I grimaced and sputtered the first time that Tim Kaine interrupted during last night’s vice-presidential debate. Not only did I desire a more adult conversation following the dreadful theatrics of Donald Trump in the first debate but I wanted to see a real turn back to the standards of the past for these national moments. I was left disappointed.
For pure polish and plowing forward regardless of all that the past week produced due to Trump tactics one must say Mike Pence had a very good night. But as history shows it does not mean very much–if anything–as to who wins a VP debate.
I suspect the headline from the debate is the fact that over and over Pence was not able or willing to defend the crazy, racist, sexist, xenophobic, or nationalist statements and rants from the only orange-skinned man to win a party nomination. So from that perspective it was the Clinton camp who came out ahead in the larger view one needs to take of this debate.
The line that resonated and will be played in the media over the coming days is when Kaine stated “Six times tonight, I have said to Gov. Pence I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next. And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate. And yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend.”
That landed with a powerful punch and the audience knows it.
Pence was poised and performed in a way that will not diminish his view in the eyes of the party even though he dodged at every opportunity to step up and defend Trump–who we know is below contempt.
For America however I suspect many yearn as I do for sharp differences in a debate leveled with respect for the office at hand and the voters back at home. We were not offered that type of debate last night.