• Trump, Biden Square Off: One Survives, One Stumbles

    Surge Summary: Joe Biden survived presidential debate number one — and so the decided impression is that he won. President Trump’s disagreeable behavior during the event didn’t help his cause either. It’s unlikely many if any undecideds were won Trump’s way. The moderator was obviously Trump-hostile — but that’s reality and the President is going to have to be able to deal with it. His team better hope for a better result in debate number two. 

    By Steve Pauwels

    “The thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.” – Job 3:25 (NKJV)

    That renowned biblical plaint could be reworked and embraced by Republicans and many a Trump supporter these days following 2020’s first Presidential Debate: After months of conservatives’ often vicious lampooning Democratic candidate Joe Biden for his obvious cognitive struggles, the bar had been so lowered for his debate appearance that … well, since he survived ninety minutes against Donald Trump, the dominant verdict seems to be Biden essentially won. It’s a possibility not a few had floated, warning that while so many others dismissed the former Delaware Senator as a doddering joke, those meager expectations could accrue to his advantage — which seems to be the exact outcome.

    The president’s relentlessly ill-mannered, uncontrolled performance didn’t help his cause either.

    Let me be clear: Joe Biden hardly impressed, at best shuffling uninspiringly through the weighty night. But no … the nearly seventy-eight-year-old Democratic contender didn’t finish the event drooling onto the podium. He didn’t blank out for twenty seconds at a stretch, staring vacant-eyed into the camera. His presentation was palpably Lefty, wrong-headed, indeed … but he remained coherent. Contra the mocking expectations of so many on the opposing side of the political aisle, Biden did manage to hold it together. He did string together an evening-full of intelligible sentences.

    The Donkey-party’s guy is pretty much an empty-suit, misguided on nearly every policy matter. But – again – he survived this introductory confrontation with Donald Trump. For him at this point of the game, that notches a tactical — and not inconsequential — win.

    No denying, the president had his solid moments as well:  Pushing Joe B. to the wall on his unreleased list of Supreme Court nominees and utter lack of police union support was a high point for Trump. His “47 months vs. 47 years” crack? A body-blow.

    Regrettably for President of the United States number 45, whatever thumbs up he earned on Tuesday night were steamrolled – obliteratingly so — by his insufferable, never-ending, hectoring conduct. Even if the opposition is a lying Joe Biden – unrelenting rudeness gets old, fast. It doesn’t play well with legions of those authorized to vote DT in or out just over a month from now.

    True enough the Dem candidate’s snapping that Trump is a “clown” and barking “Shup up!” at him was unseemly. Say what you will about the man; he is the President of the United States. But Biden’s impropriety was positively smothered by his adversary’s clangorous harrumphing, interrupting bellowing.  The former looked practically dignified by comparison to the latter. Fact is, who knows how many other potential Biden-blunders were contravened by Donald Trump’s stubborn refusal to allow him to finish a statement.

    Trump looked relatively competent during the happening’s first few minutes. Some of his early jousts were clear, substantive. When his boorish squawking started, however, he began a precipitous slide not only stylistically but content-wise. And that’s pretty much how it went until the painfully anti-Trump “moderator” Chris Wallace gaveled the proceedings to a close.

    l DT’s response to the Fox News host’s interrogation about his executive order’s shutting down Critical Race Theory indoctrination of federal government-employees was a jumbled, fuzzy mess.

    l When challenged about the “myth” of mail-in ballot fraud he sputtered disjointedly about “solicited” ballots vs. “unsolicited” ballots. Umm, you mean “absentee ballots” vs. those simply sent out to everyone? Those are term most viewers would have actually recognized.

    l Would he accept the results if he loses the election in five weeks? His basic answer to that “gotcha” question was – alarmingly and politically counterproductively: No. Trump-endorsing pundit Ben Shapiro was succinct: “A complete fail … extraordinarily counterproductive.”

    Nothing like playing into the Lefty-Crazies’ cartoonish stereotypes of a dictator-in-the-waiting!

    I understand the Trump-Can-Never-Do-Wrong-Ever-Ever-Ever side bristle at this reality; and will never admit it’s precisely what occurred. That aside, for those voters who turn up their lip at both November’s major options, the debate was an opportunity for POTUS to reassure them: Yes, don’t worry! You can cast a ballot for me and still be responsible!

    Trump squandered that opportunity. Bungled it. Ostentatiously.

    As already acknowledged, Wallace’s contribution was nothing short of a scandal. I admit, I used to think him a demonstrably fair, objective, equal-opportunity-offender interviewer. No more. This week’s outing confirmed Chris Wallace just another prominent media figure who’s succumbed to Trump-Derangement Syndrome. The format? With him at the helm? Anything but fair to America’s current Chief Exec.

    But that’s the way it is, and likely will remain for the rest of this campaign cycle. Trump’s a New York tough-guy, right? The world’s greatest negotiator who’s “spent his whole life preparing for” clashes with the Hillary-, Joe Biden-, Chris Wallace-types? He’s famously boasted about his eschewing of “traditional” debate prep.  Might be time to reconsider that policy.

    More than one person has observed JB looked unwell – pallid, fragile; and he did. But, once again, the fellow across the stage from him frittered away even that advantage. While he did appear florid and more robust than Biden, the President also slouched dyspeptically at the podium for most of the night, glowering at the Democrat. Moreover, Biden, conversely and strikingly, looked directly at the thirty million-plus folks who tuned in and spoke to them, repeatedly appealing to them. It was probably the strongest card the erstwhile vice-president played.

    When 10:30 EST chimed Tuesday night, had Donald Trump snagged one vote he hadn’t already secured when the whole soiree had kicked off an hour-and-a-half before? Doubtless.  Had he driven away scads of undecideds who’d been entertaining doubts about his suitability as Leader of the Free World but were still amenable to persuasion?  Very plausibly.

    Trump enthusiasts aren’t doing him any favors by sycophantically chortling about how he “owned” “Sleepy Joe” in Presidential Debate 2020 1.0. They’d better be hoping the Democrats don’t succeed in scotching plans for contest number two. They’d better make sure their man doesn’t repeat his abysmal performance of a few days ago.

    Heretofore, it’s seemed pretty incomprehensible to me a majority of registered voters would, in the crunch, choose to put a manifestly diminished Joe Biden into the Oval Office. One or two more displays like that turned in this week by the current White House occupant? I may have to reassess my assumption.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    Image: Screen Shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW1lY5jFNcQ

    Steve Pauwels

    Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH, Managing Editor over at dailysurge.com and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.

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