We in the Scriber home thought that Chris Wallace, the one legitimate newsman at Fox, would keep the debate honest and on track. Not so. We knew the train wreck was coming right from the start. The format, agreed to by all parties, called for each combatant to have 2 minutes to respond to one of Wallace’s questions. Then would follow an open discussion. Oops - I meant free for all. In the horror show that ensued, Trump talked over Biden and basically ignored Wallace’s admonitions. I started keeping track of how long it would take for Trump to interrupt Biden. My data range from 6 seconds to 18 seconds. And when not verbally interrupting, Trump was making faces, shaking his head, scowling, in short being Trump-like.
It was a real shit-show.
Following are some references (with thanks to Editor-at-Large Sherry).
Chris Wallace faces criticism for letting candidates run wild in first debate reports politico.com. Much of the event was plagued with crosstalk as President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden and the moderator talked over one another. But much of that was from Trump.
Politico.com reports on Why Trump resorted to torching the debate. Unlike in 2016, he lacks a clear message or line of attack against his opponent. What remained was bullying, interruptions and ad hominem provocations.
Yes, that debate was everything everyone has already said it was: “a disgrace,” (Jake Tapper), “a s—show” (Dana Bash), “a train wreck” (Ari Fleischer), “The clusterf— in Cleveland” (a POLITICO colleague).
But why? Why did Trump, down by six points in the polls and facing his last chance to turn things around, come into the first debate against Joe Biden with a strategy — if that’s what it can be called — of blowing up the event with 90 minutes of bullying, interruptions, and ad hominem provocations?
Tuesday [from 2016] was different for three reasons.
First, Trump, the king of powerfully simplistic political branding, no longer seems to have a message. …
In 2016, Trump had a clear and concise line of attack against Hillary Clinton … Those supporters in 2020 can’t seem to muster the same amount of antipathy for the former vice president.
Finally, and most important, Trump in 2020 is burdened with a record, one that has sunk him into chronic unpopularity for several years now …
Tom Friedman, at the NY Times, tells us that Trump Sent a Warning. Let’s Take It Seriously. Our democracy is in terrible danger — more than since the Civil War, more than after Pearl Harbor, more than during the Cuban missile crisis.
Admittedly, Biden did not particularly shine in tonight’s debate. Alas, I have never seen him shine in any debate. But I have no doubt that the people, values and integrity he would bring into government would be of a quality that the nation deserves.
If Trump’s monstrous performance left you feeling that you want four more years of his presidency — that he will respect the outcome of the election if it goes against him, that he will reunite the country, that he will do the presidency proud and surround himself with people of the quality that the country deserves — then you and I were watching different debates.
To get back a semblance of unity and sanity, Biden has to win. And that is why I have only one answer to every question now: Vote for Biden — do it by mail early if you must, but if you can, please, put on a mask and do it in person. If enough of us do that, Biden can win outright with the votes cast on Election Day, instead of waiting for all the mail-in ballots to be counted, thereby giving time for Trump and Fox News to muddy the outcome.