Winner and Winners of the Veep Debate

The Veep debate had multiple winners, depending on what you mean by “winning.” For example:

I’d say Mike Pence won in the category of Likely 2020 GOP Front Runner. Word is that the Republican establishment is weeping and wailing today that Pence isn’t at the top of the ticket instead of Trump.

Mike Pence also arguably won in the category of Coming Across as More Reasonable Than He Really Is. Pence actually is a five-alarm whackjob who got into politics after hosting an Indiana radio show, apparently as a softer-spoken version of Rush Limbaugh. He is anti-women, anti-science, anti-LGBT rights, anti-Black Lives Matter, and pretty much anti-modern secular society. But the Crazy Vibes didn’t come through the teevee monitor.

And Mike Pence probably won the Sympathy category, since Kaine came across as something of an over-eager attack dog, especially in the first 30 minutes or so of the debate.

I believe Tim Kaine won Most Effective Sound Bites, which probably is what he was going for. Examples:

“So it’s smart not to pay for our military, our veterans and our teachers? And I guess all of us who pay for those things are stupid.”

“Donald Trump can’t start a Twitter war with Miss Universe without shooting himself in the foot.”

“If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership, then you’ve got to go back to a fifth grade civics class.”

Mike Pence, on the other hand, had the Most Talked-About Sound Bites. These were “I try to spend a little time on my knees every day” and everyone’s favorite, “Senator, you whipped out that Mexican thing again.”

Stephen Colbert: “That Mexican thing? That Mexican thing? It has a name governor,” Colbert said. “I call it Pedro. And it taught me Spanish.”

Not touchin’ that.

TimKaine won the Fact-Checker Award. According to Politifact, 79 percent of Kaine’s statements were true or mostly true, versus 31 percent of Pence’s statements.

Pence was at a disadvantage, of course, because time and time again Kaine challenged him to defend some dumb thing Trump had said, and Kaine had little recourse but to pretend The Donald hadn’t actually said those things. Here’s a run-down.

I’ll be really astonished to not see a television ad showing Pence denying things Trump had said, followed by the video of Trump saying them. Bottom line, Pence is at least self-aware enough to know that he couldn’t defend Trump directly without looking ridiculous. His debate performance amounted to throwing Trump under the bus while pretending he wasn’t really throwing Trump under the bus.

More winners:

The Unintended Irony Award goes to Donald J. Trump. While Mike Pence was rejecting the charge that Trump was running an “insult-driven campaign,” Trump was on Twitter, posting insults.

Elaine Quijano gets the award for First Asian-American Woman to Moderate a Vice Presidential Debate. I thought she did pretty well; definitely better than Matt Lauer, and no worse than Lester Holt.

Now, who won the debate? I’m hearing people say Pence won on style and Kaine won on substance, and I can’t argue with that.  I don’t think it will move the needle much, if at all. I agree with the FiveThirtyEight crew, that this debate will be quickly forgotten.

Well, except for the Mexican Thing. That’ll be with us for awhile.

9 thoughts on “Winner and Winners of the Veep Debate

  1. Pence won on style; he maintained a calm demeanor and made Kaine look like an attack dog. That said,there was not much truthiness from him and he made a few huge blunders as the clock progressed: 1) he brought up the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation may have a few closets here and there they prefer you don’t look into, but they are a real charitable foundation and use the monies they receive efficiently, as rated by third parties. This lead Kaine to bring up the Trump Foundation, the “yuuge” Trump painting and all the financial squirreliness of that scam of an organization. 2) Pence dug himself a hole on the abortion issue. Most people rabidly against Choice are well past reproductive age, and over 70% of people in the country support choice at some level. Bringing up partial birth abortions, specifically, shows that he and his minions intend to continue with the full-tilt misogyny they are famous for. Kaine, to his credit, is aware of and would be bound by the first amendment (too bad Casey wasn’t, in years past. I would have preferred Clinton had picked a more feminist running mate). 3) Pence, keeping to script, closed with Trumpian “doom and gloom”. The deficit is up. It isn’t. Crime is up. It isn’t. The economy is a mess. Nope– not surging, but pretty solid.There’s a Jihadi behind every bush. Again, you are way more likely to die from drinking water in Republican-controlled industrial cities than by foreign terrorism. I don’t see the “End is Near” stuff getting much traction.

  2. I still resent the fact that this page has no “like” button and I have to type the fact that I really really like this posting. I wanted to post a comment on whipping out the Mexican thing today, but Colbert saved me the trouble. It reminds me of Blazing Saddles. I’m sure everyone remembers Cleavon Little’s big “line”.

    Looking forward to seeing the new HRC ad.

  3. I guess it would be a tie, but only because the sleepy somnambulistic and low energy Pence generally looked calm and collected, even while not rebutting nearly anything that Kaine threw at him. Kaine was playing the attack dog role, pretty well, but viewers may have thought him too aggressive and brash at times, never mind he was really the only one engaged in a meaningful way. Still, a lot out there like calm and cool under fire, a bit like Reagan was, but this guy is no Reagan. And a bit right evidently of Attilla the Hun.
    The main thing I think most would take out of it is that Pence is definitely anti-abortion, while Kaine is pro-choice. I think this would be an important point in Kaine’s and Hillary’s favor to a good many women, especially. Pence did nothing to allay any concerns that pro-choice folks would have about the ticket he’s on.
    I think I hear a hue and cry coming from GOP backers that the ticket is misaligned, and they probably look forward to Pence, crazed though he is in many, many ways, to lead their 2020 ticket. And wishing that he were now.

  4. If t-RUMP loses – praying to the FSM!!! – Pence will be no good to the base in 2020. He’ll have been a Congresscritter and Governor, and hence, will be considered part of the GOP establishment.
    He was on a losing team, so, forget him. He can dream, but he’s got no chance.
    Ditto, “Privatizing” Ryan.

    t-RUMP has given a huge jolt to bigotry in this country.
    And they base will want a winnable alt-right, uber-“Christian” psychopath, with all of t-RUMP’s “charisma” – or at least his energy.
    So, what the base will look for is someone as bad – if not worse – than t-RUMP!

    Some possibilities:
    -KY uber-“Christian” radical conservative KY GOP Gov. Matt Bevin.
    -Sen. Tom Cotton – the treasonous, traitorous, pencil-necked radical lunatic and psychopathic “Christian, who wrote to the Iranians NOT to accept Obama’s terms on the nuclear deal.
    -FL’s alien life-form Gov, Rick Scott, will only be 67. But, I don’t think he’ll crack through.
    -TE Cruz – again!
    -Marco Rubio – again But, he’ll have no chance.
    -OH’s Gov, Kasich, will try again. But, I don’t think he’s got the charisma.
    -And a(n) (assw)hole list of others.

    They’ll want some liberal blood.
    They may get some election day, or soon after. But that’ll only wet their taste.

    The GOP base – or, whatever the GOP morphs into – will want some serious fucking KKKRAZEE!!!!


  5. I guess Pence keeps in contact with Trump on a daily basis.. And he really does spend a little time on his knees every day. Pence should learn to stand on the word of God rather than living on his knees in obeisance to Trump. Blind ambition can be a cruel master!

    Wake up, Pence. That Holy Spirit who you claim through allusion and is supposed to lead you into all truths doesn’t seem to be working for you. Not to put words into the mouth of the Holy Spirit but you are being used by Trump to serve his own ambitions. It could be a symbiotic relationship where you both abandon all values to satisfy your ambitions. Trump will cast you off like a used rubber the minute he can’t get any more mileage out of your professed Christian faith. In Christian vernacular… You’ve traded your birthright for a bowl of pottage. And you’ll carry the stain of association with Trump and all of his racist, misogynistic, bullying, xenophobic, narcissistic, haughty, and every other vile characteristic that can dwell within the human spirit. You’re’ll go the way of Sarah Palin.

  6. 2020? That’s a zero year, allegedly with an Indian curse on it; anyone elected then dies in office. You could argue that Reagan broke it… but his mind died in office. You could argue that W broke it… but he wasn’t really elected in 2000. So, is this a problem?

  7. I heard an NPR report on conservative welfare states that have gutted the block grants for welfare, using the money on anti-abortion programs, marriage counseling – even scholarships. If I recall, Indiana was leading the pack having skimmed 50% of welfare money to programs unrelated to welfare. This is pure hateful policy – making war on the poor ant is’s the model for the ‘block grants’ that the states want to be the norm.

    Unfortunately, the issue is almost too nuanced for a 15-second sound bite, so it’s unknown, even to most welfare recipients in Indiana who are only told they don’t qualify for cash assistance.

  8. I know it qualifies as rat-fornication but how do you start a rumor that Pence is part of a conspiracy to impeach Trump right after he’s sworn in (if he wins). The paranoid Trump would see all his enemies in on the plot and the internal bloodletting would be glorious.
    (I am not a nice person.)

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