The Trump vs Biden Spectacular

Oddities and irregularities, so many leading up to what will play out in an Atlanta studio some few hours from now that this “presidential” debate between two men, neither yet their parties’ official champion, doesn’t seem strange at all.

Weird stuff everywhere. An Australian tourist goes through US Immigration and gets the standard hard time from the typically brusque passport-stamper. A Yemeni twentysomething crosses illegally from Mexico and gets a free ride to the city of his choice, where local taxpayers will supply accommodation, a phone, some walking around money and free medical care. Go figure that one.

Or ponder a justice system that installs a hand-picked judge, one who donates to Democrats and whose daughter is a major-league fundraiser, to preside over the trial of the Republican presidential contender.

You might marvel also at the eager and trusting nature of New York jurors, especially those who placed their faith in a woman who says she was sexually assaulted in the changing room at Bergdorf’s department store. She can’t quite recall what month it happened or even the year or what he was wearing, but she seemed sincere and that was enough for the jury not to wonder what store detectives were doing as coat hangers rattled against the cubicle’s walls.

Bear all of the above in mind, plus the fact that the leader of the Free World has had to shed his regular duties for eight full days of rehearsal and preparation, and the conditions under which the encounter will unfold — it kicks off at 11am Sydney time — are only mildly strange.

First, there will be no audience, not even just the couple of pool reporters the White House Correspondents Association has been pleading to see admitted. Only during ad breaks will the studio doors open to them, after that out they go. CNN has offered no explanation, but as all the other conditions were dictated by Biden’s handlers, it’s fair to assume this is another White House stipulation.

The combatants’ microphones each come with a kill switch operated by the CNN moderators, so there is little chance that Trump, even if the spirit is upon him, will reprise the bellicose interruptions and insults that cost him the first debate in 2020.

And those moderators! Where Trump is concerned there is nothing moderate about them. Jake Tapper is a Trump hater from way back and prize hypocrite to boot. After the post-election legal contests between Al Gore and George W in 2000, the recounts and hanging chads, all of this ultimately being decided by the Supreme Court, he published a book-length fulmination about the the process that put the wrong man in the White House. About the postal-vote rorts and ballot mass mailings that made the 2020 result so dubious, not a peep.

His offsider, another Beltway swamp dweller, is Dana Bash. Apart from sharing an equally well documented hatred for Trump and the fervent belief that he is a slave in Putin’s service (and probably Satan’s too), she is the former wife of Jeremy Bash, CIA chief of staff under Barack Obama. Just by way of background, her ex was one of the ‘Dirty 51’ intelligence ‘experts’ who put their names to the open letter asserting Hunter Biden’s laptop “had all the appearance” of Russian disinformation. Biden batted away Trump’s mention of the laptop at their first 2020 encounter on the strength of that analysis. As Miranda Devine today reports, both the CIA and FBI had known for months the laptop was the genuine article, including being fully aware of its crackhead owner’s grumbles that he had to reserve ten percent of his graft “for the big guy” — knowledge that extended from field agents and FBI computer techs all the way to the Office of the Director, where permission to publish the letter was granted without a second thought.

Will Trump make much of the laptop, Biden’s denial and Bash’s background? That may well depend on the moderators’ kill switch, for those of cynical bent can’t avoid suspecting not a one-on-one debate but a three-person mugging.

Many people, including some Quadrant Online readers, judging by comments threads, hold Trump in barely higher regard than do CNN’s talking heads, but even those who can’t abide the man must surely catch the stench surrounding what were once America’s most respected — nay, vital — institutions. If not an outsider, and Trump is the ultimate outsider, who will clean out this reeking stable? 

For Biden, the encounter is freighted with risks that, much as he might have wished to avoid them, are looming larger by the day. Trump is ahead or tied in key battle ground states and he is raising more money than the incumbent. Adding urgency to Biden’s need to dispel the growing disquiet in Democrat ranks are the whispers. Only today Michelle Obama had to kill quietly promoted speculation that she would run for president, even saying her distaste for politics is such that she wouldn’t be campaigning for Biden.

And then there is Hillary, who has a new book coming out in September and is always ready for her closeup. Last week, Hillary’s friends were floating the notion that she would make a fine replacement for Veep Kamala Harris. Put her on the ticket and she’ll stand ready to replace him when the Twenty-Fifth Amendment kicks in. That’s the one laying out what happens in the event a president can no longer fulfill the duties of his office.

Biden has much on what’s left of his mind. A fair-to-reasonable performance is the minimum needed to see the foiling of Trump’s oft-repeated prophecy that he will not be his opponent in November.

Something to watch:

You have to wonder why Team Biden, having won a coin toss, had the choice of speaking first or second and opted for the former. Any barrister (or spouse, for that matter) will tell you it is preferable to have the last word, but Biden forsook that advantage for the right to occupy the lectern on the right side of viewers’ screens. Huh? Surely it can’t be vanity that inspired the decision — neither Biden’s left nor right profile is, unlike the left elbow of the Mikado‘s Katisha, an object of such beauty that admirers are in its thrall.

At today’s daily White House press conference, talking mop and habitual dissembler Karine Jean-Pierre was asked if Biden would be pumped with performance-enhancing drugs, as many suspect was the case when he delivered the State of the Union in March. He ranted, he shouted, he glared, he drove the AutoCue as if it had been entered at Le Mans; as he galloped through his address, he even broke from the prepared text to trade barbs with hecklers. It wasn’t Sleepy Joe on the podium that night. Jean-Pierre refused to dignify the question with an answer, but you have to wonder.

Suppose, just suppose, Jacked-Up Joe returns tonight, all piss and vinegar and sparking like a Catherine wheel? If that is indeed the result of some unidentified Doctor Feelgood’s discrete pharmacology, then speaking first makes sense: the drugs are peaking and the words are flowing. Ninety minutes later, the First Kidneys have done their job and the inspiration of a dummy’s little helpers is ebbing, so best to get those parting words out while there is some benefit to be gained and let Trump wind up the show.

Sure it’s a theory, a weird one and, with any other president unthinkable. But unthinkable, it’s the new normal.

The comment thread is open to subscribers, as always. The observations of readers who watched proceedings in real time are particularly valued

18 thoughts on “The Trump vs Biden Spectacular

  • Peter OBrien says:

    I wondered whether this debate, unlike last time, would be worth watching and it was.

    Biden was right out the box with a lie – that Trump had recommended people inject bleach. Strangely Trump let that one pass.

    Setting aside the claims and counter claims, some of them of dubious nature on both sides, Trump clearly won the debate. His self-confidence, balanced by amazing (for him) self control, contrasted with Biden’s bumbling, was all it really needed.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    I found it impossible to tell if Biden’s oft repeated falsehoods (son died in Iraq, unemployment rate on his election, Border Patrol Union endorsement, Charlottesville neo-Nazis hoax etc. etc.) are deliberate lies or symptoms of dementia. After the debate I’m favouring to the dementia explanation. If Biden remains the candidate after this performance I’ll be amazed.

  • lbloveday says:

    The Australian accepted this comment of mine:
    Biden claimed he had created “thousands of millions” of jobs. He did not correct himself.
    I’ve previously commented on how the standard of comments is deteriorating – here’s a reply:
    Trump said he would accept the election decision. He did not correct himself.

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    I heard John Stanley, fill in for Michael McLaren, on 2GB describe Trump as narcissistic and only in for himself. Such is Trump Derangement Syndrome to think a 79 year old billionaire needs to be President and in so doing face the humiliation of countless false charges and ridiculous trials as well as travelling the country drumming up support. Trump believes he can Make America Great Again by implementing some pretty logical policies. Like securing the border, throwing out the illegals, reducing dependence on China, making the military strong, having energy security and having jobs for citizens all good ambitions ignored by the incumbent and our own illustrious leader. Trump will lead the West to resume its proper role in world affairs. Our leaders will have a fine example if Trump succeeds.

  • johanna says:

    See comments at Dover’s, Roger.

  • March says:

    Pretty much as expected…. Who is the most likely Democrat replacement?

  • ianl says:

    July 11 – sentencing.

    My best guess is 2 years home detention with GPS to prevent him from campaigning. Might work, although Trump’s popularity seems to rise every time a toy popgun sounds off.

    Jail time would cause a great deal of street violence now, I suspect. Even Merchan would probably blanche at that.

    As Bertold Brecht wrote satirically (East Germany, 1925):

    “The people got it wrong. They must be dismissed and a new people appointed immediately”.

    Surely voting will be declared as criminally undemocratic unless there’s only one candidate on the ballot paper. After all, the deplorables will probably vote the wrong way, you know.

    All of which is to say we are reaching the pointy end. Interesting and edgy.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Just watching 7 News where Tim Lester reported that, after the debate, Biden went to a waffle shop. No doubt he needed a top up.

  • Alistair says:

    Hope you are enjoying yourself over there Roger! Not all work and no play I hope.
    I still think the Democrats are throwing the election because they know there is a financial collapse coming – After all they are orchestrating it!
    Strangely I have seen reports around the blogs that Sunak and Macron are also throwing their elections – getting out while the going is good.
    Perhaps Albanese didn’t get the email?
    Amusing times ahead

  • wdr says:

    The big problem is that the Dems will replace Biden with someone who will beat Trump. Thankfully, there is probably no time for this, as the party conventions will be held soon, and delegates already chosen and pledged to Biden have to stay pledged to him. There is also no obvious Dem replacement candidate, except maybe V P Harris.

  • wdr says:

    Michael Goodwin, a columnist in the New York Post newspaper, said that Biden “looked as if he just escaped from a wax museum.’

  • James McKenzie says:

    The Democrats have corrupted democracy: the same goes for here.


    This uniquely timed debate was staged by the cunning and desperate Democrats as a waypoint where the decrepit Joe Biden is thrown under the Democrat bus at an opportune time coinciding with the ‘surprise’ introduction of a replacement candidate who will have enough gloss and distraction potential to sway undecided votors in the Democrat direction. As far as the Democrat cause goes, it’s money well spent on elder abuse for the good of the party.

  • Bron says:

    A replacement candidate to take on Trump in a second debate is definitely needed.
    Desperate times need desperate actions.
    What about this suggestion?
    The Democrats grant an emergency US citizenship to Kevin Rudd, elect him as the Democratic Candidate and arrange a second debate.
    Trump would be faced with long words and convoluted sentences. An ego as large as his. Personally, I don’t think that Donald would stand a chance.
    Think about it, time is running out

    • lbloveday says:

      Granting “emergency US citizenship” would not get even close to satisfying the US Constitution’s stipulation that a President must:
      Be a natural-born citizen of the United States. Be at least 35 years old. Have been a resident of the United States for 14 years.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    It wasn’t a debate, it was a train-wreck with Trump wryly observing from the sidelines. Trump was strong and got over the main message – whatever is done in policy terms for welfare, health, education etc is going to be financially swamped by ever more illegal migration from the southern border, entailing greater taxation for citizens. Also, he conveyed constantly that Biden’s policies have wrecked the economy that Trump left to him in good order, and that Biden was overseeing American decline. Trump was agile and measured, Biden was neither. .When not speaking his rehearsed lines, and doing those chaotically, Biden was simply ‘not at home’, eyes staring, mouth agape. Yet now, two days later, the Democrats are still in a public prop-up-the-puppet mode, although there are serious rumblings afoot about how to get rid of Biden.

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