Master Debators – Side Story 2016

6:00PM MST – So here we are, the 2016 vice-presidential debate. It’s likely to be full of all the fun things we’ve come to expect of such debates like…uh…well, let’s just get going.

As always, press F5 often to keep up with the joy!


6:02 – We’re reminded of the stakes here, and of the two men who will be on stage. Both are older white men, which these days actually seems kind of weird.

6:04 – We’re also reminded, again, that the audience has agreed to not react to anything except at the start and finish of the debate. So, again, why have them there?

6:06 – Tim Kaine is safe and boring, and proving that while giving a fairly long, somewhat rambling introduction to himself. Fair enough. Pence is up next, and I’ve never really seen him speak before.

6:08 – And he turned me off quick. “War on coal”, as though that’s a bad thing. And I pretty much tune him out after that.

6:12 – This whole narrative that Obama’s foreign policy has been “weak” or has “failed” irritates the hell out of me. Tell me how exactly blowing up pretty much everything with drones is “weak” under the Republican definition of the word. Also, minus three points to Kaine for interrupting twice so far. Don’t be Trump, dude!

6:14 – Kaine providing a counter-narrative describing the various positive outcomes of Hillary’s time in office in a good thing. Also, I’d give real money for both of them to stop doing the interruptions now.

6:17 – I really am surprised at how much Pence keeps emphasizing the “war on coal”. Surely that only plays well in about three states? Only one of which is a swing state. Seems odd to me. Oh, and they want to repeal all the executive orders from Obama, and get rid of the ACA. Of course.

6:18 – Kaine’s more than a little awkward here, with his comments about “you’re fired”. No, that just doesn’t work. And he really doesn’t work well in the attack dog role. He’s much better doing the “friendly uncle” thing.

6:20 – That said, I’m glad that he’s hitting hard over the minimum wage issue, and the other economic disasters that Pence and Trump want to bring about.

6:21 – Pence is basically lying about the state of the economy, but Kaine needs to stop trying to interrupt him! Pence is coming across as the adult here.

6:31 – Honestly, I’m tuning out at this point. This is pretty boring.

6:34 – I know that the idea that a black police officer could have a bias against blacks seems rather odd. But it is true, and does need to be addressed.

6:37 – Kaine is right, but not coming off as very presidential or authoritative. Pence is wrong, but is coming off as much more steady. This bodes ill.

6:38 – It baffles me that any union ever endorses any Republican. Republicans are dedicated to destroying unions. For a union to support one is mind-boggling.

6:39 – Ah, the “basket of deplorables” line. It was accurate, and it was actually Hillary saying, “Half of these aren’t people we’re ever going to reach. But the other half, the sane half, we can reach.”

6:43 – A moderately interesting immigration debate, but no one has bothered to mention that there’s a net loss of immigrants from Mexico, and has been for the last several years.

6:45 – The world is quantifiably safer now than it was eight years ago. Witness the fact that there are no wars at all in the Western Hemisphere at this point. Let that sink in. I bet neither of them mentions this.

6:50 – The idea that we could have just asked nicely and the Iraqis would have allowed us to continue to remain as an occupying army baffles me.

6:51 – The idea we aren’t vetting refugees is asinine. We certainly are. The idea that a terrorist would describe themselves as a refugee, and spend three years being vetted, to come here and attack, when they can simply get a travel visa and do stuff is just insane and stupid.

6:54 – Kaine is making good points about the American way of life, and why it’s important to maintain our laws and standards. He’s just not making these points very well.

6:57 – The moderator is doing her best, but she really needs a gavel.

6:58 – Ah, the myth that our military is somehow small, and we need to spend even more on it than we already do. What bullshit.

7:00 – There is no public will to invade Syria and end the war there. None. It’s a complete non-starter. So it constantly annoys me that the Republicans are pushing for just that.

7:01 – A very good attack angle pointing out that if Trump didn’t pay taxes for 18 years, which is possible, but unproven, then he wouldn’t have paid to contribute to the military that he has vowed to make “great” again. This contrasts well with Hillary.

7:05 – Kaine is making good points, but again, he’s not being very effective.

7:09 – He’s calming down a bit now, but I suspect it’s too little too late.

7:13 – Here’s what Kaine’s strategy has been: make Pence defend Trump’s extremist positions. It’s not a bad idea, but it hasn’t been working, and he really needs to change course.

7:19 – This is a good defense of the Clinton Foundation, with some good slams at the Trump Foundation.

7:23 – Atheist though I am, I do kind of wish I’d had a Jesuit education. They’re really good at that sort of thing.

7:25 – Kaine gave a very nuanced answer about struggling with the death penalty and yet going forward with it as governor. Pence starts going off on abortion, because of course he does. Though at least he’s staying away from the gays, which is smart.

7:28 – Kaine is going full-forward in his defense of abortion rights. Good. That’s exactly what Democrats should do. He’s also calling out Trump for the comments he’s made about punishing women for having abortions.

7:31 – It’s nice to see them both being more respectful of each other. I wish it had started out like this.

734: – Our nation does stand tall. We do have a strong military. This is total bullshit.

And that’s that. Kaine clearly lost, though he did start to make a comeback toward the end. The good news is that this probably won’t move the polls very much.


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