“Debate moderator Susan Page was fabulous, even though it’s already clear she will be assailed by the left to explain Sen. Kamala Harris’s failure. Pro tip for the left: complaining about the moderator means you lost.
Kamala Harris flopped in epic fashion tonight, while Vice President Mike Pence followed in the footsteps of Joe Biden (2012) and Dick Cheney (2004), former vice presidents for incumbents presidents who had tanked in their opening debate, and then saw their number two’s step up and right the ship.
Pence conducted a masterclass in how to prepare for and execute a clear, winning debate strategy. He sliced and diced his way through taxes, fracking, the Green New Deal, and which ticket is best to handle America’s future recovery, winning every exchange on those topics. Pence did what Trump failed to do in his debate against Biden—recognize his opponent’s mistakes and then clearly drive home the winning point. The exchange over packing the Supreme Court was an epic failure by Harris (and Biden last week), and Pence played it perfectly. Pence flawlessly weaved in people and stories he brought along to Salt Lake City to score several points.
Harris’s record, combined with a relative lack of experience and success at this level on the national stage was a real problem for the Democratic ticket tonight. Biden clearly wants to run a moderate campaign, but he picked a running mate who has said she would repeal Trump tax cuts, was a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, had said she would ban fracking, and voted against the USMCA trade deal (even though it had wide bipartisan support).
Biden was so eager to check identity politics boxes in picking Harris that he never stopped to ask: Is she any good at this, and does her record match my desires?
Tonight, we found out the answer (again): No.”
“Before this debate, the American people wondered which Kamala Harris would show up — the loyal running mate or the liberal warrior? Now we know. She showed that progressives are trying to be Joe Biden’s boss. And that cost her the debate.”
“Scoring the round, it seemed that Pence edged Harris slightly, if only because he spoke to more than just his base. Harris effectively reminded her audience of the many Covid-related failures of this administration, but otherwise failed to move much beyond the standard Democratic Party talking points.
Pence, on the other hand, effectively underscored what to many is one of the more frightening likelihoods of a Biden-Harris administration: A packed Supreme Court. The fact that Harris refused, like former Vice President Joe Biden before her, to answer the question of whether a Biden administration would support upending the court in order to secure a liberal majority only further implies that this is indeed likely their plan.”
“Undecided voters often decide on style and substance over policy. With that in mind, Pence won the night. Hands down. He was calm and in command as he outlined the contrast between the Trump ticket versus the Biden-Harris ticket.
Harris’ smirks and laughs came across as abrasive and not likeable. Persona often outweighs policy with the swing voters.
While there is room for debate about the current administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vice President did well to outline what has worked, including restricting travel from China, providing resources to doctors and nurses and prioritizing the development of a vaccine.”