The vice-presidential debate between Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence last night gave us two sides of Kaine: Kaine can’t and Kaine cant.
Kaine can’t say he’ll be Clinton’s right-hand man. No, he’ll be her “right-hand person.”
When it comes to men, Democrats are riding the culture wave and would prefer not to distinguish between men and women for certain purposes. Announcing himself Hillary Clinton’s right-hand man wouldn’t be prudent. It would be insensitive. It would be exclusionary. Tim Kaine loves you, in your many genders and varieties and manifestations, even if Hillary Clinton will be our first woman president and not our current presidential person.
As Clinton’s “right-hand person,” Kaine reminded me of Norman Mailer’s mocking analysis of the use of the proposed substitute for “woman” back when he was playing the villain of feminism. Feminists of the era objected to “woman” because it was derivative of “man.” They promoted the neologism “woperson.” Mailer asserted, however, that “woperson” too was objectionable, with the tinge of masculinity in “-son.” The preferable form would be “woperon.” Kaine can be Clinton’s woperon!
Kaine’s cant featured oddly timed interjections regarding Trump’s allegedly perfidious nonpayment of taxes, or something like that. I wish someone would explain that the income tax code seeks to tax income. Offsetting losses against income is basic to the operation of the income tax system. It’s not a loophole and it’s not complicated.
Kaine’s cant also featured several assertions that the Iran deal has stopped Iran’s nuclear program. As always, the Democrats seek to exploit the profound ignorance of their prospective supporters. Iran’s nuclear program not only continues, the Iran deal funds it for the indefinite future.
Kaine’s interruptions delivered a parade of Trump’s greatest hits, occasionally twisted to maximize the offense in each case. Pence mostly declined to take the bait.
Kaine must have been instructed by the Clinton team to interrupt Pence. He started at the outset and kept it up until the conclusion.
Kaine seeks to present himself as a nice guy. His performance showed him to be a phony (as he is a phony moderate). The nice guy thing is his persona; he’s a jerk following orders or simply a jerk. I’ve met a lot of politicians like him and I hate the type.
Pence presented a strong critique of Clinton on conservative grounds. He maintained his presence of mind through Kaine’s constant interruptions. He touted his own record as governor of Indiana (without objection or response). He disparaged Kaine’s record as governor of Virginia (without objection or response).
Pence sought to introduce the rather serious abuse of national security and related laws represented by Clinton’s email scandal. Pence was shut down by the moderator from CBS News. She let Kaine roll over her and otherwise made it two against one as Pence fended for himself (see Monica Sanchez/Media Research Center).
CBS News, of course, presents as an extreme case of mainstream media playing on the Democrats’ team. See, e.g., Sharyl Attkisson’s Stonewalled, her memoir recounting her career inside CBS News.
I wished Pence could make a difference in the election and I wished he were the candidate at the top of the ticket. He seemed to me to show the appeal of the conservative case against the Obama era that Clinton promises to deepen and extend.
Quotable quote (Tim Kaine, via Jim Swift/Weekly Standard): “I’m proud because [Hillary Clinton’s] vision of stronger together, building an economy that works for all, not just those at the top, being safe in the world not only with a strong military but also strong alliances to battle terrorism and climate change…”
JOHN adds: The conventional wisdom is that Mike Pence did very well, and “won” the debate handily. For what it’s worth, Frank Luntz’s focus group had Pence prevailing on a 22-4 vote. I enjoyed this mid-debate tweet by Luntz:
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 5, 2016
Given the way this year’s election season is going, we conservatives have to get our enjoyment where we can.