I was traveling yesterday so I was unable to watch the Vice Presidential Debate between U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Governor Mike Pence (R-Indiana). I avoided news coverage of the debate and finally watched the debate Wednesday evening. Here are a few observations.
1. Both the Democratic Party and Republican Party would have been better served with these men at the top of the ticket.
In terms of experience with Kaine having served as a city council member and mayor of Richmond, Governor of Virginia and then as a U.S. Senator he has far more experience than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton without the baggage. Likewise with Pence serving 12 years as a Congressman with 10 of those years on the House Foreign Services Committee and now currently serving as Governor of Indiana he clearly has more experience and is better equipped to serve as President.
Issues and policy aside the resumes of the two vice presidential nominees is impressive. The fact that the debate was primarily devoted to defending and promoting the top of the ticket makes this whole election surreal.
2. Neither Pence or Kaine were very effective at defending their candidate.
There are some things that are impossible to defend. Kaine’s defense of Clinton regarding the email scandal was lame. The FBI didn’t pursue charges, but they did rebuke Clinton’s handling of classified information. His answer about Clinton’s trustworthiness made my eyes roll. Pence didn’t really give an effective defense of Trump either as it is hard for him to answer for all of the things Trump has said throughout the campaign. Calling Clinton/Kaine the campaign of insults was laughable considering how Trump has campaigned.
3. Pence was far, far, far, far better prepared for this debate than Donald Trump was for his.
It was clear that Pence did significant debate prep. He landed some punches when Trump missed opportunities. He was familiar with Kaine’s record as Governor and he provided a compare and contrast pointing out Kaine left Virginia in debt. When Kaine said Israel was on board with the Iran deal that was made Pence pointed out that Kaine boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the joint session of Congress where he spoke out against the deal.
On the subject of policing and criminal justice Kaine talked about criminal justice reform, Pence was able to point to a bill he signed.
Pence also had effective shots on the Clinton Foundation, the email scandal, and the Russian reset. He didn’t wait for the moderator to ask questions on these subjects, he took opportunities to work these into his answers.
4. Kaine’s constant interrupting looked bad.
Pence did some interrupting, but Kaine did it continually, throughout the debate, and the moderator called him on it numerous times. It made him look less presidential, less like a statesman. Kaine came off as smug, Pence came off as presidential.
5. “The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways.”
The fact that Tim Kaine would say this makes him seem completely oblivious to reality. Kaine’s evidence? Osama bin Laden was killed. Yes he was. Our current threat is ISIS and the Obama administration’s policy toward Syria and Iraq helped to create a vacuum for them. He also mentioned the Iran deal having “ended Iran’s nuclear weapons program.” How in the world can he say that with a straight face?
I guess we are supposed to ignore the terrorist attacks that have taken place in the United States just this year. Our terrorist threat has not decreased. It has increased under the Obama administration. All you have to do read or watch the news to see that.
6. Pence championed life, Kaine fell flat.
Money quote from Pence on discussing life – “A society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable.”
I think Pence succeeded in making Clinton’s view on abortion look extreme bringing up specifically her support of taxpayer funding for abortion and her support of partial-birth abortions. He also made a positive case for pushing adoptions, pointing out Millennials are more pro-life, and promoting a culture of life in our country. His comments about Trump fell flat with me, but Pence himself has been solidly pro-life as a Congressman and Governor.
It was surreal to hear Kaine say, “we support Roe v. Wade.” Kaine pointed out that there were many in the audience who were born after Roe v. Wade. Irony, yes those were the fortunate ones who were actually born. It is too bad Pence didn’t point that out in response.
Kaine later asked, “Why don’t you trust women to make this choice for themselves?”
Let me answer is this a question we would ask about a mother and their toddler? A mother and their pre-school student? A mother and their teenager?
No because taking a life is not a “choice” a mother should have. The size and development of the child shouldn’t matter. We have an inalienable right to life and that should also include the preborn. My goodness animals have more protection than unborn children do. That should be intolerable.
A better question would be why are you ok Senator with some mothers violating their child’s right to life?
I think Pence won the Vice Presidential debate. I think his performance puts a lot of pressure on Donald Trump to be better prepared for the next debate. I doubt this debate will move the needle in terms of polling, but it may have stopped the bleeding.