Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Tim Kaine did not advance the personal career of Tim Kaine last night.  Of course, that wasn't his job, and one thing Kaine is is a "good soldier."

What he did was set a new media agenda for the week.  Josh Marshall is right.  Pence seemed like a reasonable conservative, rather than the absolute nut job that his career suggests.  But he was calm and dignified, unlike Trump.  He's like Ben Carson, in that he can say crazy things in a reassuring voice, but without Sleepy Time Ben's incipient narcolepsy.

But that's not the point.  Pence "won" the debate by pivoting back to talking points (all while complaining about talking points) rather than defending what couldn't be defended.

The problem is that what couldn't be defended was Donald Trump.  Plus, Pence lied like a rug.  And the Internet age is rather unforgiving of that much lying.  Pundits may have praised Pence's equanimity, but the follow up fact checking is and will be brutal.  Basically, you have Pence on tape saying that Trump didn't say the things that we have Trump saying.  First, that makes Pence a liar or a fool and second, it allows for more campaign ads showcasing all the wretched things Trump has said.

The strategy of getting Pence on the record about Trump was flexible enough that if Pence had agreed with Trump (like Kelly Ayotte did), you can tie the entire GOP to a deeply offensive man.  If he denies he said what he said, you attack him as fundamentally dishonest.  If he repudiates Trump - or even outshines him - you set up the fragile ego of the Tangerine Nightmare for an epic blowback

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