Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

What Did You Think about the Presidential Debate?

             I watched the presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. I think that this may be the only debate that I have watched in its totality. However, I was not riveted to it. I watered my plants, went through a stack of mail from several days, and did some other small tasks. All in all, I thought that it was a good debate, but I do not think that either of the men said anything tonight that would convince anyone to switch parties.

            I was amazed to see that Biden could speak for two full minutes without becoming confused or slurring his words. It looks like the four days of rest in his basement did some good – or was it drugs or something else. I did notice a time or two that he looked like he was confused or about to panic, but he pulled out of whatever it was.

            As noted in an article written by Virginia Allen and Jarrett Stepman at The Daily Signal, Trump and Biden clashed repeatedly on several topics as they “traded boasts and criticisms for 90 minutes. I thought that NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker did an okay job of keeping the debate under control. I was a little shocked that Welker did not offer “soft ball” questions to Biden and hard questions to Trump, but I did wonder if she was running interference for Biden a time or two.          Allen and Stepman noted the following eight highlights from the debate. 

1. Trump and Biden differed on reopening schools and businesses.Trump insisted that the United States cannot stay closed even though COVID-19 is still with us, but he wants to do it “under the guidance of health officials.” Biden appeared more willing to use shutdowns to bring the virus under control, but he insisted that he would “shut down the virus, not the country.” They both want the schools to be reopened, but Biden wants to spend money to properly prepare them to be open. Biden slammed Trump for failing to “negotiate a new coronavirus relief package with the Democrat-controlled House. Trump countered by saying Republicans are ready, but Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi does not “want to make a deal before the election.”

2. COVID-19 Vaccine and China.Biden repeatedly blamed Trump for failure to handle COVID-19 properly. However, the Trump administration has already taken all the actions that Biden said that his administration would do. Trump predicts that a vaccine will be approved before the end of 2020, even though “health officials said it may be well into 2021 before a vaccine is generally available.” Biden said that we are heading “into a dark winter,” and Trump has no clear plan to deal with the virus and does not deserve to be President.

3. Fracking, Climate Change, and the Oil IndustryThere are notable differences between the two candidates on climate change and the energy industry. Biden insists that he will put the United States back into the Paris Accord, but Trump countered by saying that he is not willing to “sacrifice tens of millions of jobs, thousands and thousands of companies” for the Paris Accord. Trump insists that he wants clean water and clean air, but noted that China, India, and other countries have much dirtier air and water than the United States, countries on which the Paris Accord went easy.

As for fracking, Biden insisted that he “never said I oppose fracking” and accused Trump of lying. Trump insisted that he is on video making the statement and demanded that Trump show the video. The Trump campaign tweeted the video soon after Biden’s demand. Trump was sure to mention that the United States is energy independent because of fracking. After Biden spoke about the families living around oil refineries and their living conditions, Trump asked Biden if he “close down the oil industry.” Biden’s reply was that he would “transition from the oil industry” and stop giving federal subsidies.

4. Improving Health CareTrump discussed how “his administration ended the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance and is overseeing what remains of Obamacare.” There is a case at the Supreme Court about Obamacare. If the court rules that it must remain, the Trump administration will continue to run “it as well as we can, but it’s no good.” Trump insisted that Biden and the Democrats are trying to move the nation into socialism and have socialized medicine. Biden insists that Bidencare would build on Obamacare. Pre-existing conditions would be protected under both men.

5. Who’s Tougher on RussiaA lengthy dialogue of the Hunter Biden computer scandal came up under a discussion about the relationship between America and Russia. Of course, Biden denied any corruption but tried to connect Rudy Giuliani to Russia. The men discussed the intelligence report from last night stating that both Russia and Iran had voter information and were trying to influence the 2020 election just as they did the 2016 election. [Did Biden forget that the Russians were trying to help Hillary Clinton in 2016?] Biden wanted to know why Trump had not been harder on Putin, and Trump responded that it was the Biden family that received $3.5 million from the former mayor of Moscow. Biden denied taking “a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.” However, Trump linked Biden to Putin by stating that “John Ratcliffe, director of national intelligence, believes the Russian president wants Trump to lose the election because ‘there has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.’”

6. Illegal Immigration and Border EnforcementTrump and Biden sharply disagreed about children being separated on the border and being put in “cages.” Trump said that “his administration actually inherited the Obama policy of putting children in cages.” “We changed the policy. They did it. We changed – they built the cages.” Then he asked Biden, “Who built the cages, Joe?” Joe had to admit that the Obama-Biden administration had done some things wrong, but he would be president instead of vice president and would do better.

7. Black Lives Matter and RacismBiden accused Trump of being one of the most racist presidents in modern history and claimed he had a racist dog whistle the size of a foghorn. Trump countered with, “I am the least racist person in this room.” He referred several times to the record low unemployment for blacks and Hispanics before COVID-19 came from China. He also discussed how he “got criminal justice reform done, and prison reform, and opportunity zones. I took care of black colleges and universities. I don’t know what to say. They can say anything…. It makes me sad.”

8. Increasing the Minimum WageBiden argued that the federal minimum wage should be raised from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. Trump said that he would consider raising the federal minimum wage but not high enough to put businesses out of business. He argued that state governments should decide the minimum wage for their states because America is so large, and states are so different.

            I thought the debate was okay, but I do not like to witness grown men arguing and calling each other liars. As far as I could see, the facts are on Trump’s side, but Biden sounded convincing to people who do not know the details.

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