle, not anything of substance.

Whatever purpose these debates may have served at some point in the past has been overrun by media excess and politics’ cynical machinery. If they once functioned effectively as a showcase to contrast the essential differences between the candidates or to test their leadership and critical thinking skills, they now exist as a strange sort of political ritual that celebrates form over function and optics over authenticity. Really, they are just a thing we now do every election season, without fully understanding why we do it. What could we possibly learn from three debates between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, besides the fact that it’s time we did away with them entirely?

On a side note, Biden’s team is advising Biden not to participate in any scheduled debates, saying that it will just be an opportunity for a Trump publicity stunt:

Democratic strategists and supporters of Vice President Joe Biden are urging him not to debate President Donald Trump in the lead-up to Election Day, citing Trump’s publicity stunts and disregard for the rules in 2016…Former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart joined several Democratic Party strategists in bluntly advising Biden, “whatever you do, don’t debate Trump.” Speaking on CNN Saturday, Lockhart said Trump shouldn’t be given another platform which will enable him to “repeat lies,” which he said occurred in the 2016 debates against Hillary Clinton.

“We saw in the debates in 2016 Hillary Clinton showed a mastery of the issues, every point she made was more honest and bested Trump,” Lockhart told CNN. “But Trump came out of the debates doing better I think because he just kept repeating the same old lies: ‘we’re going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it,’ ‘we’re going to keep all those Mexican rapists out of the country,’ and ‘we’re going to make great trade deals’ — none of these things have come to pass.”

“Giving him that national forum to continue to spout — get him to 21,000 or 22,000 lies — I think just isn’t worth it for the Democrats or for Biden,” Lockhart continued

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign wants not just more debates but wants them to be scheduled sooner. Note: The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled four debates so far: three between Trump and Biden and one between Vice President Pence and whoever emerges as Biden’s running mate.

Although I watch the presidential debates, it is with the understanding that they are little more than well-rehearsed performative acts designed to seduce voters with a tightly-tailored snapshot of the candidate. The events rarely reveal anything we don’t already know about the candidate, especially in this election. However, because there are occasions when a well-timed bit of snark or a foot-in-mouth gaffe provides an unexpected laugh, I must insist that the two old, rich white clowns whose mental acuity is in question stand behind their respective podiums and debate one another (audience not required). I simply will not be denied the cheap thrills of *this* presidential debate. And how sad is that?

On a serious note, who do you think fares better in a debate between Biden and Trump, and why?

–Dana

122 Responses to “In The Air: Call To End Presidential Debates”

  1. I predict a debate between these two guys would be like watching a trainwreck happen before our very eyes.

    Dana (292df6)

  2. The point being made here, when taken simply on its own merits, is one worth considering. There are very few true political debates anymore. The presidential debates are certainly not among them. They are merely quadrennial exercises in the repetition of soundbites and the perpetration (and/or avoidance) of “gotcha” moments. We seldom, if ever, learn anything useful from them, and they generally reveal the candidates to be exactly who we already thought they were. Might as well not have them.

    On the other hand, the timing of this argument — especially coming from the left — is indeed suspect. Biden’s gaffe moments are coming with increasing frequency, regardless of whether his remarks have been prepared in advance. With three debates at 90 minutes apiece, it is a statistical certainty that he will stumble several times, and Trump (himself no stranger to self-inflicted damage and verbal diarrhea) will surely have the presence of mind to pounce on each and every one. With a substantial lead in the polls, the best thing for Biden to do is to run an old-style front-porch campaign through Zoom (because COVID), stay out of the public eye whenever possible, and let Trump self-destruct. But he can’t be seen saying “I don’t want to debate,” because that will make him seem weak, and cause public questions about why he’s afraid to face Trump in front of the American people. Best to let his water-carrying lackeys in the MSM do what they’re paid to do.

    On the gripping hand, I sincerely do not want these debates cancelled. What a show! Tweedle-Dumb versus Tweedle-Duh for the world heavyweight belt! Two congenital liars face off to see who can shovel more malarkey while getting called out fewer times! I plan to have multiple bags of popcorn ready…and multiple bottles of something medicinal.

    Come on, 2020. You’ve been a real jerk of a year. If we’re going down the crapper anyway, the least you can do is give me my bread and circuses.

    Demosthenes (7fae81)

  3. I’d be fine with declaring an end to them starting with, say, 47. Or 49. Doesn’t matter, pick an election far-enough forward that there’s no clear advantage now. They’re useless at best and bias the elections towards performers.

    And the current pageant contestants’ debate preferences are exactly what everyone should expect. Don is deep underwater, so of course he wants any wild-card he can get. Biden literally has nothing to gain from them.

    Plus, the more Don jumps up and down (well, burbles and wobbles) about Biden’s refusal to engage, the more my preferences are satisfied as he turns ever stranger shades of orange in frustration.

    john (cd2753)

  4. If you remember Biden’s debate against Paul Ryan in 2016, he somewhat blunted Ryan’s superior intellect and policy knowledge by dismissively laughing at him often. It was extremely annoying to those of us rooting for Ryan, it had some effectiveness.

    Given that almost everything Trump says deserves to be laughed at derisively, and that taking him seriously was probably the greatest mistake of his 2016 primary opponents, a similar strategy of openly mocking him as a moron and a conman might work well, if Biden can pull it off.

    Dave (1bb933)

  5. Sorry, I obviously meant 2012…

    Dave (1bb933)

  6. I do like the suggestion that Biden make release of Trump’s tax returns from the last five years a condition of the debates though.

    :-)

    Dave (1bb933)

  7. Look how so many in the media are trying to provide cover to Hidin’ Joe Biden.

    Colonel Haiku (0f62bd)

  8. Elizabeth Drew is floating a balloon to protect Plagiarist JoeyBee… from himself. And for a ancient journalist like Drew to try to run cover for a plagiarist speaks volumes about her own character and questionable professional ethics.

    Piss on her.

    “On a side note, Biden’s team is advising Biden not to participate in any scheduled debates, saying that it will just be an opportunity for a Trump publicity stunt…”

    The ol’reversal… what else can they say? Every time Plagiarist JoeyBee opens his mouth he spits out a hand grenade and blows himself up. He’s a Gaffe Machine Supreme.

    Remember that photo of a monk torching himself on a Saigon street in ’63? That’s gaffe-prone Joe Biden in a debate w/Donald Trump:

    https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/the-burning-monk-1963

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  9. It’s a full-blown rescue operation…

    Democrats are waking up to the terrifying realization that if #HollowJoe debates, he’s done. And if he doesn’t debate, he’s done because he didn’t debate.

    Dems also suspect they really DID push Trump supporters to lie to pollsters.

    —- Scott Adams

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  10. Oh yes… and Putin smiled.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  11. This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests. The point is that “winning” a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves…

    THAT is LOL funny!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  12. 4.If you remember Biden’s debate against Paul Ryan in 2016…

    ROFLMAOPIP. The more compelling question in late 2020 is–does Biden even remember 2016?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. Wait, you mean politicians and political opinion writers change their principles to suit the political moment? Who knew?

    Next thing you know, you are going to tell me that a prominent politician just called for the abolition of the filibuster as a relic of racist past, when that same politician was a Senator for 2 1/2 years and president for 8 years and never said a peep against the filibuster.

    I mean such hypocrisy simply could not exist in America. And if it did, the media would certainly call the person out on it.

    😉

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  14. On a serious note, who do you think fares better in a debate between Biden and Trump, and why?

    Are you kidding? Seriously?

    How many years did Trump hone his act and run the show in New York City, the world’s media capital, along w/George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin and Leona Helmsley?

    How many years did camera-friendly Trump do TeeVee’s The Apprentice?

    How many seasons did J.R. Ewing keep Dallas on the air?

    Scranton, Wilmington and the gaffe-protected decorum of the U.S. Senate ain’t Noo Yawk.

    That’s why.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  15. Not this year. The parties already agreed to three debates, and they should both hold up their ends.
    Biden wasn’t bad in his debates against Palin and Ryan, so I’ll assume he won’t be bad against Trump, which will be good enough for Biden.
    It’ll be interesting to see who gets under the other’s skin first. They’ve both been known to fly off when confronted.
    Personally, I think they should keep the debates. The Democrat primary debates were useful.

    Paul Montagu (1ef895)

  16. In an era where campaign platforms are widely available online, the debates serve very little purpose. The only think I might want to see is both of the major candidates meeting up in a television studio with one moderator, with a discussion format in which each candidate is encouraged to ask the other questions rather than having all of them pre-selected.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  17. Biden versus Trump in a debate? I’ll make the popcorn…

    Hoi Polloi (dc4124)

  18. I want to see a Jack Palance challenge and watch them try to outdo each other in a feat of strength!

    Dana (292df6)

  19. Debates rarely break news, but if this happens…….

    …….It’s Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.
    Donald Trump and Joe Biden step on the debate stage for the third and final time. The last two meetings have been memorable for plain old strange zeitgeist weirdness, but both sides will think their guy won hands down.

    Trump knows he’s going to say something, doesn’t want to over-rehearse, wants to play it by ear. At some point, he’s going to just come out and say it: aliens are real, UFOs are real, it could be bad, but he’s got it handled. This requires somebody with guts, you can’t let a wuss like Biden deal with these creatures.

    Biden, hit with this broadside, may literally have no response. The subject will not have come up in debate prep. Yet there it will be. Just him and a crazy President on stage together, and the crazy President just said that he thinks we have an alien problem, and doesn’t think Biden is tough enough to handle it.

    Source

    Rip Murdock (46c2ea)

  20. Biden, hit with this broadside, may literally have no response

    Get real, Biden won’t have a coherent response to almost any question.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  21. Then, Mr. Rip @19, Biden should lose. Anybody who, hearing that, can’t say “This mutha**cka crazy! He loony toons! He out of his mangy head!”, loud laughter optional, should not be President either.

    History would have been different if Marco Rubio, when Trump called him “Litte Marco” at the debate, had held up his hand with his thumb and forefinger an inch apart and said “Tiny Donnie”, I think.

    nk (1d9030)

  22. “Balls,” said the Plagiarist; “If I had’em they’d be somebody else’s.”

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  23. Media: As Malcolm X says “by any means necessary!” We don’t need no stinking debates if it helps joe win. Media: Our job is to run interference for the democratic party and we are good at are jobs except in 2016.

    asset (59f7bb)

  24. Impeachment for imaginary conversations… sounds about right…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  25. 16.In an era where campaign platforms are widely available online, the debates serve very little purpose.

    Actually, campaign platforms serve very little purpose these days.

    In the media/television age, and in an era when Americans don’t want to be governed but wish to be entertained, how a candidate-a potential POTUS- performs on television, how they present themselves [assertive or milquetoast] to the audience– the world– is critical. Recall Dukakas’ wooden response to Bernard Shaw’s question about ‘If Kitty Dukakas were raped or killed…’ or Gerald Ford’s bumbled response regarding Poland.. or Romney’s ‘bet you $10,000′ w/Perry– and Perry’s own ‘oops’ moment. JFK’s image and style won on TV against a seasoned yet stale Nixon [though radio pegged The Big Dick the winner.] Reagan won because he was a seasoned actor, Warner-Bros.-GE-Theater-smooth o camera against a constipated Carter and yet Ronnie’s mental state was suspect when he went ‘all-Biden-befuddled’ in a debate w/Mondale. Reagan was lucky in that he had another debate to rehearse a one liner and recover.

    These candidates have to be capable of working the room– and the living rooms. A Trump rally says it all. He’ll wipe the floor with the Biden of 2020. JoeyBee shudda had the balls to challenge Hillary and run in 2016 when he had a full set of marbles. His time has passed.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  26. The media is just rehearsing their Weekend at Biden’s bit.

    beer ‘n pretzels (c63793)

  27. Joey dementia never makes it to the debates

    mg (8cbc69)

  28. Then, Mr. Rip @19, Biden should lose. Anybody who, hearing that, can’t say “This mutha**cka crazy! He loony toons! He out of his mangy head!”, loud laughter optional, should not be President either.

    Even better: Biden promises to appoint one to his cabinet.

    Dave (1bb933)

  29. Debates were decisive in 1960, 1976, 1980, 1988, 2008, 2012 and 2016. They were not held in 1964 1968 (that would have been fun) or 1972. They did not have much effect in 1984, 1996 or (arguably) 2004. Hard to say what effect they had in 2000 since the biggest move was Gore’s smear in the last few days of the campaign.

    So, to say that they are useless or have no effect is ahistorical. This is almost as loony an argument as changing the date of the election. Clearly, Biden does not want to debate (even though he won both VP debates handily), and this is just preparing the ground.

    That Trump cannot point out this being a blatant example of the MSM’s thumb on the scales is only due to Trump being unable to think, and having chased off all who can.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  30. More specifically, Reagan’s debate performance in 1980 was critical to him breaking past the MSM’s caricature of him as some kind of monster. He was trailing BADLY in the polls until he was able to use humor to destroy Carter on stage, while making himself seem acceptable.

    In 1976, Ford’s performance on stage was enough to tilt a very close election against him.

    In 1988, Dukakis self-destructed on stage by some very robotic responses.

    In 2008, McCain’s goofiness, matched against Obama’s cool, was worth more than Obama’s eventual margin.

    And of course, 1960 where JFK outshone Nixon, who had no clue about television, allowing him to come close enough for his dad to buy the election.
    In 2012, Romney was looking like the winner after the first debate, until he got sandbagged by the moderator in the second debate and was unable to use that event to destroy both the moderator and Obama for colluding. Had that not happene3d, he probably would have won.

    In 2016, Trump was able to showcase Hillary as the more terrible person.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  31. I do like the suggestion that Biden make release of Trump’s tax returns from the last five years a condition of the debates though.

    I would think a mutual release of their health records would be more interesting. This idea that presidents need to be honest is just so adorable.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  32. Kevin M,

    What you are essentially pointing out in 31 is that it is a performance, and judgment is rendered on how well the candidate performs. It’s not matter of substantive debate on the issues, nor policy, nor anything of depth. Just how well the players acted out their parts. Is that something necessary to determine who the best candidate is?

    Dana (292df6)

  33. Or, Dana, you could say that it is the candidates appearing unfiltered by the media, letting the electorate make their own direct judgements about them. At times this is of paramount importance, as in 1980. Reagan not only won the Presidency on the strength of the debates (“There you go again!”), but also the nomination (“I paid for that microphone, Mr Green!”).

    This is particularly important for candidates that the media hates and will lie, cheat and steal to defame. They may not touch upon policy matters for those of us who pay attention 24/7, but for the 80% of the voters who don’t tune in until October, they are quite meaningful even on that basis.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  34. Shorter:

    “Nobody reads” — Steve Jobs

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. I don’t really care if they debate or not. With these two it probably doesn’t matter all that much because people already know who they are, both in the sense of name recognition and of who they are as politicians. In a year where one or both of the candidates are unknown or unknown as politicians, debates may have considerably more effect in raising their profiles with the general public.

    As far as who would win the debates this year, I think they both have a pretty good chance of meeting their own victory conditions.

    Trumps goal will probably be to gin up his base, as per usual (I don’t know why this continues to be his goal, they are already ginned up and he needs more votes than the 37% or so that his base entails.)

    Biden’s will probably be to appear likeable, sane, and just liberal enough to not send the far-left into screaming outrage while not being so liberal as to send the center right in screaming outrage. I predict Biden answers like “obviously there are some reforms to be made to reduce abuses in law-enforcement, especially regarding minority communities, and people are right to be concerned about the power imbalance between citizens and the police, but no, I do not intend to disband the police.”

    Nic (896fdf)

  36. BTW, the fact that I thing Trump is a terrible, dangerous and possibly existential president has nothing to do with his moral or ethical character. I know that others think those things are dispositive (and were the basis of the failed impeachment). To me, that seems trivial and unimportant regarding the job they are asked to do.

    Trump, however, is incompetent and irrational regarding just that job, and the responsibility that job holds makes such a man TERRIBLY dangerous.

    Possibly an existential mistake.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  37. They don’t want Biden to debate because his advancing senility will be obvious. How is this hard to understand. I think the American people need to see their true choice: an aging man who will not serve out his term, versus a craven, lying assh0le who may have Alzheimer’s.

    Neither party wants you to know the depth of their bankruptcy.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  38. I could have predicted this “cancel the debates” effort months ago. Trump is a better debater. Like my insightful 88-year-old mother observed during the Democratic debates, Biden seemed to be in a trance. He did okay in one or two of the debates towards the end, but who knows if that Biden still exists.

    As long as Biden is trouncing Trump in the polls, I don’t expect any debates.

    norcal (a5428a)

  39. What you are essentially pointing out in 31 is that it is a performance, and judgment is rendered on how well the candidate performs

    More to this point. Yes. But each candidate is painted this way and that by commercials, each other and a biased press. The “performance”, as you call it, is necessary to collapse the many lies.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  40. As long as Biden is trouncing Trump in the polls, I don’t expect any debates.

    If he was indeed trouncing Trump, you’d have a point. Trump trails in battleground states by surmountable margins. I think that he is so tone-deaf that he will continue to make Biden’s case for him, but you never know.

    Note that, while I think that a Trump victory would be horrendous, barring a quick exit and a viable VP (I don’t expect it to be Pence), I believe that the election should be fair and free and that these debates are of PARAMOUNT importance in every election. Maybe not to you or me, but to the vast majority who tune out all the ads and cable news and rely on these debates to finally decide.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  41. And, actually, I don’t think I’ve seen a TV ad in a decade. Not watching live TV much these days.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  42. “Why is he hiding?”

    –Donald Trump, October 2020

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  43. @41

    Trump trails in battleground states by surmountable margins.

    Do you think Biden’s team will want to help Trump surmount Biden’s lead by having the debates?

    norcal (a5428a)

  44. 31. More specifically, Reagan’s debate performance in 1980 was critical to him breaking past the MSM’s caricature of him as some kind of monster. He was trailing BADLY in the polls until he was able to use humor to destroy Carter on stage, while making himself seem acceptable.

    Thank Nofziger & Deaver for the stagecraft. Reagan was clueless- LN’s famous tale about Ronnie showing up in a riding outfit w/hat, boots and riding crop for a horse outing and photo op at the ranch is priceless. The Nofster asked him what t/hell he was doing; Hollywood Ron responded this is how he normally dresses for a horseback ride and Nofziger ordered him back into the house to get into jeans, work shirt and cowboy hat before the press could see him. Another image born.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  45. DCSCA on Reagan is like Trump on taxes

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  46. Do you think Biden’s team will want to help Trump surmount Biden’s lead by having the debates?

    See #43. But that’s not the issue. It’s “why is the press embarking on this campaign?” I pretty much proves my point why debates are necessary to the electorate. Who the F cares what the candidates what?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  47. *I It

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  48. Question: Should the media be allowed to control the presidential election? Please separate your ove or hate of Trump from this question, if you can.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  49. @46. Reaganoptics.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  50. @49 How can all these journalists out to change the world and be on the “right” side of history succeed if they don’t control the presidential election? Þ

    norcal (a5428a)

  51. Question: Should the media be allowed to control the presidential election? Please separate your [l]ove or hate of Trump from this question, if you can.

    I haven’t liked the media’s role in the debates since the invention of television. They’re not debates, they’re group interviews. “President Trump, if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? The most I have watched of them ever was during the 2016 Republican primaries so I could participate in the discussions here.

    But the “should” throws me. Why shouldn’t they control them since it’s their show and the candidates agree to go on?

    nk (1d9030)

  52. “Why is he hiding?”
    –Donald Trump, October 2020

    This is why demanding that Trump release his tax returns as a condition of debating could be win-win for Biden.

    “What is he hiding?”
    – Joe Biden, October 2020

    Dave (1bb933)

  53. @53 And voila, you have the stalemate that results in no debates.

    norcal (a5428a)

  54. Asheville bears, they drink teh country water
    Asheville bears, they wild as mountain dew
    Asheville bears, been votin’ since they’s babies
    Asheville bears, they votin’ for Trump too

    Well, there’s thirteen hundred and fifty two
    Ursus critters in Asheville
    And they can kick more ass than the number of ants
    On a Carolina ant hill
    Yeah, there’s thirteen hundred and fifty two
    campsite robbers in Asheville
    And the one got a Trump sticker
    Make a man richer than tappin’ a store till

    Yeah, the Dems are nuts, you might say
    That there’s no surprise there
    Then I heard they’s offerin’ a cash reward
    For a Trump-lovin’ black bear
    And the tree-huggers say we can’t have no Trump-lovin’
    Black bears in Asheville
    And you can’t be feedin’ ’em red pills
    And I said, “like Hell, I will”

    https://www.redstate.com/sister-toldjah/2020/08/03/north-carolina-bear-spotted-with-trump-2020-sticker-on-collar-reward-offered-to-find-culprit-seriously/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  55. Do you think Biden’s team will want to help Trump surmount Biden’s lead by having the debates?

    Don’t know about those gimps, but I’m dead certain Trump will be mounting Slow Joe during the debate…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  56. Both could shart onstage.

    urbanleftbehind (08b3a1)

  57. @56,57 Oh, Holy Mother of Imagery!

    norcal (a5428a)

  58. That’s mounting as in killing and placing his head over a mantle, right, Haiku? Methinks norcal envisions the Roy Cohn kind of mounting.

    urbanleftbehind (08b3a1)

  59. @53 And voila, you have the stalemate that results in no debates.

    But the optics are arguably better for Biden in the scenario I described.

    Dave (1bb933)

  60. Goggles they do nothin, now asto the wargaming that involves the secession of western states, and the involvement of the us military.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  61. ‘This is why demanding that Trump release his tax returns as a condition of debating could be win-win for Biden.’

    Poor Plagiarist Joey Bee… Desperately. Seeking. Losing.

    “Hey, is anyone out here from a–from Queens?” – Ray [John Turturro] ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ 1985

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  62. No one wants to vote for joe Biden.
    Lots of ppl want to vote against trump.

    Debates aren’t going to change that.
    I think a lot of this is setting expectations so that if Joe shows up and doesn’t fall asleep mid sentence the public views it as a win.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  63. @60 I don’t know. Trump has been refusing to release his tax return for years. Nothing new there.

    Biden would be suddenly adding a new condition to already agreed-upon debates.

    norcal (a5428a)

  64. @49 How broadly do you define media and how broadly do you define control? Everything that we don’t discover through personal experience is gained through media. I, as an employed person, cannot give up my job and follow political campaigns around like some kind of political deadhead, perforce, the media controls at least some of my experience of any political event.

    I have personal experience of what was being said while sitting at a table on dart’s night in the officer’s club of a NATO military command on the week the Berlin wall fell. Very very very few people have my experience of that. Some few people have the experience of having been part of bringing the wall down. Some fewpeople have the experience of watching it fall in person. For the rest of you, your viewpoint is controlled by what the media chose to show or not show of the proceedings, how pundits reacted, how politicians reacted, how industrialists reacted. Someone, several days ago, posted that the west didn’t want the Wall to fall because the West was afraid of WWIII. Their opinion was shaped by the media.

    Ultimately we have no choice but to let things be shaped, to a certain extend, by the media. That’s why you should consume many different type and viewpoints of media, because you’ll get a different way the events were shaped.

    Nic (896fdf)

  65. Seeing as how Trump has endorsed the Texas Mambo’s assertion that there are reptilian aliens in the government, Biden would be justified in asking for a DNA test.

    nk (1d9030)

  66. “ Methinks norcal envisions the Roy Cohn kind of mounting.”

    – urbanleftbehind

    Methinks Haiku was envisioning the same thing.

    Leviticus (5dade0)

  67. That’s mounting as in killing and placing his head over a mantle, right, Haiku? Methinks norcal envisions the Roy Cohn kind of mounting.

    Yes, Trump isn’t from Chicago, so the mantle trophy will suffice…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  68. Well take your lizard mayor or andy stern, for example.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  69. Seeing as how Trump has endorsed the Texas Mambo’s assertion that there are reptilian aliens in the government, Biden would be justified in asking for a DNA test.

    Wouldn’t that play right into Trump’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space” October surprise, when the test for reptilian alien DNA comes back positive?

    Dave (1bb933)

  70. Wouldn’t that play right into Trump’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space” October surprise, when the test for reptilian alien DNA comes back positive?

    Hmm, I guess you’re right. And he could rely on Gorsuch to rule that

    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;

    only applies to persons, not reptilians, so he does need to be a natural born Citizen. Covfefe!

    nk (1d9030)

  71. @60 I don’t know. Trump has been refusing to release his tax return for years. Nothing new there.

    I would think that the Trump team would immediately demand that Biden release all of his Senate papers, currently under lock-and-key at the University of Delaware. There’s a better case to be made that the public has a right to Biden’s Senate papers than they do to Trump’s tax returns.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  72. Regarding the UFOs and aliens and all that: What if the conspiracy theory folks have been correct all along and that every President since Truman has known about alien abductions, spaceship crashes, Area 51, and all that other folklore that most of us have been dismissing? What if Biden, being stupid, has been kept out of the loop and Trump retorts, “Ask Carter, Clinton, Bush, or Obama; they’ll tell you.” That would be the October surprise of all October surprises.

    I have a friend who at this point is probably pretty close to certifiably insane and who staunchly believes in aliens and thinks that he was briefly abducted in the New Mexico desert about thirty years ago. I think he just got hold of some really, really bad mescaline.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  73. The only aliens are from other countries. It’s silly to pretend in creatures that cannot exist according to all scientific knowledge (speed limitations).

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  74. I have a friend who at this point is probably pretty close to certifiably insane and who staunchly believes in aliens and thinks that he was briefly abducted in the New Mexico desert about thirty years ago. I think he just got hold of some really, really bad mescaline.

    Apparently, that’s a fairly common occurrence in New Mexico…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  75. I would think that the Trump team would immediately demand that Biden release all of his Senate papers, currently under lock-and-key at the University of Delaware.

    Trump demanding that Biden do something nobody has done, while himself refusing to do what everyone else (for the last 50 years) has done would probably seem perfectly reasonable to Trump’s superfans.

    Dave (1bb933)

  76. UFOs are time machines; exploratory probes from our future.

    So rest easy; the planet survives Trump. 😉

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  77. They’ve already deemed law & order a thing of the past, why not presidential debates?

    Plus they realize Joe is a zombie.
    _

    harkin (5af287)

  78. My theory is that those who believe in UFOs and aliens just have really boring lives, so they latch on to something, anything, that will provide some sort of excitement. They are kin to those who hang wind chimes.

    norcal (a5428a)

  79. If you could get an entire spacecraft to travel at the same speed as the protons we collide in my experiments at CERN, it would be possible to travel to the opposite side of the Milky Way in about 15 years (as experienced by the astronauts).

    The catch is that 100,000 years would pass here on Earth during the trip…

    :-(

    Dave (1bb933)

  80. Meanwhile…….

    NYT Health
    @NYTHealth

    Lockdown measures for the pandemic could result in an additional 6.3 million cases of T.B. and 1.4 million deaths.
    __ _

    Joshua Gaines
    @Keto_Insider
    ·
    You mean there’s a cost to deploying all our healthcare resources away from other conditions? And that cost is likely to be far greater than the damage caused by COVID-19 itself? Imagine that.
    __ _

    Buffalo
    @LAURENCEJAMS
    ·
    Many have been screaming this since March. Hysteria guided the lockdown, not calm collected analysis. Dr. John Ioannidis and others were even censored by YouTube. When do we get an apology from NYT?
    __ _

    Matthew Lewis
    @TheMrLewis82
    ·
    So, I am guessing you will count those deaths as COVID deaths due to the lockdown measures being in place because of COVID
    __ _

    thiccrichard
    @thiccrichard2
    ·
    2 days ago you called 1.3 million Germans protesting lockdown measures “neo-nazis”.

    _

    harkin (5af287)

  81. @39-
    ……Trump is a better debater…….

    Comedy gold! If you saw his Fox News Sunday interview (or any other interviews or press conferences) Trump can’t (or won’t) focus on the questions, goes off on tangents, and lies. In other words, just like any other politician.

    What makes Trump a better debater than anyone else?

    Rip Murdock (46c2ea)

  82. Dinah Moe Hum Dynamo Joe

    He couldn’t say where he was gonna go
    But I just met a boomer named Dynamo Joe

    He stroll on over, say “here’s the deal…
    I got a forty dollar bill say you can’t make me squeal”
    (Y’jes can’t do it)

    This Joe was more than a little bit dumb
    I’d say half a bubble off of plumb
    It blew my mind teh Dems would run a bum,
    between his ears uncomfortably numb
    (So we got down to it)
    An easy question, it wasn’t no trick
    No synapse firin’, he was up schiff crick
    I slowed things down, to get him in the flow
    But I didn’t hear a peep, from Dynamo Joe

    Dynamo Joe, Dynamo Joe
    Why’s this Dynamo think so slow
    Picked up a pencil, asks “what’s this fo?”
    He’s a Dynamo, Dynamo, Dynamo
    He’s teh Dynamo Joe

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  83. What makes Trump a better debater than anyone else?

    He doesn’t have to be better than anyone else, only better than Hidin’ Biden.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  84. “Biden, hit with this broadside, may literally have no response. The subject [alien invasion] will not have come up in debate prep.”

    Come on like any good Democrat….Biden will immediately promise them a path to citizenship, free health care, and a seat in the classroom…..it’s genetically coded…perhaps by aliens

    AJ_Liberty (5b2883)

  85. What makes Trump a better debater than anyone else?

    I’d say it’s the uncanny ease with which lies roll off his tongue.

    Dave (1bb933)

  86. “The catch is that 100,000 years would pass here on Earth during the trip…”

    So about the amount of time for the stink to finally leave the GOP….sign me up

    AJ_Liberty (5b2883)

  87. TV debates are substance-free performance art which tells us virtually nothing about the qualities of leadership. They typify why none of the founding fathers: (1)wooden teeth, (2)pudgy troll, (3) squeaky voice, (4) shrimp…. could get elected dog catcher today.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  88. why now? because we’re probably not going to be able to have audiences in debates this year, and that makes them different, and at the point why don’t we rethink the whole thing?

    aphrael (4c4719)

  89. So sad that the Biden family treats another family member the way Joey dementia is being treated. Pathetic wife and kids to allow this to go on. Oh well, shows the inner soul of the never trumpet herd.

    mg (8cbc69)

  90. How about the way our families are treating us, mg? Leviticus is the only one I’m sure is under forty years of age. Of the rest of us, there might be a dozen under sixty. All the rest are over sixty and some a lot over. And there our families are, letting us carry the weight of the whole world on our poor bowed old shoulders.

    nk (1d9030)

  91. why now? because we’re probably not going to be able to have audiences in debates this year, and that makes them different, and at the point why don’t we rethink the whole thing?

    aphrael (4c4719) — 8/3/2020 @ 9:49 pm

    In-person audiences ruin debates. Nothing in-depth or complicated can be discussed, because the candidates are too busy coming up with one-line zingers to get applause. Speaking of applause, emotional appeals are more likely to garner reactions from the in-person crowd. Do we really want emotions to dominate our politics? Some of history’s worst tyrants excelled at whipping up mobs. Give me boring old Calvin Coolidge any day.

    So, yes. Let’s re-think it by taking debates to a more thinking-man’s level.

    norcal (a5428a)

  92. Mend it. Don’t end it.

    norcal (a5428a)

  93. Don’t feel the weight you do, nk. Had family members suffer from Alzheimer’s, My family would never sell me out.

    mg (8cbc69)

  94. Sad that none of Joey dementia’s VP picks pass his smell test.

    mg (8cbc69)

  95. I don’t think it really matters whether there are debates or not, but the parties have already agreed to them, so they will be held. This election will be a referendum on President Trump. It will not be determined by a debate performance.

    That said, I watched and interview with Trump on Axios HBO last night. The man is positively delusional. If he answers questions in a debate like that, it won’t matter how many gaffes Biden makes.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  96. I would like to see a classic single-topic debate…..say….Resolved: Government has a role in reducing income inequality. It could then be Oxford-style where the rules are rigid….the buzzer sounds and you’re done which would get rid of the always annoying talking over each other and petty squabbling. It also gets rid of the preposterous notion that complex issues can be reduced to terse sound bites or the now popular “a show of hands”. This way there is really no need for a moderator who introduces his or her bias into what questions are posed, how they’re followed up, and how much time is allotted. Now even though I may want to get the best picture of the Presidential candidate, I may actually find it informative to make this a team debate…perhaps including the VP at minimum….but maybe a recruited party expert in the topic….so the team must craft a strategy and then execute it real time (when to go on offense…when to go one defense…when to use facts and when to use narrative) where the Presidential candidate would be required to fill a minimum number of speaking slots.

    Now with Joe and Trump this format would be challenging….as neither are deep into policy or quick with accurate facts. I would also question if the average voter would make it much beyond 15 minutes…..as we’ve been conditioned to expect 60 second answers on a matter like the importance of the national debt. Certainly there are some binary issues and character issues that really don’t need to be debated…but those issues can be highlighted in advertisements or on-line comparisons. Certainly coming up with agreement on the resolution would be the tough part….but there would be no shortage of ideas from outside. Let’s see what they know and how their brain works real time…as scary as that might be….

    AJ_Liberty (5b2883)

  97. What makes Trump a better debater than anyone else?

    He doesn’t have to be better than anyone else, only better than Hidin’ Biden.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 8/3/2020 @ 9:03 pm

    I think you misunderstand Trump’s problem; people think he’s doing a bad job as president and they dislike him personally.

    Trump needs to go on the stage and convince people he’s not an incompetent dumpster fire.

    Biden needs to go on the stage and demonstrate he’s not senile. This is made easier because he’ll be on stage with Trump. If he were on stage with say, Ted Cruze or any random republican staffer he’d likely come off looking worse.

    I watched the Biden / Sanders debate to see if Biden looked out of it. He didn’t. He looked old, but that was it.

    I think he’s going to debate. I think his team is letting this will he / won’t he play out unchallenged because it helps them if the public expectations for Biden are cthonic.

    Time123 (235fc4)

  98. I think you misunderstand Trump’s problem; people think he’s doing a bad job as president and they dislike him personally

    I think you overstate the “problem”. Some people think he’s doing a bad job. You pretend a majority sees things the way you do. I contend that’s not the case, which will likely be proven come November.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  99. Like the people who look away from carrion coumos mountain of skulls

    https://amp.dailycaller.com/2020/08/03/karen-bass-nation-of-islam-louis-farrakhan

    Narciso (7404b5)

  100. Some people think he’s doing a bad job.

    Um, no, not
    “some”. A majority thinks Trump is doing a bad job.

    Paul Montagu (f7c552)

  101. I think you misunderstand Trump’s problem; people think he’s doing a bad job as president and they dislike him personally

    I think you overstate the “problem”. Some people think he’s doing a bad job. You pretend a majority sees things the way you do. I contend that’s not the case, which will likely be proven come November.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0) — 8/4/2020 @ 5:32 am

    Today polling says that most likely voters feel that way. The election is a ways off so that can change.

    But my point, that i hope you’ve gotten by now, is that if Biden wins it will be due more to negative opinions about Trump, than to positive opinions about Biden.

    Time123 (235fc4)

  102. The notion that the debates are a measure of presidential ability is a poor one. Presidents take decisions in conference with advisors, and with all of the information that his staff can gather; debates put the candidates up on stage, with no notes, no advisors, nothing, and require him to think on his feet to answer questions in just a few seconds, with the pressure of not saying anything wrong, and needing to land that knock-down quip that send his opponent reeling. Thirteen Days by Robert Kennedy goes through the decision-taking process President Kennedy used during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and is a must read.

    But, that said, this is all a tawdry attempt to keep Joe Biden’s obvious and growing Alzheimer’s-like dementia out of the public’s view. The Democrats are trying all sorts of shades of lipstick on this particular pig, and it isn’t working.

    The left have always believed that they were just so much smarter than conservatives that the Democrats would always destroy the Republican candidates in the debates, and were shocked, shocked! when Al Gore didn’t destroy George Bush and Hillary Clinton didn’t destroy Donald Trump. Heck, the Democrats figured that the oh-so-intellectual Jimmy Carter would blow Ronnie Ray Gun out of the water. Debates are about presentation, not information, and when the Democrats had dull candidates, it showed. Now they have another dullard winning the nomination, one President Trump would have beaten in the debates even if he weren’t losing his marbles. Now that he is sinking deeper into dementia, the left see an approaching train wreck, and are desperately trying to shift it onto a different track.

    The Dana in Kentucky (f2cf00)

  103. Mr Murdock asked:

    What makes Trump a better debater than anyone else?

    He understands something most people do not: the debates are about presentation and charisma, and that’s where he excels.

    Some would disagree about 1968, but every presidential election we’ve had since 1932 has been won by the more charismatic candidate.

    The Dana in Kentucky (f2cf00)

  104. The problem is that Trump doesn’t have much to say beyond Fox & Friends or National Enquirer-level analysis. He would be far more comfortable on the set of The View. At least this is my impression after waiting four years for him to evolve. It’s fine for what it is….except it’s just not Presidential. Hey, there are legitimate arguments about what should be the role of the federal government during a pandemic, economic downturn, and racial unrest…but at every turn, Trump is less than inspirational….and oftentimes feeding discord….and confusion. I guess a defender has to defend…but it sure is exhausting to watch….

    AJ_Liberty (5b2883)

  105. He understands something most people do not: the debates are about presentation and charisma, and that’s where he excels.

    Some would disagree about 1968, but every presidential election we’ve had since 1932 has been won by the more charismatic candidate.

    The Dana in Kentucky (f2cf00) — 8/4/2020 @ 5:56 am

    I think this is pretty well known at this point and debates rarely have a huge impact. There are exceptions, such as when Christy exposed how shallow Rubio’s thinking was, but for the most part candidates aren’t able to change public opinion about them, or their opponent during the debate.

    Clinton left the debates viewed the same as she went in; Smart, unpleasant and not someone you’re going to trust. That’s probably because she’s smart unpleasant and someone you shouldn’t trust.

    It’s possible that a Trump / Biden debate will be game changing, especially if Biden is like the meme’s and jokes make him out to be. But that would be the exception to the general trend.

    Time123 (235fc4)

  106. The Dana in Kentucky (f2cf00) — 8/4/2020 @ 5:50 am

    . Now that he is sinking deeper into dementia, the left see an approaching train wreck, and are desperately trying to shift it onto a different track.

    It’s not dementia to say million when you mean thousand, or use the wrong name: Margaret Thatcher instead of Theresa May or Deng Xiaoping when he mean Xi Jinping. It just shows what he;s more used to.

    That’s not his problem in a debate. It;s questions he can;t answer. And Trump is not actually good at disputing idiocy.

    Sammy Finkelman (fe6a9b)

  107. Trump wouldn’t say anything about UFOs but now he;s come up with the idea that the government should charge for permission to make mergers with foreign companies – at least if he dislikes the companies.

    Trumps’ specialty is proposals he knows no one will endorse but where some people have difficulty arguing against them.

    The argument against that s that permission is needed when there is an issue of national security, or possibly some economic issue and it shouldnt be corrupted by charging money for approval. (unless it is a fixed tax)

    Sammy Finkelman (fe6a9b)

  108. Like Trump can answer questions? Ha, ha, ha, ha!

    Moderator: President Trump, Senator Tom Cotton has introduced a bill in the Senate making it a federal offense to trap opossums for human consumption within 1,000 feet of a trailer park. What is your position on that?

    Trump: I am the President of the United States and you’re fake news.

    Moderator: Vice President Biden, the same question.

    Biden: You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier.

    nk (1d9030)

  109. My theory is that those who believe in UFOs and aliens just have really boring lives, so they latch on to something, anything, that will provide some sort of excitement. They are kin to those who hang wind chimes.

    norcal (a5428a) — 8/3/2020 @ 8:11 pm

    I like this theory.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  110. On the rare occasions Biden actually speaks, his words fall into two main categories: either meticulously scripted vapidities, or spontaneous, enthusiastically delivered hogwash.

    Yes… he’s a lawyer.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  111. What’s wrong with wind chimes?

    The Dana in Kentucky (f2cf00)

  112. Good question. What sort of Commie prevert doesn’t like wind chimes?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  113. where Biden hidin’?
    cognitive decline bad…BAD!!!
    there is no there there

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  114. I want debates. They will clarify the glaring need for an upper age limit for high public office. I don’t dismiss the idea that Biden has age related slowing, but person, woman, man, camera, TV is no shining example of brain at work either.

    Fred (02ecbd)

  115. I can picture Biden smiling at wind chimes right now. Wind chime go bong bong.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  116. Wind chimes are a Democrat hoax to bring down the economy and hurt Trump’s reelection chances in November. They keep people from getting a good night’s sleep with all that tinkling, so they’re less productive at work the next day.

    nk (1d9030)

  117. Kudlow’s gonna have to loan Orange some of his stash just to keep awake by the time the 3rd debate rolls around.

    urbanleftbehind (8a16ee)

  118. I see teh BarcaLounger Flu is spreading now…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  119. Mr Flintstone wrote:

    I want debates. They will clarify the glaring need for an upper age limit for high public office. I don’t dismiss the idea that Biden has age related slowing, but person, woman, man, camera, TV is no shining example of brain at work either.

    The upper age limit for high public office is what the voters set at the ballot box. The good people of the Palmetto State kept Strom Thurmond in the Senate until he was 100.

    The Dana in Kentucky (f2cf00)

  120. Our Windy City barrister wrote:

    Wind chimes are a Democrat hoax to bring down the economy and hurt Trump’s reelection chances in November. They keep people from getting a good night’s sleep with all that tinkling, so they’re less productive at work the next day.

    Nothing promotes a good night’s sleep like rain on the metal roof, or the window open and the owls hooting and frogs croaking.

    The Dana in Kentucky (f2cf00)


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