Rude, brash, but Trump pierced Biden

Rude, brash, but Trump pierced Biden. By Greg Sheridan.

Joe Biden … looked like a weak candidate trying unsuccessfully to be macho. …

Trump was by far the more forceful presence on stage. Both men interrupted each other. Trump started it and did it a bit more. The ruder insults actually came from Biden, who called Trump, variously, a racist and a clown and told him to shut up.

I was reminded of the Republican primary debates. Naturally civil Republicans such as Marco Rubio would try to mix up the insults with Trump. It never worked. Rubio diminished his core appeal — civility and mainstream political solutions — without seriously competing with Trump over who was tougher or nastier. …

Wallace and Trump saved the audience from Biden’s brain fog by talking over him:

Of course Trump always overdoes everything. … He would be more effective if he reduced the volume by about 25 per cent, which still would make him the loudest, brashest candidate in modern American politics.

But he did seed doubt about Biden across a number of fields. Trump attacked the Democrats’ Green New Deal. Biden responded by defending the Green New Deal. “Over time, the Green New Deal pays for itself,” he began, “because new plants …”

But then Wallace jumped in to save Biden, asking him, incredulously, if he was in favour of the Green New Deal after all. No I’m not, Biden said.

So that was as clear as mud. Wallace and Trump, both interjecting, saved that Biden sentence from becoming the spectacular train wreck that so many of his unscripted sentences so often become. Nonetheless, that exchange could hurt Biden in two contradictory ways. It convinces younger, more radical voters that Biden’s heart really isn’t in their radicalism. Yet it also worries pragmatic mid-westerners about what the real economic cost will be of whatever Biden does plan to do on green issues.

Trump hurt Biden a bit on law and order. Every law enforcement body, Trump said, by which he meant police unions, is backing me. No, Biden said, some are backing me. Name one, Trump challenged. Name a single law enforcement group that is backing your candidacy.

Biden stuttered and stumbled, seemed to have not a clue what to say. But as Wallace and Trump both kept talking he was once more effectively shielded from his own limitations.

hat-tip Stephen Neil