Friday, October 23, 2020

President Trump's Improved Debate Performance Not Good Enough

Last night was the last debate of the 2020 presidential election season.  Here are my thoughts:

It was Trump's best debate performance.  But being better does not mean "good."  Trump, obviously, was not prepared substance-wise and he still comes across as the jerk he truly is.  Biden, while far from perfect, was much better prepared and more presidential.  Biden also comes across as much more likeable and empathetic. Instant polls following the debate confirm that Biden was the debate winner.

Trump lost every debate to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and didn't win a single GOP primary debates that preceded those debates.  He now has lost both debates to Joe Biden in 2020.  Maybe it is time to accept the fact that Trump is just not good at debates.

That is not to say Biden was that good in last night's debate.  He made some policy mistakes which may come back and hurt him.   For example, Biden has been trying to defend fossil fuel jobs while promoting green energy which would ultimately replace those jobs.  That effort involves straddling the proverbial fence, but last night Biden fell off that fence, leaving the impression he would not defend coal and oil jobs as the American economy moves towards green energy.  That is a position that will be used against Biden in states such as Pennsylvania and Texas.

Biden also fell down on the raising the minimum wage question.  Biden said he supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and that it will not cost any jobs.  That is malarkey.  Trump quite correctly pointed out that such an increase would hurt small business, especially as those businesses tries to recover from the pandemic.

Currently the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.  No employer pays the minimum wage anymore.  Almost all lower end jobs are at least $10 an hour, most higher.  There are a lot of jobs in the $11 to $16 range, and many actually pay benefits.  If the owner of a small business is required to increase his employee's pay from $12 to $15 an hour, he may well not hire more employees or cut back on the hours of current employees or cutting back on benefits.  The notion that business owners can always pay more to employees without any impact on their business is a fantasy.  If raising the minimum wage does not impact employment, then why stop at $15 an hour?  Raise it to $20, $25 or $30 an hour.  The exercise proves how silly the claim is that raising the minimum wage never costs jobs.

Trump suggested getting get rid of the federal minimum wage and leave the issue to states.  I agree with that, though I would point out, like as to most issues, Trump has been on every side of the minimum wage, including supporting increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.  

Regarding the Hunter Biden "scandal," that, Republicans, is not going anywhere.  And even if it was a viable issue, do you really think Donald Trump is the right person to make the case against Joe Biden for nepotism, conflicts of interest, receiving money from foreign governments, corruption, etc.?  That's like John Dillinger complaining about a shoplifter.

The moderator, Kristen Welker, is getting praised for her efforts moderating the debate. Welker was good but she was certainly aided in her efforts by the addition of the mute button and the fact Trump's constant interruption of Biden during the first debate so turned off voters.  Welker can thank Chris Wallace for going through debate moderator hell to make Welker's experience so much better.  

OOP's short takes:

  • Too funny:  Trump taps Ivanka for a rescue mission: Win back suburban women  Yeah, good luck with that one.  Why not just put a dress on Jared and let him do it?  Tone Deaf 101.
  • Another Politico headline:  'Warning flare': New swing-state data shows massive Democratic early-vote lead.   I am generally not a fan of making a big deal about early voting, which is usually just cannibalizing in person Election Day votes, but the fact that voters are waiting in line for hours to vote says something about the enthusiasm level of Democratic voters.  No one is better at turning out Democratic voters than Donald J. Trump.
  • I'm amazed at the people defending CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin for allegedly pleasuring himself during a Zoom conference call.  They argue that everyone does this sort of thing during Zoom business meetings and Toobin's only offense is he screwed up with the technology and got caught.  What???  Did I miss a memo?
  • The last two weeks, Indiana has been setting Covid-19 records.  Yesterday, Indiana reported 2,850 new cases, another new record. The surge is officially here.
  • I really hate those ads for Senator John Ruckelshaus which slam his Democratic opponent, Fady Qaddoura, for using his then Indianapolis City Controller position to cut early childhood education programs.  Leaving aside the faulty assumption that such programs work (academic studies have clearly demonstrated that the boost to children in the programs is only temporary), I don't believe that City Controller is a policy-making position.   I've known John for a number of years.  Great guy, but he is not going to win that race.  I so wish he would not have ran for re-election.
  • Likewise Republican Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer, from the east side of Indianapolis, is not going to win re-election.  She barely won last time and since then the partisan winds have shifted even more in the Democrats' direction. Why she did not walk away a winner is a mystery.

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