America’s Biden Predicament
There's an Edit in the Latest Biden White House Transcript
Biden's Call With Hispanic Lawmakers Goes Off the Rails
'He Will Never Recover': Total Mayhem Engulfs Biden's Re-Election Team
Here's What a Wisconsin Radio Station Edited Out of Their Interview With Biden
Hamas Command Center, Terrorist Weapons Found in Gaza City UNRWA Headquarters
Brutal: Biden Just Took a $90 Million Hit
Don't Believe Reuters' New Article About Biden's Border Crisis
Is This Feud Why Joe Biden Won't Step Aside?
One Country Just Passed a Law to Turn Away Asylum Seekers
Biden's Biggest 'Big Boy' Lies Debunked
Hakeem Jeffries Reveals He Met With Biden
A Slew of School Districts in This State Promote LGBTQ+ Ideologies in the...
Here's How Democrats Are Going After Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers
Yikes: This Poll Spells Bad News for Biden With Another 'New Low'
OPINION

Debate No. 1: Advantage None

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

I had initially thought of Tuesday night's first presidential debate as the equivalent of a heavyweight boxing match, something like the classic fights between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in the 1970s.

Advertisement

Instead it was less a "thrilla in Manila" or a "rumble in the jungle" and more like a phony professional wrestling match. Let's take that analogy one step lower and call it mud wrestling.

The interruptions, first by President Trump and then by former Vice President Biden were the antithesis of civility. In this, Biden displayed the worst behavior, calling the president a "liar," a "clown" and a "racist." At one point Biden said, "will you shut-up, man?" Classy.

Having done a considerable number of debates myself over many years, including with former senator and presidential candidates George McGovern and Birch Bayh and with my good friend, Bob Beckel, who managed Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign against Ronald Reagan, a little respect and deference to one's opponent goes a long way toward establishing credibility with an audience and gaining a respectful hearing for one's policies.

This was more a battle of personalities and less a real debate about substantive issues and political philosophy. The president likely helped Biden when he interrupted, keeping him from possibly committing some of his famous gaffes. He did have a few of those, but not as many as people might have thought, allowing him to cross the bar of low expectations. In a way, by not losing, Biden lived to fight another day, assuming he engages in the two remaining debates.

Advertisement

Trump's advantages included his correct claim to have the power to name federal judges, including to the Supreme Court, "because I won" the election. That is what President Obama said to Republicans. Both are right.

One of Biden's tactics was to look into the camera and address "the American people." Trump mostly looked at Biden, or at moderator Chris Wallace, who at times appeared like a frustrated referee in one of those wrestling matches when opponents refuse to stop punching each other.

Lost in it all was a clearer distinction between the policies of the two men. Seeking to defend himself against Trump's claim that Sen. Bernie Sanders and the "far-left" wing of the party is in control, Biden claimed he is the Democratic Party. In light of his rush to embrace the left's agenda, that seems to lack credibility.

In the end these debates should focus on their ideologies. Biden, with his promise to raise taxes, eliminate fossil fuels and create "100 million green jobs," his flips on federal funding of abortions and other issues (which did not come up in this debate, but should in the remaining two), reinforced his position, despite his denials, that he is a big government liberal.

By contrast, President Trump is for empowering individuals by loosening government's grip and the escalating costs of regulations and programs created in Washington where one size is imposed on everyone, even when half the country disagrees.

Advertisement

It will be understandable to his supporters that President Trump felt the need to "fact-check" Biden because he believes the media and establishment are doing everything they can to undermine him and have since he announced his candidacy.

Still, there is a way to do that without looking like a person whose parents failed to teach you manners. Biden is without excuse for calling the president names.

With polls showing most voters have already made up their minds on who will get their vote, the shrinking number of undecideds remains a key component in the remaining four-plus weeks of the campaign.

In boxing, one can sometimes reach a draw in which both sides have fought valiantly and courageously. Not so much in wrestling and not at all when things descend into the mud.

Sponsored

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Recommended

Trending on Townhall Videos