The VP Debate And The Merits Of Implausible Denialability

Tim Kaine was not great Tuesday night. His demeanor was less than ideal. He missed several key opportunities, interrupted egregiously and repeated himself far too many times (Vladimir Putin, tax returns, Vladimir Putin, tax returns). He appeared petulant, uncomposed, and most importantly, he personified the stereotype of a weak, ineffectual liberal. Why apologize for the “basket of deplorables” comment? He should have owned it and doubled down, citing David Duke and the other confederate flag waving white supremacists and anti-Semites supporting the Trump-Pence ticket — people for whom THEY should be apologizing.

Pence also won the body language battle. He looked like an adult while Kaine came across like a teenager hopped up on a NoDoz-Red Bull cocktail. And I say this with love as a vehemently anti-Trump, Hillary supporter.

While all that may be true, even in this reality dating competition of an election ― facts are still facts!

As Tim Kaine enumerated the heavily documented vitriol of Donald Trump, quoting him word for word throughout the debate, Pence smugly shook his head on the other side of the split screen ― as if to virtually delete his running mate’s statements. His strategy was not to defend Trump’s contemptible comments, but rather to simply deny that they were ever even said.

Someone forgot to tell the governor that you can’t erase a laundry list of offensive, ill-informed and downright destructive comments as if they were drunken Facebook posts that you’ve discovered after waking up fully clothed on your couch with a shiny quarter stuck to your cheek. Evidence exists ― we’ve all seen the videos. They’re everywhere!

But in our ‘style first, substance perhaps at some point’ culture ― will it even matter?

Will Pence’s calm, cool and terrifyingly steadfast performance withstand the inevitable fact checking and consulting of the myriad damning video clips and actually help close the bit of light created by Trump’s disastrous debate performance? It’s a sad statement on the diminishing value of truth in our society, but my guess is that it will.

Still, I would love to declare Kaine the winner, but that would make me as bad as them.