White vs White: Vice-presidential debate 2016


10:40. Kaine “hit the erogenous zones of the Democratic Party coalition.” Fuck you, Chris Matthews.

10:39. Mike Pence did an excellent job reassuring the GOP base that he could be a plausible candidate in 2020.

10:31. Kaine makes his worst mistake this evening: using “dialogue” as a verb.

10:30. Pence: “You whipped out that Mexican thing again!”

10:27. The difference in their recent backgrounds: Kaine shares hot-milk-with-cookies anecdotes about bein’ Irish ‘n’ Catholic; talk show host Pence can’t answer a question about “faith conflicts” without turning the question into a spear he can jab into his opponent.

10:25. I guess Americans care about “faith” eh.

10:22. Beltway wags will mourn the candidates’ reluctance to discuss North Korea, but who cares? What is there to say? What can the United States do? “North Korea” is a freebie designed to make candidates look tough.

10:19. Kaine jumps into the banality of defending the Clinton Foundation with the satisfaction of a man who finally gets to recite what he rehearsed.

10:12. I’m not sure Donald Trump knows about his running mate’s truculence towards Putin.

10:04. Feckless feckless feckless.

9:58. Whoa. Strange moment when they both shook their heads as the moderator spoke, as if they finally looked upset — disappointed? — in each other.

9:55. Kaine gives the impression of someone who’s never sweated before klieg lights a day in his life; Pence’s helmet hair and ability to speak in semi-coherent sentences deflect the heat. On conventional terms Pence gives the better impression, but he hasn’t refuted a single one of his running mate’s positions: he shrugs them off as if he read them on Redstate and can’t admit to a thing on the record.

9:50. A talk show host who has to deal with phone calls more batshit than he, Pence has his unctuousness down to a sheen.

9:41. If I didn’t know Tim Kaine, I’d say he was Dan Quayle in 1988. Mike Pence does a decent impersonation of a man who hasn’t read a mainstream news story about Donald Trump since June 2015.

9:29. The dispiriting part of this debate is the degree to which these men want to refute the notion that they’re dull. Stepping on each other’s lines (mildly, like a spoon sinking into oatmeal) mans them up, I guess.

9:27. “There they go again,” Pence said sorrowfully, as if Pence…heard this someplace? Wonder where…

9:23. “He went through a difficult time,” Pence says sorrowfully, as if Trump had to put a cat down.

9:21. Kaine touts a small business tax cut, Pence rails against a War on Coal. Debt is bad. I suppose this is the Beltway’s idea of a substantive debate.

9:20. Kaine re Pence: “A one-man bulwark against minimum wage increases in Indiana” — excellent line.

9:15. Watching Pence and Kaine interrupt each other is like watching two Kiwanis Club members in Sanford, Florida disagreeing about where to hold the holiday carnival.

9:14. Kaine: “You’re Donald Trump’s apprentice.” OOF.

9:11. I first noticed during the Bush/Kerry debates the trick of a candidate through the motions of thoughtfully Writing Things down while his or her opponent speaks. Kerry did it well; Bush had the air of, “Gee, that looks smart, better do it too.” Kaine and Pence both look like Bush.

9:08: Pence: “I grew up with a corn field in my backyard.” I grew up with a library in mine!

9:07. Kaine: “My primary role in Hillary’s campaign is to be recede if not disappear.”

9:02. On the eve of the debate, Out breaks the news that during the nineties Pence wrote an article in which he or someone using his byline wrote the following: “Homosexuals are not as a group able-bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.” I’m ebullient already. Stay tuned tomorrow.

8:59: Boring. Mike Pence will go “on offense.” He is an “attack dog.” Tim Kaine has “to make Hillary Clinton attractive.” The edifying nature of political discourse continues.

8:20 p.m. Brian Williams with a rare stab at dry wit a couple minutes ago re Trump/Pench: “The top of the ticket will be live tweeting tonight, curated presumably.”

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