Guy W. Farmer: Kaine vs. Pence — a real debate

I watched a real debate Tuesday between the two major vice presidential candidates, Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Republican Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. I thought Pence won the debate on points and I’d vote for him in a heartbeat if he was the GOP presidential candidates. He’s not, however, so I’m sticking with good old “None of the above.”

Left-leaning USA Today, which has urged voters not to support Republican candidate Donald Trump, summarized Pence’s debate performance as follows: “A smooth and folksy Pence dealt with the aftermath of everything from Trump’s tweetstorm against a former beauty queen to the disclosure of a billion-dollar business loss that may have meant Trump didn’t pay federal income taxes for close to two decades.” In other words, Pence looked and sounded “presidential” in contrast to Trump, who looks and sounds like a spoiled child, a grown-up Dennis the Menace.

“Kaine’s primary mission,” USA Today continued, “was to denounce Trump’s rhetoric, resume, and general fitness for the Oval Office.” Perhaps that’s why Kaine repeatedly interrupted Pence, ignoring efforts by moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News to keep the debate on track. She doggedly attempted to follow her debate outline while the two candidates interrupted and/or insulted one another for 90 minutes.

“We’re moving on now,” she said as the candidates bickered about Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton’s rogue email server. Ms. Quijano moved on, but they didn’t as they stuck to their scripted talking points. Pence mentioned Mrs. Clinton 70 times while Kaine referred to Trump more than 160 times.

The “Politico” website published an even-handed review of the vice presidential debate, concluding “Pence managed to smoothly deflect (Kaine’s) barbs, and he sidestepped repeated demands from Kaine to defend Trump’s campaign trail antics.” In response, Pence accused Kaine and Mrs. Clinton of running an “insult-driven campaign.” Touche’.

I was impressed by Pence’s broad knowledge of foreign policy issues. As Politico noted, he appeared “to articulate a more muscular and detailed approach to conflicts around the world than Trump.” At one point Pence called for U.S. military intervention in Syria, a position Trump hasn’t publicly taken.

Although I’m not a particularly religious person, I paid attention as the candidates discussed their religious beliefs toward the end of the debate. Both of them are lifelong Christians who live their faith and champion family values and support for the military. In fact, both candidates have sons who are active duty Marines. So I think these are two good men saddled with the nearly impossible task of defending the two oldest and most unpopular presidential candidates in modern American history.

Pence tried to turn Trump — a proudly ignorant candidate who can’t even pronounce the name of our state — into a serious presidential candidate while Kaine tried to convince us Mrs. Clinton is honest, trustworthy and likeable, none of which is true.

It almost makes me want to wear the T-shirt I saw on one of my more irascible Seattle cousins that reads, “I already hate our next president.” But I’m too much of a diplomat to do anything like that. Ahem.


I think fellow columnist Abby Johnson was right when she suggested the controversial Vintage Project might have been “pre-approved” by city officials before the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, Sept. 29. Once again, despite overwhelming opposition from nearby homeowners, we saw another example of cozy relationships between local officials and real estate developers. Public opinion be damned. One thing for certain, you can be sure the Board of Supervisors won’t vote on this project before Nov. 8.

Guy W. Farmer, a retired diplomat, is a longtime Carson City resident.


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