The Prosecutor, the fly and Vice President Pink Eye
If you were looking for the Vice Presidential debate to be more honest, substantive, and civil than last week’s Trump Show, bless your heart. You really don’t know politics, do you? But even the most cynical political junkie, like me, was taken aback by the behavior of Trump’s Stepford wife, and vice president, Mike Pence.
Mikey’s very first answer regarding the spread of the corona virus was in lockstep with Trump’s incessant and untruthful response, “He shut down China.”
Trump did not shut down China. He allowed thousands of U.S. citizens who were living in China to re-enter the United States. Apparently when Trump dubbed the pandemic the “Chinese virus” he didn’t think it applied to American citizens living in, or visiting, China. But none of that matters. The virus doesn’t discriminate. Right, President Regeneron?
Besides, as time goes by there is more evidence that the virus actually came to us from Europe, landing in New York before it hit the west coast.
Pence continued regurgitating Trump’s lies. He blamed the west coast fires on poor forest management. He said there are no more hurricanes today than 100 years ago. When moderator, Susan Page, nailed him down with the specific question regarding whether climate change is an existential threat, Pence broke with his denier boss with one of the most laughable lines of the night.
“We’ll follow the science,” Mike Pence said with a straight face. Which happens to be the only face he has.
But Pence quickly reboarded the Trump train with the tired, years-old claim that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign and called out the Biden-Harris ticket for endorsing “fraudulent” universal mail-in voting. And when former prosecutor Harris hammered Pence for attempting to take away medical coverage for preexisting conditions with the chilling, “they’re coming for you” warning, Mike Pence smugly looked into the camera and said, “President Trump and I have a health care plan.”
No. No they don’t. It’s been four goddamn years and they still don’t have an alternative to Obamacare.
But Mike Pence didn’t just parrot Donald Trump’s words. I wonder if he knew he was quoting a Democratic Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, when he admonished Senator Kamala Harris a couple times with, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
Pence brought prop guests. In one of his more disgusting moves, he invited the family of Kayla Mueller, the human rights activist who was killed in 2015 by members of the Islamic State in Syria. Pence said Biden had a chance to rescue Kayla but he hesitated. Mike Pence said Kayla’s parents believe if Trump had been president their daughter would be alive today.
That was just shameless and very sad.
And then Pence introduced his second prop guest. Flora Westbrook, a black business owner in Minneapolis who lost her salon in riots after the killing of George Floyd. Of course, the Trump administration loves to confuse peaceful protests with rioting and looting.
But somebody, or something, in the audience wasn’t having it.
Just as Mike Pence began spouting his lily-white version of racial justice in this country, a big, beautiful, black fly landed squarely on his head. I have no idea what came out of Pence’s mouth after that because I was joyously basking in the metaphor of a fly landing on this pile of Pence.
Senator Kamala Harris had wings of her own and soared through the evening with competence, intelligence, and compassion. Sure, she ducked a lot of the questions poor Susan Page attempted to ask. But she did what she had to do. Harris introduced herself to the nation and walked the tightrope required of successful, black women. And in heels, no less! She was likable – a trait male candidates are never graded on. Harris was strong but not bitchy, compassionate but not weepy, respectful but with limits.
When Mike Pence continued to steamroll over her, with a twinkle in her eye she’d smile and say, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking.” Every woman in corporate America had to feel that. I know I did.
And she landed some real zingers. Beginning with calling out Trump’s “weird obsession with getting rid of all Barack Obama’s accomplishments.” Harris reminded Mike that it was his administration that shut down the existing pandemic office and pulled the team of disease experts out of China.
Harris spoke in down-to-earth terms. She asked how calm were we when we couldn’t find toilet paper? She called out the Trump administration for removing the words “science” and “climate change” from the government website. She said she’d be the first in line to take the vaccine for the virus if the health experts approved it. But if it’s on Trump’s word only, she won’t get vaccinated.
And on Trump’s world leadership, Harris continued to speak the truth. She called him out for “betraying our friends and embracing dictators.” In her Captain Obvious voice, she said, “Donald Trump doesn’t understand what it means to be honest.”
When she was given 15 seconds to respond to one of Pence’s unbelievable attacks on the Obama administration after successfully pulling this economy out of the abyss, she did it with time to spare.
“Joe saved the auto industry. You voted against it,” said Harris. Who then smiled, looked to the moderator, and said, “Thank you.”
I understand Trump’s cult followers will say Pence won the night. Biden supporters will give it to Kamala. And whoever wins the election is going to have a tough time reuniting this beaten and broken country.
In a shout out to Rodney King, Susan Page asked Mike Pence how we can all get along. Pence cited former Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
So the best he could come up with is two dead polar opposite justices who shared a love for opera and rode camels together? Not to mention that Pence is on the team ramrodding a far-right replacement for RBG against her dying wish to wait for the election.
I don’t think he has pink eye. I think Mike Pence was crying his eyes out with Mother backstage because he knew he had to go out and tell even more lies to please his hell-bound, scary boss.