Mike Pence opened the debate with lie so shocking it was embarrassing to watch. With a smarmy tone he said, “Since he took office, Donald Trump has made the health of the American people his priority.” He said this while Trump is roaming the White House infected with COVID and risking the lives of his staff and the Secret Service. This was one of many statements made by Pence that described Trump in ways that most people know is false. Although he conducted himself with more self-control and civility than Trump did in last weeks aggressive debate embarrassment, he did manage to be condescending and passive-aggressive. He repeatedly said to Harris, “You aren’t entitled to your own facts” and then proceeded to make false statements about Biden’s record and to completely misrepresent the Trump/Pence handling of the pandemic. He arrogantly continued the Administration’s commitment to lying, spin, and propaganda. However, he did make sure he spoke to the base by mentioning he was pro-choice, religious, unwilling to criticize police brutality, and committed to a conservative judiciary.
While both candidates avoided directly answering certain questions, Harris dodged questions that were of less consequence to the morality and safety of America. She didn’t give an update on the Biden/ Harris position on the Green New Deal or if a plan as been discussd between her and Biden should he become ill while in office. However, Pence held back on answers to questions related to the equal rights for women regarding their reproductive health and as to whether he sees climate change as an existential threat. The moderator was ineffective in holding the candidates to giving direct answers to the questions. She also allowed Pence to disregard her authority as he “politely” refused to adhere to debate rules. Maybe it was a generational problem for her to stand up to a controlling man the way Harris was able to do.
Pence’s halting, rehearsed communication style created an air of dishonesty and suspicion. When asked a question he didn’t like, he defiantly filibustered on a different topic. He refused to comment on whether it was irresponsible to hold the now infamous super- spreader Rose Garden event announcing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. He also refused to elaborate on how far he would go in support of eliminating abortion rights for women. His technique of talking slow and low in contrast to the mania of Trump backfired as reviews described him as boring, passionless, and dishonest. He interrupted Harris, bullied his way to get more time to talk and droned on about topics unrelated to the questions he was asked. A common misogynist strategy is to talk in a less aggressive voice and still be abusive or dismissive.
Pence had the monumentally difficult job of defending a disastrous president who is going down in flames. Harris made that job harder with her opening statement on the pandemic “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any administration in the history of this country.” Pence kept pivoting to the January 28th travel ban on China that Trump claims saved millions of lives. However, the Associated Press has reported facts about the ban that Pence conveniently left out;
“Trump imposed pourous restrictions on travel from China after other countries had already done so. His action was a restriction, not a ban. Travel from the China terrortories of Hong Kong and Macoa was allowed to continue and approximately 8,000 Chinese travelers entered the U.S. for the next 5 months. Additionally, approximately 27,000 Americans returned from mainland China during this time after the restrictions were in place and an adequate contact tracing program was not in place to while the virus began spreading.”
Harris’s performance was not full of lies. Politicians will often refuse to answer questions for strategic reasons. Pence got agitated when Kamala evaded giving a direct answer, yet he continued to consistently ignore the content of the questions. When Kamala pointed out Trump’s COVID response failure, the failure of his trade war with China, his tax evasion, the refusal to denounce white supremacy, his attempts to suppress the vote, and not confronting Putin on the bounty’s Russia put on U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Pence’s face looked embarrassed and pained. Last night the Vice- President proved that for him, being an evangelical Christian does not include being honest. For now, at least, Pence has abandoned some of Jesus’s moral teachings because his current Savior is Trump.
Biblical interpretation of a fly is ” evil, death, rotting.” It didn’t land on Kamala.
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