White bread wins, democracy loses
by Mike O’Brien
Beige. Vanilla. Who the fuck is Tim Kaine?
These were the adjectives my fellow students used to describe the vice presidential debate between Hillary Clinton’s VP Tim Kaine and Donald Trump’s Mike Pence, a riveting television event described by The Daily Show as “two pairs of khakis fighting each other”.
Hot off the heels of the dumpster fire that was the first presidential debate, and dangerously close to the second showdown, one could be forgiven for not giving a single flying toss about the groundbreaking arguments and discussion that ensued over 90 minutes on Wednesday night. HOWEVER...I actually completely agree, I don’t give a shit about this debate, who would? By the time you read this article, the second presidential debate will have already happened, making this entire article for naught. Hell, 40 percent of Americans can’t even name the vice presidential candidates, let alone care about what their position on North Korea’s nuclear program is.
But I digress, when taken out of the context of this absolutely batshit insane election cycle, the meeting did serve as a reflection of what the presidential debates would look like if this election was a somewhat “normal” one; with two (relatively) civil contestants making the case for their respective candidates in a way that would sound somewhat coherent to a voter despite perhaps lacking in substance; compared to the incoherent yelling of Donald Trump, both of these candidates looked prepared, calm, and rehearsed, even if Tim Kaine took a few too many espresso shots before jumping on stage.
With all of this said, here’s some takeaways from the debate written by a guy who is trying (and failing) to really give a shit about this.
1. Pence kept it together with no material.
Let’s give credit where credit is due, attempting to defend Cheeto Hitler on national television is like trying to bail out the Atlantic ocean with a beach bucket; and despite this insurmountable task, Governor Mike Pence managed to keep his cool under pressure, responding to questions with a calm and sedated tone that could only come from a man who governs over the vast nothingness that is the state of Indiana. In the end, however, Pence’s calm demeanor was for naught because as we’ve previously established, Trump’s antics and opinions are borderline indefensible, and by simply existing as Trump’s running mate, Pence was painted as an accessory to his bullshit.
2. Tim Kaine needs to chill
Tim Kaine was unusually jumpy on Wednesday night, despite having the upper hand in material, public opinion, and reality. In stark contrast to the first presidential debate, it was the Democratic candidate who did most of the interrupting, cutting Mike Pence off numerous times during the event. Much of this “jumpiness” could be attributed to the revelations regarding Trump’s tax returns that were released by The New York Times that week; as a result, Kaine relentlessly battered Pence on the matter, bringing up the issue in arguably inappropriate situations (like North Korean nuclear deterrence). Nevertheless, Kaine fulfilled his purpose at the debate; painting Pence as an accomplice to Trump, unable to defend his actions on numerous occasions.
3. Pence forgot who his running mate was.
My biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s debate was undoubtedly that Pence seems to be woefully uninformed on who his running mate is. Every accusation made by Kaine was vehemently denied, Pence silently shaking his head and scowling during the Democrat’s attacks. From calling Mexicans rapists to the plan to ban Muslims from immigrating, Trump’s VP could only claim the remarks were taken out of context or claim that the remarks were not said at all, despite video recordings of his running mate proving otherwise. Pence was between a rock and a hard place for this debate, and if post debate news coverage is to be believed, opinions of Trump were not changed.
All in all, despite Tim Kaine “winning” the debate, Wednesday’s meeting was largely a polite formality and will largely be forgotten (including by yours truly). I phoned this article in, it’s hard to write about an event with so little impact on polls or public opinion and still maintain a guise of quality journalism, that is, however, if my writing was ever quality journalism (it wasn’t). In conclusion; the debate was mostly nothing, and this article is also fittingly mostly nothing.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to drink, because lord knows I won’t be capable of tolerating the second presidential debate sober.