The Kaine-Pence debate, in its own way, was really quite revealing

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The single most striking thing about last night’s vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine?

Time and again, when pushed to defend the ongoing, repeated rantings of his boss, Donald Trump, Pence walked away, choosing not to even make the attempt.  His most effective technique — and it wasn’t effective at all — was to try to deny that Trump had said and done what most of America has witnessed him saying and doing. Like a growing number of American voters, Trump’s own running mate recognizes the indefensible when he sees it. As Democratic veep nominee Tim Kaine, noted last night, “He’s refused to defend his running mate. . .and yet, he’s asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend.”

That’s exactly right.

I suspect that in many eyes, Pence benefited personally from the stark contrast with Trump, leaving at least some Republican voters with a degree of buyer’s remorse. Where Trump blusters and rants, Pence calmly explains. Where Trump sees the world exclusively in terms of his own self-aggrandizement, Pence can be humble and patient. Whatever his other failings, Pence knows the issues and is comfortable discussing them. On those occasions when he wasn’t gingerly stepping through a field of mines left behind by Trump, he held his own and sometimes more against Kaine.

Kaine, on the other hand, rose quickly and often to the defense of Hillary Clinton — sometimes too quickly and often. And if he didn’t leave many Democrats dreaming about “Kaine for President” bumper stickers, the Clinton campaign was probably happy with his performance nonetheless. His role was to push the argument that Trump is not a rational choice as commander in chief and president, and in that he succeeded.

It’s also worth noting that Pence, a former 12-year congressman with strong ties to the D.C. establishment, is precisely the kind of candidate that Republican voters rejected in the primaries. His own Indiana voters rank him a mediocre governor by national standards, and his bungling of the so-called religious liberty bill last year alienated those on the right as well as the left. When he eagerly accepted Trump’s offer last summer, he did so facing a very tough fight for re-election even in a conservative state such as Indiana.

Furthermore, the degree of influence that Pence would have in a Trump administration can be gauged by the degree of influence that he wields in the campaign, which by all accounts and evidence is zero. In a cult of personality, which is what the Republican Party has devolved into, there is no No. 2. There is only No. 1, and nobody else really matters.

Finally, last night’s debate only began to reveal Pence’s extreme personal record on gay rights and abortion, in which he as even gone so far as to sign a bill requiring funerals and burial for miscarriages and abortions as a way to dramatize the notion that “human life begins at conception.”  (The courts quickly overturned it.) In Congress he fought every legislative effort, first under President Bush and later under President Obama, to try to mitigate the 2008 financial collapse, a stance that most economists, conservative as well as liberal, say would have compounded the crisis had it proved successful. And he was a stalwart defender of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, from start to finish.

In short, Pence last night gave us an accurate example of what the pre-Trump Republican Party used to be, and while in hindsight that might look good to some, it is only in contrast to what the party has now become.

Reader Comments 0

1880 comments
STHornet1990
STHornet1990

OH NOOOESSSS. Time to get out Trump:
It seems running for president is hurting Donald Trump's finances big time. The Republican nominee's fortune fell $800 million last year sending him tumbling 35 spots on a list of richest Americans, Forbes said Tuesday. The business magazine said the New York real estate mogul is worth $3.7 billion -- down from an estimated $4.5 billion in March -- and just over a third of the $10 billion that Trump has bragged of amassing. Trump, who has made his fabulous wealth a key selling point in his bid for the White House, plummeted to number 156 on Forbes' annual list of the richest 400 Americans. It is more bad news for the Republican as his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton pulls ahead in the polls

honested
honested

@STHornet1990 

Maybe Sarah Blakely should run for President. 

At least she earned her 'fabulous wealth' herself.

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

@STHornet1990  When I said this three months ago some of the Repubs on this blog laughed at me and said that it will never happen.

breckenridge
breckenridge

When I hear the name Donald Trump the thing that immediately comes to mind is that nasty green stuff Linda Blair spewed in The Exorcist.

gadem
gadem

If one of our resident Bible scholars can clarify something for me....in regards to abortion, why stand against abortion, but hate the child once it is born? You rail against ANY social programs that are designed to assist the mother in caring for the child. One reason that some women choose abortion, is because they know that they can not care for the child once the child is here. Is the innocent child living in poverty a way to punish the mother and child because the mother chose to have the child?

honested
honested

@gadem 

For some, mythology is a stronger draw than the value of sentience.

TBS
TBS

Gadem is a Christian

So you might be barking up the wrong tree with the mythology comment and seem to miss his point

rimsky
rimsky

@gadem Me and the Mrs. had to make a very painful decision of aborting since neither one had the means of support.

Yes men and women suffer and are tortured by the thoughts of abortion.  Did we make the right decision? You bet we did.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@gadem 

In fact, more half the American women that seek abortions already have one or more children.  Knowing they can't afford to feed another, are they not acting in a responsible way? 

honested
honested

@TBS 

Bad choice of words.

The 'mythology' that abortion didn't occur before roe vs. wade as opposed to the reality it had existed for centuries and that there was only one 'right' answer.


In any case, support for the sentient, living children should always take precedence.

rimsky
rimsky

@TBS Thank you Sir from the bottom of my heart.

TBS
TBS

That must be tough to mention. Thanks for sharing and I know your wife and you are glad that despite the efforts of the anti abortion crowd you had that choice and right to make it

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@gadem


Agree. If pro-lifers want to stop abortion, look at the reason why people are having abortions and find a solution. Rather then condemning which doesn't fix anything. 

TBS
TBS

I'm guessing a publicity stunt as much as anything

honested
honested

@TBS 

Probably couldn't make the sinking ratings any worse.

honested
honested

@McGarnagle 

This is what happens when a 'communications empire' coasts on the breeze from 30 years of BS.

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

@honested @TBS  Oh no.  Now you see the Trump supporters jumping out of windows because their empire FAUX news is crumbling. Where can they go now for the truth.   hahaha

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

@McGarnagle  I read somewhere that Megyn Kelly said that her plans are to leave Fox soon and will be looking for a new job.  Well, I hate to tell you sweetie but your resume doesn't look good now.  You should have left FAUX news a long time ago.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@Binderlady2016 @McGarnagle


Her contract is up mid next year I think. But probably be better if she left after this election is over. If she can manage to piss off Trump and Hannity, she's ok in my book.

TBS
TBS

I could be wrong but that's my initial inclination without knowing anything going on behind the scenes.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

How charming is this guy? Trump told Nevada voters last night to please cling to life until Election Day.

“I don’t care how sick you are,” he said, “hang on till November 8th, get out and vote and then, all we’re going to say is, we love you and we’ll remember you always.” 

I wonder if Trump's people are going to tell him that these people can vote early and even if they die before 11/8 their votes will count?  Most clueless campaign ever.

honested
honested

@PaulinNH 

He must not have been informed he's behind in Nevada yet.

On another note, I couldn't help but notice seeing chump's campaign manager this morning on the teevee that her perky demeanor seemed a bit off and she appeared not to be sleeping well. I guess nonstop lying catches up to everyone.

TBS
TBS

It's not over by any stretch but the desperation is starting to show from Trump, his campaign team, the Trumpettes and also the closet Trumpetters.

Top to bottom

Corey
Corey

The White House Rule: No Tax Returns, No Job: If the White House were to so much as delay in disclosing the tax returns of a nominee, much less tell the Senate that a nominee did not want to disclose them, the nomination would be dead on arrival.

Scrutiny of nominees’ returns is exacting. George W. Bush’s first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, made headlines when the Senate’s review of his returns resulted in his amending them to correct errors for three years and pay a nominal sum in back taxes. President Obama’s current Treasury Secretary, Jacob J. Lew, was required to provide a full six years of returns before he was confirmed.

No presidential nominee with Mr. Trump’s tax situation, his years of undisclosed tax returns, and his attitude toward paying taxes could have been approved by the Senate. Indeed, no president would have dared nominate him. All of us should weigh that heavily in assessing Mr. Trump’s fitness for the Oval Office.

TBS
TBS

If you come on a blog and post "We all know Vince Foster is Hillary's baby daddy".

Great chance that I'm going to think your religious / faith proclamations are as impressive as a chia pet

honested
honested

@TBS 

And your concept of public service probably came from the 'home guard'.

TBS
TBS

And he didn't wait for the draft. He volunteered

KUTGF
KUTGF

Oh my....now our trolls are sooooo wise they can tell who could be and who could not be the "anti-Christ".  My goodness, God had better pay attention.  I am sure Lee troll's God's blog too!

honested
honested

@KUTGF 

I guess reliance on one's imaginary friend to determine who is worthy of 'smitin' is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

honested
honested

@_GodlessHeathen_ 

What I don't get is with REAL problems in abundance, why waste a second worrying about INVENTED potential problems?

ByteMe
ByteMe

 Where is the "poor" views of those groups?

td is unclear how his view of those who don't look or act like him comes across to everyone else.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@ByteMe  You mean saying people who have different religious beliefs than you are going to hell is not having a "poor" view?

TBS
TBS

Call me nuts but if you buy Paul Horner type stories to a point you run to post them on a blog it's a great chance I'm not up for your personal religious views either

But to each their own I guess

TBS
TBS

The "Get out of Leviticus" Free cards are being used in abundance today

Almost as if a few bloggers had decks of them

Lee30519
Lee30519

@Mick11 You should really do more research on who the anti-christ is and how he will appear.  Clearly it could not be Trump.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@honested @Lee30519 @Mick11  Dang - it seems like every day Lee from Buford tries to make himself look more stupid.  You posted that there is no such thing as the anti-Christ and he asks you who you think the anti-Christ is.  Clearly, this morning is one of his oxy-periods - he'll probably be back on the meth in the PM

TBS
TBS

That act can't all come natural. He has practiced it a lot over the years

Mick11
Mick11

@Lee30519 @Mick11 

Why not??  He is a greedy liar who cares only for himself...has a make believe foundation where he is the number one benefactor...certainly no good samaritan, plus he has a nasty disposition and mouth to go along with it...