The VP Debate aired this week. The world watched as these two older white men duked it out on national television. Tempers rose high and voices were raised, a few times. It was tough to stream this morning on YouTube to review the event. Maybe because so many realized it happened after reading it in the news, today. So, they’re watching it now. In all, I wasn’t disappointed.
It looks like most people seem to believe that Pence won. I think they were both more or less solid surrogates. Nothing crazy happened, nothing crazy was said. It was unremarkable like their personalities. Except, Pence has some spice and he used it when he needed it. Pence also reminded me of the compassionate conservatism that President Bush invoked campaigning.
Tim lost me and came off the hinges when he said Trump has a kind of personal Mount Rushmore. That’s where we’ve gone. Weird, colorful, attacks that aren’t fair. The civility and understanding, across the board, is so lost that we’ve lost our ability to hold our criticism to any scrutiny. If Kaine dissected his assertion that Kim Jung-Un is on Trump’s personal Rushmore he would dismiss it. But I’m sure some young advisor generated that one up between Instagram posts.
Al-Qaeda is an enormous threat and is not that different from the one ISIL poses – except Al-Qaeda will live on past Syria. ISIL is the product of a lot of things. They’re the perfect monster and distraction – depending on who you are. They’ve been allowed to exist as an army. Their days are numbered, years, a decade, whatever – Al-Qaeda is likely an eternal threat. Al-Qaeda has a strong foothold and continues to gain a footing in Africa; a porous part of the world where they can mass power and influence and we’re way behind. This didn’t come up, of course.
These two guys are boring. They’re so lame it really isn’t funny. The best way to watch that debate with the original Batman television series theme song playing in the background. Whenever candidate makes a glib or cutting remark, you can play the “blam!” sound that played when bad guys were punched. I think that music is the most appropriate for these two characters. They came out swinging! For them. But, taking all of that in, is that what you want from a vice president? A calm and sensible person you can turn to for advice that isn’t biased with passion? Someone who has experience and friends in the legislature? They both have that (and don’t seem particularly passionate).
It is so interesting how this is the vice president, who in many cases and often is the President’s surrogate for critical and important negotiations, and no one cares about their debate. This discussion did not receive very much hype before or after. But it lends a real look into a future White House. Also, according to some rumors. Pence could be in charge of all domestic and foreign affairs – so what he says is especially telling of what will transpire in his future White House.
It was pretty good. They spoke to one another – no one’s children or grandchildren up. No mud was slung in either direction, and it wasn’t cringe-worthy. It almost had an air of…civility? In that sense, it was weird, and my snapchat account suffered. There was proposed policy in that debate, and it was discussed. These two men went as far to argue over content – not character of one another. At one point Mike Pence said “God bless” Sen. Kaine for a lifetime of public service. The VP debate felt more like a Presidential of olden times, or four years ago.
Before I dive into Syria and Russia, I admit that Syria and Russia did come up. Syria is the same and demands action or inaction, but a plan nonetheless. However, the situation with Russia is a crisis. It’s not a matter of who likes Putin or not. We need Putin and the ability to at least communicate with him. But they became so distracted by character assassinations of both Putin and Trump via his positive comments towards Putin that they missed the topic of Russia.
However, some things that did not come up are alarming still. It’s more alarming that in our media, today, some topics do not come up. They aren’t clickbait. We are closer to war now more than at any other time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, a war between two world powers that could expand a confrontation, globally. Iraq and Afghanistan are both separate and different than a possible open confrontation with Russia. They have real allies; they aren’t isolated. They’ve fought wars – fly planes, helicopters – and they’re scary.
So, why was this not brought up? The cease-fire failed. Both sides are at blame. Putin and his war party are convinced they’re under attack by the West. Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov told the world they were “cheated” in the cease-fire. It did not figure prominently into this debate.
The tired guns argument came up. That argument isn’t going to be settled out of the executive; it’s been made clear, the needle won’t move without legislative action. But, the executive branch is the principal foreign policy decision maker. It’s clear, at this point, Obama has a vision for the Middle East. A redistribution of powers and one without tyrannical governments. It’s a liberation theory to form civilizations. But, to what end and under what timeline?
Featured image courtesy of www.mcclatchydc.com.