Americans of all political stripes united together last night to ask “What the hell did I just watch?”
Of course, the Czar is talking about the first—and potentially last—2020 Presidential Debate. Not only was there surprisingly little actual debate between the candidates, there wasn’t even a whole lot among Twitter readers. Incredibly, both Democrats and Republicans seemed to be echoing the same thoughts: “These guys are terrible.” “Chris Wallace is not helping.” “Why on earth are we still watching?”
You’ll still have your die-hard fans of either candidate. Your rabid Biden supporter (pictured, right) is still throwing a tantrum about that horrible, nasty Trump bully and his shameful ways. How unfair! How could they let that happen?
Of course, your fist-clenched Trump supporter was so excited to see his guy that he wound up fully undressed in front of the television last night (not pictured for reasons of decency). Definitely some carpet cleaning is in order for those guys.
You can safely ignore either of those. But for the average person, considering a vote for Biden or a vote for Trump, there seemed to be a lot of disappointment to go around. For the record, the Czar doubts there are any seriously undecided people left: you already know which way you’re voting, and if not, last night did not help anybody. In fact, both candidates made major mistakes.
Joe Biden was clearly going in planning to be the nice, affable, reasonable alternative, but came off acting like a smug elite who didn’t condescend to answering questions. Many of his statements were self-contradictory (So is he for the New Green Deal or not? Is he in favor of lockdowns or no? Does he support Antifa or no?). Another batch of pseudo-answers were so utterly wrong (Trump thinks racists are fine people? Antifa is just an idea? Teachers pay more tax than Trump?) that it’s difficult to believe he reads or watches the news. And he looked a bit desperate to keep using a hammer on the COVID nail, even working the virus into his answer on race relations; it grew tiresome.
Speaking of tiresome, our President! There’s no doubt that Trump chose to hit hard, hit fast, and hit often. Piss off Joe and he’ll lose it on national television! In fact, that’s a perfect strategy for last night’s debate. It’s clear that Trump studied Biden’s debate against Paul Ryan, and decided he wouldn’t let that happen again. It’s also clear he studied Crowley’s attack on Mitt Romney, and decided no two-bit moderator would get the jump on him, either. But rather than try a Sonny Liston early domination or a Muhammed Ali rope-a-dope, Trump went out there and looked like Curly Howard after hearing “Pop Goes the Weasel,” whipping punches in a furious frenzy until he pretty much knocked himself out, as well. While he got under Biden’s skin early, Trump did not actually rattle Biden enough to make it work.
Trump clearly had some great zingers, stingers, and sick burns saved up—but rather than slide them in at the right instant, he chose to rattle them off in random order, trying to get as many in as he could in 90 minutes. And this really didn’t work: hitting Biden with “You called our troops ‘stupid bastards’” would have been great when Biden was talking about the dubious World War I cemetery claim; instead, Trump threw it out talking about climate change. Trump should have kept some of those for the next debate; maybe the President felt there won’t be another opportunity—who can say. But his timing was all off.
Overall, Trump was masterful when discussing law and order: Biden looked totally cowed and worried. But while this resounded well, Trump totally skidded when answering the Critical Race Theory question. Rather than blast Chris Wallace for treating a thoroughly nonsensical concept as “sensitivity training,” he chose to wander all over the place. Trump, or you or the Czar, could have ended that one right there, for good, by spending one minute describing what CRT is, and another minute describing why it’s a poisonous form of subversion that has no place in the government—federal, state, or even local school board. What a blown opportunity.
Finally, a lot of folks are gnashing teeth at Chris Wallace. Yes, he threw a lot of ridiculous questions at Trump. But re-watch the questions: he also put a lot of threatening questions at Biden, too. Biden chose to dance around the topics, but Wallace failed to follow up. At the same time, his early finger-wagging at Trump cost Wallace dearly, as Trump now viewed him as an adversary, and stomped all over his moderation. Overall, Wallace didn’t do a great job of moderating, but really: no one can right a ship that speeds straight into a sandbar and tears its keel off. Once that debate started, any moderator was doomed.
The media will likely declare Biden the winner simply because they always side with the Democrat, and will likely use low-expectations bigotry to do so. “Biden looked to be the calmer person,” “He proved himself more presidential,” or “He was the adult in the room.” None of which was true: as we said above, Biden was openly self-contradicting, pronouncing debunked claims or made-up-on-the-spot theories, and tiresomely repetitive, and this was likely the worst debate of his 47-year career; however, Trump’s Wild Hyacinth act undid any harm Biden did to himself.
Well, we’ll see if the Biden campaign agrees to another debate, and if so, what the terms will be. The Czar still maintains debates are essential for candidates, even if they don’t change voters’ minds much. At least we can see what we’re getting, and the Czar would not be surprised to see fairly decent ratings for this first debate. Not so sure how a second debate would fare, though: people who didn’t see last night’s rodeo would probably be disinclined to watch another, especially if they hear it was nothing but yelling over each other.
To be honest, the Czar had that feeling he gets when he’s in a bar or restaurant, and two guys at the next table start getting into it, to the point that you start looking for the exit, gathering your stuff, and maybe watching for a weapon. Some of our readers will know what we mean: that tingling sensation in the hands, the tension in the neck, and the yawning feeling in the stomach that this could get serious. That explains why the Czar stretched a single glass of wine across 90 minutes, rather than the bottle he planned to down. You might just need your faculties, here.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.