Friday, June 28, 2024

First Impressions of the First Debate

 This is not what I anticipated as I thought about doing a blog on the debate.  The talk has been overwhelmingly about Biden's poor performance.  Up front, before the debate I believe that Americans thinking Donald Trump should even be allowed to run for political office reflects very poorly on them.  I will try to give a more positive, but honest perspective.

The problems should not be attributed to the moderators.  They gave each candidate a chance to make their case.  In a few instances they reminded a candidate a chance to use remaining time to answer a question. 

The memory of the last 16 years is pathetic.  Several years ago in 2009 Barack Obama took over a big economic mess that should have alarmed all Americans.  Over eight years he cleaned it up and handed a growing economy to Donald Trump.  Trump gave out a huge tax reduction plan that not only increased inequality (not really noticed by most) and increased the national debt (again not understood by most).  For three years he bragged as if the economy was due to his management, not noticing that things were slipping.  By about his fourth year something unexpected (although Obama and Biden knew such an event was coming) happened, the Covid-19 pandemic.  Trump handled it almost criminally trying to blame others, encouraging ideological resistance to masks and vaccinations, even suggesting harmful remedies.  It was estimated that he might be responsible for over 100,000 deaths.  Regardless, supply chains were very disrupted.  Pumping money to individuals and businesses kept the economy moving, but of course hurt the debt and led to later inflation.  Biden took over the mess and better than most nations was able to build up jobs and wrestle with inflation.  Did Americans think the pandemic would have no long range impact on their lives?

I was disappointed with Biden's presentation--he did seem like an old man who needed to clear his throat.  He stumbled over words and missed opportunities to challenge Trump's lies.   Biden's facts were much more accurate.  He did get personal one time when he called Trump an "alley cat" which was not too far exaggerated.  

Trump was more personal and distracting.  Changed topic to get in more insults and victimizing.  Did refrain from interrupting.  He was always "perfect".  Avoided some questions even when given extra time to do so on climate change, abortion and January 6th.  Really skirted around whether he would respect the election results.

Trump seized  on immigration emphasizing terrorists and drugs.  Overlooking he vetoed a bipartisan proposal that would have greatly minimized the issue.  Also overlooked that America needs immigrants to survive.  Also unaware it seems, that climate change has become a major factor in the desperation displayed by immigrants on many fronts.

In general Trump exaggerated problems of Biden and bragged about his administration well beyond lying.

Trump claimed war in Ukraine would never have started under him.   To me it is obvious that Putin has some hold on him.  The Mueller Report was dishonestly dismissed.  Much material was redacted, but even so many connections were established. and his actions all seemed in line with Putin's goals.  See

Trump claimed he had nothing to do with the war in Israel.   He tried to make a deal with Saudi Arabia without consulting Palestine.  He also moved the US. embassy to Jerusalem again without consulting Palestine. 

The discussion on CNN  and elsewhere was very negative regarding Biden.  He needed to build confidence and failed.

What do you do?  Some are defending on substance and they do have a point and one can hopefully see that voters will see that, but I am very doubtful.  Too many are buying into Trump lies.

Kamala Harris was my first choice during the 2019 Democratic primaries, but she was one of the first to exit.   She defended him agreeing Biden's style was poor, but his substance was good and the alternative is dangerous.   John King thought Kamala had been "kept under wraps", but is quite capable.  Hopefully her scheduled debate will be paid attention as it seems likely the Republican Vice President candidate will be selected for loyalty to Trump.

To me the Democrats need a team approach.  One commentator reminded us that whenever an incumbent is challenged they are more likely to lose the next election.  Ted Kennedy helped Jimmy Carter lose.    Apparently getting on some state ballots has to have been done already.  Bakari Sellers said if the party picked a "white dude" jumping over Kamala Harris (a black woman) there would be strong protests from the Democrats.   A team approach would have to elevate Kamala who has the ability to boost the campaign.  Cabinet ministers, House and Senate leaders. need to be involved.  If Republicans gain more control in Congress we can be sure they will continue and increase obstruction.

Nothing major can be done without co-operation from Joe Biden and perhaps his wife Jill.  If the Republicans are too gleeful about the results of the debate they may get unwanted attention.

It seems the world is tilting to extreme conservatives.  The world desperately needs more progressive leadership regarding climate change and democracy.  Today is very discouraging.  I can only imagine what the Democrats can do, but hopefully (I may be overusing that word) someone will get started in making necessary adjustments.  This is only a first impression.

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