Tonight is the night. The first debate. The first showdown. The first duel between President Trump and Joe Biden, the latter which has hidden from the public, calling it a day before everyone's second cup of coffee for what seems like every day for the past two weeks. It's nearing close to a dozen times that Biden has called a lid before 10 AM. What's going on? Does he not have the stamina? Is that why Jill is doing his interviews?
The 2020 election now has a Supreme Court fight rolled up into it. Biden's not out there paying his respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or ginning up the base over this nomination fight. Granted, Amy Coney Barrett will be confirmed by the Senate as Republicans have the votes, but do something, man. Look, I'm not complaining that he's retreated into his darkened lair, but keeping my "Democrat" hat on for one more second, I'd be concerned a bit.
For Trump's team, however, there is no lowering of expectations. You don't bring in Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie to help you debate if you think Joe Biden is going to look like a guy who pissed his pants and forgot who he was for twenty minutes or so. The president and his team are smart to prepare Donald for tonight's critical showdown as if Joe is some cogent, capable, and deadly Democrat.
I'm going to spoil the party now, folks. Barring any resemblance of a stroke on stage tonight from Joe or a major blunder like endorsing National Socialism, the media is going to declare him the winner, as they almost always do. So, don't get all huffy or shocked about that. What Trump needs to do is make Biden defend the indefensible. Court-packing could be an area where he forces the former VP to make a decision; he's refused to answer the question on that. At the very least, some "word salad" response should demoralize progressives who are looking for revenge of their own on the Supreme Court. They want this, and I have a feeling that Biden knows it's a bad idea but is going along with it to appease the more radical elements of the base. With a health care plan that isn't Medicare for All, and now a candidate who is weak sauce on fighting the GOP gains in the judiciary, why should any lefty voter cast a ballot for Joe if you want a true revolution?
Joe wants to do a bunch on COVID, though Trump has done most of what Joe wants, barring a national mask mandate and another lockdown. Joe wants to restore America's reputation abroad, which is supposedly shattered, despite the fact that Trump has secured multiple peace deals among Israel and the Arab World and Israel and the Balkan States, which has garnered him three Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Oh, and Biden wants to "build back better," despite that Trump has created over 10 million jobs in the past four months, half of the COVID job losses have been recovered. And nearly 90 percent of Americans are getting a tax cut from his 2017 package. Folks, even Bernie Sanders couldn't deny that.
The point is, how can Biden even begin to fix whatever he thinks Trump is doing wrong when he can't get past 10 AM? He can't. Almost a dozen times in the past two weeks. That is the embodiment of all talk, no action. It's the embodiment of a politician who has been in D.C. for over four decades and not getting anything done. Biden's lack of cognitive function shouldn't be the focal point. I think Trump needs to hit him hard on being AWOL this campaign, especially the past month.
He's not doing debate preparation. On September 23, Joe admitted he hadn't even started at that point. Meanwhile, a new Senate report noted that Hunter Biden got $3.5 million from the ex-wife of the mayor of Moscow and dabbled with Eastern European hookers who were part of a human trafficking ring. Yeah, I would call it a day too if that were my kid screwing up the works for me on the campaign trail, but Trump can also bring that up.
One debate can ruin a campaign. One bad moment can alter the race. George H.W. Bush shouldn't have been looking at his watch when then-Gov. Bill Clinton was making his remarks at a time when the country was in an economic downturn. He looked disinterested, and Clinton beat him like a drum in 1992. Gov. Michael Dukakis was rightfully mocked for his tank photo, but his appalling and utterly emotionally detached response to a question about the death penalty was a blunder he never recovered from back in 1988. In 1984, Walter Mondale shouldn't have brought up Ronald Reagan's age.
"I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience," said Reagan in reply to these questions about his fitness for office to laughter from the crowd. Mondale admitted he knew his campaign was finished after that response. Reagan went on to carry 49 of 50 states in a landslide re-election win.
Let's see if that happens to Biden. At the same time, it could also happen to President Trump.