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Douglas Andrews / Oct. 21, 2020

The Debate Commission Is Rotten

Chock full of bias and bad ideas, the commission keeps putting its thumb on the scale to help Biden.

Could there be a sorrier bunch of failures anywhere in America than those who collectively call themselves “The Commission on Presidential Debates”? Anywhere? Okay, besides the Detroit Lions?

It’d be one thing if these commissioners were merely inept. At least then, we’d be inclined toward sympathy and forbearance. But imagine going to watch the Lions kneel for the anthem and roll over for their opponent, then having your pocket picked by the concessions guy and your car stolen by the parking lot attendant. That’s essentially what these hacks — ahem, these debate commissioners — have done to President Donald Trump.

But the commission comprises both Democrats and Republicans, you say? Well, sure, but as Bob Dole has noted, not one of the Republicans on the commission supports Trump. Not one.

As for that commission, so far it’s presided over an embarrassing food fight of a first debate — a debate moderated and defiled by a registered Democrat named Chris Wallace; then they canceled the second debate after changing the town hall format to a “virtual” version without consulting the candidates; then their choice of moderators, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, accidentally outed himself as a Trump-hater; then he lied about it, claiming — in dog-ate-my-homework fashion — that his Twitter account had been hacked; then the commission cobbled together separate but concurrent town halls — although ABC’s George Stephanopoulos treated Joe Biden like a Faberge egg, while NBC’s Savannah Guthrie treated President Trump like a first-phase recruit.

The only thing the commission has actually done right is pull off a pretty good vice presidential debate. But all credit there goes to Mike Pence, who commanded the stage while gently and courteously mopping the floor with an out-of-her-league Kamala Harris. Moderator Susan Page kept trying to short the veep on time, but it didn’t matter. Pence was masterful, and he dominated his opponent without even raising his voice.

This Thursday, then, will be the final debate, but with a twist to allow muting of the candidates’ microphones at certain times, and a selection of topics chosen by Democrat moderator Kristen Welker and friends to — once again — help Biden and hurt Trump.

The last of the three presidential debates was, all along, supposed to be centered on foreign policy. But all that changed on Friday, when Welker announced some topics that are far less fraught with peril for Biden: fighting COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security, and leadership.

Notice that the Biden-friendly issues are front-loaded to give him a good start, while Trump’s two strongest suits are at the tail end, when lots of folks will have already tuned out. Where might the president force-feed a question about Ukrainian influence-peddling or Chinese bribery? Or one about Biden’s uncanny ability to have been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades,” as Bob Gates, the former defense secretary for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, put it? Probably under “national security,” after most folks have already seen enough. Mission Accomplished, as far as Kristen Welker is concerned.

Then again, “American [crime] families” might provide an opening…

Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien voiced his displeasure with this rigged game in a letter to the Debate Commission: “This was supposed to be the foreign policy debate,” he wrote, “so the President still looks forward to forcing Biden to answer … whether he’s been compromised by the Communist Party of China. Why did Biden allow his son Hunter to sell access to him while he was vice president, and why were there Chinese payment arrangements for Joe himself worked out by Hunter and his sketchy partners? If the media won’t ask Joe Biden these questions, the President will, and there will be no escape for Biden.” (If you’re concerned about the commission’s egregious bias, you can give them a piece of your mind at [email protected] or by phone at 202-872-1020.)

We’re not sure how much good a sternly worded memo will do, though. Only one man can make this fight on Thursday night: Donald Trump.

When the topic is COVID-19, we hope the president talks about the travel ban with China, and the great therapeutics, and the coming vaccine, and the Great Barrington Declaration as a sensible and promising way forward.

American families? Talk about the Trump economy and its record-low unemployment rate for women, then pivot to the Biden recession-in-waiting. And remind us that every American family, regardless of where they live, wants peace and prosperity, and law and order.

Race? Keep talking about the economy, but with a focus on record-low unemployment for blacks and Hispanics and Asians. Then switch to the corrosive influence of Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and unchecked illegal immigration on our civil society.

Climate change? Point out that our air and water have never been cleaner, and that fracking is a key part of this. Then look directly into the camera and say, “I’m fighting for you, Pennsylvania.” Then pound Joe Biden on his Green New Deal. Then pound him some more. And some more.

National security? Focus on Ukraine, China, the Iran nuke deal, the four Nobel Peace Prize nominations for Middle East peace, and staying out of wars.

Leadership? Remind viewers that you’ve been a leader all your life, but that Biden hasn’t led anything since he came to the Beltway in 1973. And tell us that real leadership involves facing tough questions from a hostile press, not running away from them and “calling a lid” on one’s workday by 9 a.m.

In closing, remind us that you’ve done more for our country in 47 months than Joe Biden has done in 47 years. Tell us that you’re eager to get back to work for us, and that you’re asking for our votes.

That oughta do it.

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