Picture Courtesy: USAToday.com
Let’s put this into historical perspective, shall we? Can you name one single Vice Presidential Debate that changed the trajectory of any Presidential Contest? I’ll Wait.
I’m betting no. The purpose of a VP debate is not to affect the outcome of the election, but other than fairness, it provides soundbites for each side to use for the next month.
The Vice Presidential Candidates have one real job, to make their running mate look good, and the others running mate look bad. In this respect, Kaine had a much easier job than Pence, who effectively had the deck stacked against him from the start, running alongside Trump.
I will give Mike Pence credit though, he was much better prepared than his running mate was last week. He was so prepared, in fact, that he came with his own set of facts! The most notable of which I can remember is when he claimed the Clinton Foundation only returned 10% of its donations to charitable giving. The real number is 89%. But he tried and tried to strike a blow with their own version of reality.
Tim Kaine was also very well prepared, and challenged each one of Pence’s false assertions. So much so, the whole affair quickly devolved into a shouting match during the first round of questions. That was the negative of the night. There was so much talking over one another, you could barely understand either. And people wonder why people are tired of politicians.
Mike Pence did try to deliver one line he appeared to have practiced a little too much. “There they go again,” did not come across with the same force and reaction as when Reagan used it in 1980. He also proved to be the master of deflection, not really answering for or explaining the many, many things Trump has said in the last year or so.
And of course the amusing part of the evening was following along with Donal Trumps Twitter feed during the debate. He unleashed one of his classic “Twitter barrages” throughout. Ironically, not very long after Pence accused Hillary/Kaine of running an “insult driven campaign,” Trump tweeted this:
Really Donald, really? That’s supposed to be a compliment. And this is the person he claims “everybody” wants to represent them in the world.
In the end, both camps claimed victory, and the rest of us really can’t figure out who won. Debates should have a scoring system in place so there’s no dispute. Imagine an NFL game with no scoreboard, no end zone, no uprights. They just go out on the field, play for an hour and let the fans decide who won!
I have a theory. It’s a little different than the ones you’ll find on TV, or in the articles: Nobody won the VP Debate. Statistically, the only people that generally watch it are hard core politicos and pundits. There was no Lloyd Benson “Senator, You’re no Jack Kennedy” moment! These debates are really for the bases of each party.
Sure, you can argue that Kaine defended Clinton a heck of a lot more than Pence defended Trump. But, outside of people who follow this stuff, who would have noticed? What most of America saw was two people talking over each other for an hour and a half.
Speaking of which, here’s another ironic Tweet:
“Constant interruptions,” says the man that kept shouting “WRONG” into his microphone last week.
So, I think, why bother to try and determine a winner. We certainly have enough other things to argue about, don’t we?
PS.: I do think it’s worth noting that Mike Pence is an evangelical zealot who has signed nearly every religion based law to cross his desk in Indiana. This includes the now infamous “Religious Freedom Law” that allowed businesses to refuse service to gay people on religious grounds. He also recently signed a bill into law requiring burials for all fetuses that are not carried to term. Whether abortions or miscarriages! Even though he’s “only” Vice President, don’t doubt for a second that he will have an influence on Policy!