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CSotD: The Post Debate Debate Debate

Thank you for coming. Don’t forget to tip your waitress. Drive safely!

No, wait — though Hamill said it all, there was a bit more more reaction, including a fundraising appeal that the Trump/Pence campaign sent out on Facebook, boasting of the President’s convincing victory over Biden.

Which might have been more convincing if someone hadn’t accidentally posted it about 12 hours before the debate.

 

But Dear Leader did get approval from the Proud Boys, an anti-semitic, racist band of armed thugs who joyfully updated their logo when he declined to denounce white supremacists, instead urging

Proud boys stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what: Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.

Cartoonists were less impressed with his performance, and I was impressed by how quickly so many of them leapt to their drawing boards, rather than waiting until their next regularly scheduled deadline.

 

Signe Wilkinson (AMS) often live-draws political events, but usually in quick-sketch mode, rather than with this level of finished work. And her take on the debate illustrates a less-is-more approach that covers the topic without laboring to be clever.

Insight doesn’t need to be clever.

 

Peter Hannan, more known for illustration work than political cartoons, focused less on the interruption factor than on the general tenor of Dear Leader’s remarks, and the cloud of crud with which Hannon surrounds the screaming, leaping president is a case of adding more to his piece than Wilkinson did to hers, but still making an eloquent commentary on the tone of the debate rather then getting into the weeds of specific content.

Here’s the thing about both cartoons: We can have our own little minidebate about who said what and who got fact-checked and so on and so forth, but it’s hard to deny their depictions of how Trump handled himself.

I suspect that very few people who were not already firmly in his corner took his constant interruptions as a sign of strength, and also I suspect that, if any Undecideds were watching, they must have been repelled by his behavior, however they processed the content of what he said.

 

Dave Whamond (Cagle) takes up a frequent comment seen on social media, that they should have had a mom as moderator (some said a teacher), and it’s clever and well done, but, as we move into a more traditional political cartooning style, there is an increasing risk of misinterpretation, because it appears that she’s warning both of them, when even Chris Wallace openly declared that it was the president who was interrupting and violating both the rules and the spirit of the event.

 

A factor which Steve Brodner (freelance) — going back to a more iconic depiction — captures in a way that is hard to misinterpret, though Biden wasn’t quite that silent as the wave of abuse rolled on.

Biden was in a very difficult position, because he needed to thread the needle between saying nothing and looking like a wimp or saying too much and coming off as part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

I think he made a few potential errors, like calling the President of the United States a “clown,” which may seem accurate but can be seized upon as disrespecting the office. And, having weathered a storm of unfounded bullshit about Hunter, he shouldn’t have brought up Beau and given Dear Leader an opening to repeat the accusations.

Also, as he repeatedly chuckled at the gibbering from the other side of the stage, I thought of Al Gore sighing at W’s nonsensical economic theories, which did him more damage than good.

 

However, given Trump’s outrageous debating style, as Ed Hall (Artizans) depicts it, it seems trivial and unnecessary to nitpick Biden’s moves in threading that needle.

Another frequently-seen comment on social media is that people had to turn it off, or that they felt their blood pressure spiking as the show went on, and I think it’s valid to point out that Biden didn’t have the option of simply walking off the stage.

It takes a certain personality, and, in the trials in which I’ve been involved, I’ve been impressed to the point of mystification by the ability of the attorneys to keep their cool and keep their heads in the game when the tension was high and the feces were flying. One hour in the dock at an FTC hearing and I went home and drank myself into oblivion, a response that would kill you if being in court were a daily occurrence.

So kudos to Joe for balancing the extent to which he chilled and the extent to which he responded. His campaign has already got a “Will you shut up, man” T-shirt available, but that may be a bigger misstep than anything their candidate did all evening.

It’s gilding the lily: We all heard him say it, but it wasn’t the keynote of his performance. (And a shirt that won’t ship for two weeks seems like striking when the iron has cooled.)

Besides, it assumes this was the height of confrontation, which I certainly doubt.

Despite some calls for cancelling further attempts to debate the issues, the other debates will happen, with or without the change many have requested, that future moderators employ a kill-switch on candidates’ microphones when the other person is speaking.

In any case, “Will you shut up, man” certainly won’t be the line that is remembered, bringing us to this

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Clay Jones – freelance)

(Lalo Alcaraz – AMS)

One of the key factors cited in election analysis is turnout among minorities, and what I strongly suggest will be remembered in their communities will be that Trump, given the chance to denounce white supremacy, not only weaseled his way around the opportunity, but actively encouraged a racist lynch mob to “stand by” and await their chance to wreak violence in the streets.

That is, what will be remembered is not that Biden’s campaign was peddling snarky T-shirts, but that Trump himself brought the circus to town and was selling postcards of the hanging.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Steve Herberger
September/30/2020
@ 7:48 am

No moms, no teachers, I nominate Samuel L. Jackson as next moderator.

#2 Mary Ella
September/30/2020
@ 7:50 am

Remind me again how women can’t be president because they’re too emotional?

#3 phil von neupert
September/30/2020
@ 8:55 am

Well, the debate was a mess. The next two will be as well. As long as Trump is on that stage, chaos will reign. Any rational, thoughtful debate will only reveal Trump’s weakness and incompetence, and he’ll have none of that. Biden wasn’t great, but at least he didn’t give props to White Supremacists, like Trump did. The choice is obvious.

#4 Ed Rush
September/30/2020
@ 10:02 pm

I followed your link, but they don’t list a a “Will you shut up, man” T-shirt, alas.

#5 Mike Peterson
October/1/2020
@ 2:18 am

Ed, you’re right — perhaps they thought better of it.

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