Trump and Biden debate on June 27, 2024
Trump and Biden debate on June 27, 2024REUTERS/Brian Snyder

I don’t like to write redundantly, echoing other pundits. Therefore, I comment below on matters other than Biden’s bumbling, doddering debate performance.

1. I actually think Biden did well for what I expected. I expected more mumbling, more whoppers, and more incoherence than he projected. I really mean that. For what he now is capable of being and doing at this point in his life, I feel a bit bad that we soon will be advocating after November that the U.S. Department of Justice must work rapidly to lock him up. He won’t survive imprisonment — assuming he even realizes he is in prison. On the other hand, he may be comforted by having his son, Hunter, in a nearby cell for daily father-son companionship.

2. I hope that President Trump finally, finally, finally has learned that, sometimes, less is more (and more is less). I had been writing and hoping so much that he would not be goaded into interrupting or overly insulting Biden during the debate. I believe that the single biggest pre-debate mistake that Biden's men made was demanding in advance that, when one candidate speaks, the other’s microphone needs to be shut off so that any disruptive interruptions, no matter how justified by ad hominem lies, simply would not be heard. I am not completely sure that President Trump’s discipline, remaining quiet whenever Biden spoke, would have been that amazing otherwise. Instead, Pres. Trump always hit back — effectively — but he did not allow himself to be goaded off message. Therefore, insults about the felony sham trial and similar red-meat provocations elegantly slid off his sleeve to the floor, to be mopped up after the debate.

3. I really hope Trump watches video of the debate and sees what I am saying. His supporters will vote for him, no matter what. His “Trump Derangement Syndrome” opponents will vote against him (though unsure for whom they will be voting), no matter what. The debate was about the non-affiliated Independents: Would they see a Trump who scares them, seems to have a temper out of control that can explode unexpectedly at any moment? Or has he “grown,” learned from the past, and become (arrgh!) “more presidential”? On this, he nailed it. If he had overdone it when goaded over Stormy or the Bragg-Marchan disgrace, that would have been the spin and the next day’s viral videos. Instead, the big viral is “Biden’s Minute 13.”

4. I liked the debate, the best since Reagan-Carter, though Trump-Hillary was weirdly gripping in its way, and Bush II-Kerry had one moment I never will forget. (Kerry the Tree Hugger was ranting that Bush was in cahoots with the lumber and foresting industry, and Bush turned to him, opened his suit coat, inserted his hand inside the inner jacket pocket, and asked Kerry “Want some wood?”)

But this was a great debate. Jake Tapper and Dana Bash of CNN were uncharacteristically fair. Biden’s team did not expect that. None of that Candy Crowley finger-on-the-scale cheating. They asked legitimate questions of both sides. And I equally liked that Trump did something I always have done in debates (albeit debates of far lesser consequence): If I don’t like the question, I first use some of the time to finish my response to the previous question, then I say one sentence addressing the instant question, and then I use that as a launching pad to talk about whatever I want to talk about next. Trump did that magnificently again and again, so masterfully and brilliantly. Don’t let CNN dictate your presentation. They want to pin you on “January 6”? Fine. So say something about how Pelosi refused your request to bring in the National Guard, now regrets her fault in the January 6 debacle for which she is primarily responsible, and — by the way — on that January 6 we had a great economy, on that January 6 energy was cheap, on that January 6 food was affordable, on that January 6 Ukraine and the Mideast were at peace, on that January 6 the sun was shining, whatever.

5. Charlottesville was going to come up. He answered well — that it now is documented to be a lie that he ever said Nazis and White Supremacists are fine people. Ergo, it is a lie that Biden sought the presidency when he heard Trump say what he never said. If I had my druthers, though, I would have liked for Trump to have stated explicitly that even the famous left-oriented fact checker, “Snopes,” formally just published that Trump never said what the liars claim he said about Charlottesville. I would have loved a response like this: “So, according to the ‘authoritative’ Snopes, Joe, you are yet again a liar. It reminds me, Joe, of that time you lied about how your uncle was eaten by a cannibal, or lied that you got arrested protesting apartheid, or lied that your family were coal miners exactly like the biography of the British Neil Kinnock, or lied that you graduated law school toward the top of your class when you actually were in the bottom, at 76th of 85 . . . or was it that you graduated 75th of 84, Joe? Please help me out on that one, Joe. Which was it — 75 of 84, or 76 of 85?”

6. When Biden was not staring into space, he frequently displayed contemptuous facial laughing as Trump spoke. My eyes mostly focused on Trump when he spoke and on Biden when he did, but I occasionally looked at the other guy. I could see Trump restraining himself, and that won him points. As I watched Biden grin, sometimes ostensibly laugh, I thought back to how he used that exact same contemptuous tactic when he debated Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate, Paul Ryan. Maybe it worked for him in 2012 — and maybe not — but this time it helped seal the deal. This time Biden is the president, and his incessant grinning and laughing, not only was the opposite of “acting presidential,” but it also comes at the wrong time in his life, when many in the public are wondering whether he is all there. I wonder how many viewers asked themselves “Is he thinking that he is somewhere else now? What is so funny that I am missing? I wish he would let me in on the joke. The guy is getting creamed in front of 200 million people. Why laughing?”

7. It is doubtful Biden’s weak voice resulted from a cold. We all know that. But even more curious is why, when he won the pre-debate coin toss, which gave him the right to choose between having the final say in the debate, the final closing words, or standing at the right or left podium, he chose to be at the right podium and to give Trump the final word. In a debate like that, the final word is everything. It allows your strongest points to be the last ideas that resonate in viewers’ and listeners’ minds. And, truth to tell, it allows the last guy to lie through his teeth on whatever he likes without getting rebutted (not that he should). I continue trying to figure out why it mattered more to Biden to have the right podium, which may have proven to be his wrong podium, than to have the final say. Does one side’s profile of his face and head seem older than the other? I don’t know.

8. Last: I am wrestling with whether the time now has come for Trump supporters to consider leaving Biden alone. He is now in danger of being replaced by a more competitive Democrat. If the Democrats at this late hour would replace Biden, they would have to leapfrog Kamala. Here, these pushers of Identity Politics thrust Kamala, Woman of Color, into the Veep role, and she therefore is next in line to run. After Eisenhower, Nixon. After JFK, LBJ. After LBJ, Humphrey. After Nixon, Ford was given the nod to seek his own term. After Carter, Mondale. After Reagan, Bush I. After Clinton, Gore. After Obama, Biden. Almost always, the serving Vice President is next in line to run.

The thing is, Kamala is probably less electable than Biden, sort of like Spiro Agnew compared to Nixon. She may have carved for herself the status of worst Veep in American history, and surely in the Bottom Five. As a campaigner, she rose to the top of the 2020 Democrat primaries for a few halcyon moments when she did that thing where she basically (correctly) called Biden a lifelong racist bigot and told the story of her sad life being bused to school. (This writer attended Jewish parochial school, yeshiva, and was bused from home to school all my years of elementary and middle school. What was so bad about it? We got to talk with our friends on the bus, make noise, annoy the bus drivers we didn’t like. It was fun.)

Immediately after that fleeting moment on top, as the whole left-wing mainstream media coalesced behind her and published Kamala hagiographies, she immediately plummeted like an anvil in a Bugs Bunny or Roadrunner cartoon. So the Democrats are really stuck. If they replace Biden with her, they actually get weaker. If they replace Biden with anyone else but her, the last two months of the race will see all their leftists attacking the party for anti-Black racism, misogyny, and prejudice against people who are public fools.

Although Biden lacks stamina, he is replete with stammer-na. I hope he does not let others force him to quit the race.

Adapted by the writer for Arutz Sheva from a version of this article that first appeared here in The American Spectator.

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