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The First Biden V. Trump Debate is Tonight , and I Have Questions

Tonight is the first of three debates scheduled between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. As is my custom, I like to comment on these issues.

As regular readers of my blog will note I have commented a lot less on politics of late. The reason is not that I don’t have thoughts or opinions, but rather it is about the culture. Our nation is so divided right now that I don’t think adding to the flame any more gasoline is helpful. Therefore, I have refrained.

Yet, we do have an election coming up, and I have questions for both candidates. Chris Wallace of Fox News is moderating tonight, and he did a fantastic job four years ago (read my review of that debate here and please notice how some things never change), nevertheless, I really would like to be the one asking the questions.

Yep — It Comes Down To Which Old White Guy You Want

So here we go — and we’ll start with the challenger.

Questions for Joe Biden

  1. Mr. Vice President, your record through the years on abortion has changed several times, most recently during the 2020 Democratic Primaries. How would you describe your position on abortion right now?
  2. Famously you had to withdraw from your Presidential Race in 1988 because it was discovered you plagiarized your speeches. What have you learned since then?
  3. You’ve made it clear you would raise taxes. Will these taxes be across the board, or will you exploit the current sentiment among Democratic voters of class envy? Will you seek to institute a wealth tax, and if so, for what income level?
  4. Your opponents label you as a socialist. How do you respond to them?
  5. You’ve criticized the President for nominating a conservative justice for the Supreme Court. Would you pledge right now to nominating a moderate rather than a liberal if you are given the opportunity?
  6. As a part of the Obama campaign, you mocked then candidate Mitt Romney for declaring Russia was the greatest threat to America. In the past four years, you along with other Democrats have suggested Russia is again a huge threat. When were you wrong — then against Romney or have you made too much of Russia now?
  7. Sir, it is one thing to appeal for racial reconciliation and pledge a just and fair administration, but what would you do? In other words, are you in favor of reparations for descendants of slavery in America?
  8. You were instrumental in pushing through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Many point out the weakness and deficiencies in the law. What, if anything, would you do to change or alter it? Are you in favor of a single-payer system?
  9. You have criticized some, or really all, of the President’s comments and statements about COVID-19, but what, substantially, would you have done policy wise that would be different from what the federal government has done? Please be specific.
  10. You and other Democratic candidates criticized President Trump for his immigration policies, particularly child-separation, during the primaries. What is your plan for immigration, and do you support amnesty for illegal aliens currently in the country, and if you could, detail how you explain the fairness of this to those who take the time and follow the law?
  11. Taking Barack Obama off the table, because you worked with him, who is your favorite President in American history and why?

Questions for President Donald J. Trump.

  1. Mr. President, everyone knows before you ran for President you were adamantly pro-abortion. What changed you mind to make you so pro-life, and, sir, have you ever paid for someone to have an abortion?
  2. In the late 1980s you were bankrupt and your business empire was collapsing. You recovered, and apparently turned things around. What did you learn about your failure then, and how might that help you in a second term?
  3. The first thing you did as President was push for a large tax cut which has led to large corporate profits but did not help the average American very much. Would you make any changes to your tax policy in a second term? How would you describe your overall tax policy?
  4. Your opponents label you as a fascist. How do you respond to them?
  5. Do you think it is hypocritical of Congressional Republicans to push through your recent Supreme Court nominee in light of what they did to Merrick Garland and then President Barack Obama? If the answer is no, how would you explain the fairness of this to someone?
  6. Why do you placate dictators and authoritarians so much, especially Vladimir Putin. More specifically, do you stand by your Helsinki press conference where you said you believed Putin over your own intelligence agencies?
  7. One of the perceptions of your administration is that you don’t care for “Blue States” and have even tried to punishment them for leaning Democratic. Is this how you really feel? In the same vain, how would you defend your policies toward Portland and Washington, D. C. where you seem to be instigating more violence and unrest than actually helping anything calm down?
  8. Why is your administration in court right now attempting to take away the pre-existing conditions requirement of the Affordable Care Act? Wouldn’t strengthening or tweaking the original bill be a better course of action, especially considering Republicans have yet, in the twelve years since the ACA was passed, put forth any alternative plan?
  9. What would you do differently if you were given a chance to redo the response your administration had to the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you regret any of the wild statements you’ve made?
  10. One of your signature issues in 2016 was immigration. Do you believe illegal immigration is still a problem? If so, what would you do differently with another four years to solve the problem?
  11. Taking yourself off the table, because of obvious reasons, who is your favorite President in American history and why?

The Las Vegas Democratic Debate

I don’t have a lot of time for detailed analysis — but here is my hot take. Keep in mind as you read, Greenbean has no dog in this hunt, no horse in the race, no lettuce in this salad. I don’t trust any politicians but I enjoy observing the process. This makes me perfectly impartial.

Let me take them in order as they come to mind.

Exactly how many nondisclosure agreements have you signed with
former employees, Mr Weinstein, I mean, Mayor Bloomberg?

Elizabeth Warren crushed it. Desperation seems to bring out the best in her. Her performance last night made me yearn to see her and President Trump on the same stage together. We could erase the national debt selling tickets to that event. I really liked how she called out Bloomberg right out of the gate. That was priceless, and her line about ‘substituting one arrogant billionaire for another’ was brilliant. Great rhetoric.

Why is Joe Biden screaming? He seems to have no middle tone. Uncle Joe is either down home folksy or angry yelling. I don’t think that is a strategy for long term endearment. He should go eat some ice cream and chill. I know his main asset is the association with President Obama, but he needs to stop talking about that. President Obama won the last election he’ll ever have. If Biden wants to be President, he needs to tell us about him.

Bloomberg was not prepared. Surely someone on his staff briefed him on how they would come at him? Surely? If not, Mayor Bloomberg, for a couple of billion of your dollars, I’ll help you get ready for the next one. If – you – make – it – that- far.

Bernie Sanders would get crushed by Donald Trump. The class envy which fuels his platform is only working for a third of Democrats, but the United States would choose mean tweets and Apprentice: White House (who will get fired this week?) over someone coming to take their hard earned livelihood. Capitalism is not perfect, but Bernie Sanders has a real disdain for it.

Amy Klobuchar didn’t have a strong night like she did in New Hampshire, but she recovered from the cheap shot Pete Buttigieg and had the best closing statement. Klobuchar needs to smile more — Like President Obama had, her smile is a powerful tool at her disposal. It would also behoove her to get specific. When the Univision Reporter scolded her for not knowing the President of Mexico’s name, she should have turned that around and said, “You’re right. It was a bad moment, I forgot his name, but what I will never ever forget is children in cages on the border, and here is the policy I will implement immediately . . .”

Pete Buttigieg had moments where he came across as human and reasonable. He also had moments where he was petulant and, I must say, cringeworthy. His attacks on Klobuchar were forced and unnatural in the context. I also think he missed the memo that Bloomberg and Bernie were the targets. But then, he kind of likes his billionaires. Also, and this is completely aesthetic, but it looked like Buttigieg forgot to pack his razor. I mean, if he is growing a beard that would be awesome, but the day old stubble didn’t look good at all.


Two more observations real fast before I get to work. First, the moderators for this event were not very good. I don’t know what their plan was, but they kept talking over the candidates, one another, and trying to orchestrate ‘gotcha’ moments. That is not what voters want from moderators. Ask policy or issue questions and them step back, please. Second, Anyone besides me notice foreign policy and the gun debate were missing from this debate? In other words, this debate was served up perfectly for Bernie Sanders.

Predictions for 2020

Each New Year I engage in a futile effort to predict things for the coming year. I am averaging about 30% correct, which I take as pretty good. Last year’s predictions were a little off, especially my financial predictions, but I was correct in the general feel of the predictions — trade uncertainty, volatility in the markets, and Brexit being a major destabilizing factor.

So, what do I think 2020 has in store . . .


10. I am betting the field against Joe Biden. I do not think he will get the nomination for the Democratic Party. Neither will Bernie Sanders.

9. The Seahawks and Forty-Niners will meet again in the playoffs, and the Seahawks will win 35 to 21, Russell Wilson will throw four touchdown passes.

8. Tom Hanks will win best actor for his portrayal of Mr. Rogers.

7. The sugar-stick policy by the Fed of lowering interest rates will have to end eventually, and it will be this year. The result will be a reality-check in the markets and something that looks like, but not as severe as, the 2008 recession will occur. I suspect it will involve tech companies.

6. The political polarization in the nation will manifest itself in an electoral college tie in November.

5. Netflix will be bought or merged. I can really only see two possible candidates to buy it: Apple or AT&T. The Trump DOJ will fight AT&T and could stop it because they hate AT&T, so that might keep them out. Apple is flush with cash and just looking for a place to spend it. Plus, Apple TV has been and always will be a dud, so they will use buy one.

4. The Houston Astros will again win the American League pennant, and will again lose to a National League team and it feels like it is time for The San Francisco Giants to rise again.

3. The Senate will cast sixty-one votes to impeach President Trump, which is not enough to remove him from office but will expose a growing divide in the Republican Party.

2. Under growing pressure from a disaffected public, Iran will either collapse or it will create a diversion by turning the quiet war with Saudi Arabia into open warfare killing thousands, if not millions.

1. Julian Castro will be the Vice Presidential nominee for whoever wins the nomination. For a while I was thinking it would Kamala Harris, but I’ve got even money the nominee is Elizabeth Warren, and if the Dems go centrist, their candidate is Klobuchar (if she can stay in long enough). A woman at the top will seek to pick a man, and Castro is more feisty than Booker or Beto.

ROMNEY VS OBAMA–FLASH DEBATE OPINION

ROUND ONE: ROMNEY

I just finished watching the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado between President Obama and Mitt Romney. I didn’t get to watch it in real time because they scheduled it during my small group meeting. I told both candidates that Wednesday night was a church night and not very good for me. They were both willing to change it but the networks wouldn’t budget. Sigh.

So, I DVR’d it and as soon as I got home I popped some popcorn and watched it straight through. My family even watched it with me. Kim swiped my popcorn and finished it off but I didn’t care. I was in a political geek mojo.

Let me disclaim two things. One–I endorse no political candidate. I have reservations about Mr. Romney and the President supports some public policies which I find untenable. Two–I have not fact checked anything. My opinion here is based solely on the performance of the debate as a speaking art.

Here is what I noticed and what interested me.

1. Mitt Romney won the debate, hands down. In fact, he commanded the stage over the President. This surprised me quite a bit, to be honest. Mr. Romney was focused and on message. He succeeded in presenting the President as a ‘big government’ man contrasted with his ‘small business’ model.

2. The President looked very uncomfortable defending the home field. Four years ago he was the one fighting for change and that fit him well. Now, he has to defend the status quo and that does not come as natural for him. Several times he talked about bad things like corporations and loopholes for moving companies. That is usually something the challenger should say, not the incumbent.

3. Jim Lehrer was awful. I’ve seen him moderate other debates much better than this one. Tonight he seemed to have no control. His questions were okay enough, but they were not as specific as one would like. However he failed miserably to keep the candidates on target and on time. It felt like there were so many other topics that needed to be addressed that were never gotten to.

4. The President needs to smile more. He has a great affable smile that makes me want to like him. However, tonight he was in full “Professor Obama” mode and kept his likeable nature bottled up. I do not know if this was a calculated decision or just how he felt tonight, but it was not a positive for him.

5. Mr. Romney could have played one of the robots from the Terminator movies.

6. What was that noise about three quarters through the debate backstage? Both Romney and the President jumped and turned to look. I bet they were both thinking the same thing: Duck!

7. Neither one wore very nice ties. Romney’s tie had a funky knot I didn’t like and the Presidents tie screamed NERD.

LOOK AT THOSE HIDEOUS NECKTIES

Okay, those are the things I noticed. I’m going to bed now. I am looking forward to the Paul Ryan VS Joe Biden debate. Joe Biden scares me, which is why I pray for the Presidents health often.