Debate Advice for Pence: Don’t Be a Wuss, Mike

There may be a temptation in the Pence camp to have the governor play good cop to Trump’s bad cop.  But Trump in the first debate was not a bad cop.  Trump was Trump.  He said the things he always says in the way he always says them.

Pence needs to forget about being sweet and reasonable, a gentleman and a wonk.

Of course Tim Kaine and his tag-team partner Elaine Quijano will try to make the show all about Trump.  Pence can’t take the bait.  He needs to establish at the outset that this debate is going to focus on the long and sorry record of Hillary Clinton and her husband.

To set the tone, Mike needs to ask for an apology from Lester Holt.

Before he answers the first question, the governor ought to say that he has a statement to make.  It should go something like this:  The two biggest political scandals since the impeachment of Bill Clinton over his lies under oath about the Monica Lewinsky affair are Benghazi and Servergate.

Madame Secretary ignored repeated requests from our embassy in Libya for more protection, gave an order to stand down when a rescue mission was ready to roll, and then lied to the nation about the cause of the attack.  Chris Stevens was the first U.S. Ambassador to be killed in over 35 years, and he need not have died.

In defiance of State Department regulations, Clinton set up a private server and used 13 unsecure devices to pass along classified information.  The Secretary personally wrote 104 of the 2,100 emails the State Department discovered contained classified information.  She then lied repeatedly to the American people.  She said she’d never sent or received classified information.  She said didn’t know what the letter “C” meant.  She said she turned over all her emails.  The FBI discovered that 14,900 were missing.  She lied about the number of devices she used.  Anyone else in the U.S. would have been indicted for what she did.

Yet Lester Holt never questioned Mrs. Clinton about these scandals—scandals that hogged the headlines for weeks.  Instead he grilled Donald Trump as to what he may or may not have said about Iraq during an interview with Howard Stern in 2002.

This bias is unacceptable.  It is disgraceful.  Lester Holt needs to apologize.   Until he does so, Pence should say, I’m going to ask him for an apology every day.  I’m going to be Holt’s conscience.  You’ll be forgiven, Lester, but you need to apologize.

Romney’s failure to out Candy Crowley at the beginning of the third debate was a fatal mistake.  Pence must not repeat it.

In addition, he ought to ask Kaine several questions about his running-mate.  Pence should point out that these questions are not likely to be asked of Kaine or Clinton herself by any of the moderators.  While his opponent is not under any obligation to answer them, they are questions that concern a great many Americans, including many undecided voters.

Mike should return to Benghazi and Servergate as often as he can, but there are other issues he needs to bring up.  Everyone will have his or her laundry list.  Here are a few suggestions.

Hillary’s health

The issue is not Madame Secretary’s lack of “stamina.”  The issue is that she collapsed in public on September 11th.  She toppled into a gutter.  According to Clinton’s doctor, Pence needs to say, she’s had three blood clots and is on lifelong Coumadin, a powerful anticoagulant.  Falls are extremely dangerous.  Yet her husband says they are frequent.  Clinton’s doctor blamed this last one on her being dehydrated and overheated.  If you tend to get dehydrated, there’s a solution:  drink water.  If you get overheated in 80-degree weather, wear short sleeves.  Hillary’s collapse was also blamed on pneumonia.  But if you have pneumonia, you don’t go hugging and kissing people, you don’t expose your grandchildren, you don’t expose an innocent little girl for a photo-op.  Americans are asking lots of question about this episode and will continue to do so until Clinton releases her medical records. 

Will Clinton do this? Pence should ask Kaine.  If Kaine replies that Trump has not released his, Mike should point out that the nominee has not recently collapsed on to the sidewalk and been carted into his limo.

Black Lives Matter

Are cops are waging war on African-Americans?  Of course there are instances when officers make mistakes, and they must be held accountable.  But this was not the case in Ferguson.  The officer was attacked, just as George Zimmerman was attacked.  Yes, it’s OK to say this.  And in other cases, like Charlotte and El Cajon, the victim failed repeatedly to obey the instructions of the cop.  I’m going to say something, Pence should say, that African-American mothers and fathers tell their sons each day:  If a cop tells you to do something, do it.  If a cop tells you to drop a gun or whatever you’re holding, drop it.  If by saying this to a national audience one life is saved, it will have been worth doing.

Trump was content to repeat the phrase “law and order.”  Pence has to go further.  Americans of all races will appreciate his candor.

Questions for Kaine:  Do you support Black Lives Matter?  Do you believe white lives matter, too?

The Iran Deal

Sanctions were crippling Teheran and emboldening the opposition to the mullahs.  The deal subsidizes a nation that has vowed to destroy us, and provides a path to its acquiring nuclear weapons.  Mike should make two points:

a.  John Kerry has conceded that Iran will use some of the 150 billion or so we’ve granted it to fund terrorism.  Pence should ask Kaine how many billions will be devoted to terrorism.  How many American lives will this cost?

b.  Next Pence should remind viewers of the promises that were made about the deal with North Korea that Bill Clinton signed in October 1994.  This was supposed to shutter Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.  Monitoring Kim Jong-il’s compliance was Wendy Sherman, lead negotiator in the deal with Teheran.  Of course North Korea did not abide by the terms of the agreement.  In September, North Korea detonated its fifth nuclear device.  Does Kaine imagine Iran will be any more trustworthy?  If Clinton’s “Agreed Framework” did not prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, why is he confident the agreement with Iran will succeed?  Already, important exemptions have been granted.

The Clinton Foundation

Pence needs to read at least the Instaread summary of Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash if he has not read the book or watched the video.  There is certainly the appearance of impropriety in large donations to the Foundation from Saudi businessman Mohammed al-Amoudi, Lukas Lundin, head of a Canadian mining and drilling company, and mining tycoon Frank Giustra.  They are accused of complicity in atrocities committed by regimes or factions in Ethiopia, the Sudan, and Kazakhstan, respectively.  The dictator of the latter was nominated by Clinton to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  Giustra then secured mining rights there and donated $30 million to the Foundation.  Paul Kagame, President for life of Rwanda, is another corrupt dictator befriended by the Clintons on behalf of donors interested in exploiting the country’s reserves.

Will these relationships continue with the Foundation under a President Clinton?

Will Bill continue to receive speaking fees of $200,000 to $700,000?  These fees soared once Hillary was appointed Secretary of State.  Can Kaine explain the quid pro quos?

The Great Recession

Unfortunately, this is too complicated to pack into sound bites.  There was a good article on the subject recently on this site by Jack Cashill and there are classic analyses by UT-Dallas economist Stan Liebowitz, Jeffrey Friedman, Mark Calabria, and Steve Sailer.

The takeaway for Pence is that the housing meltdown and Great Recession were not caused by “predatory lending,” “deregulation,” the rapacity of Wall Street, and that old standby, “trickle-down economics.”  They were largely the result of Bill Clinton’s successful efforts to undermine lending standards in the name of social justice.

The housing bubble wasn’t the only one that occurred on his watch.  Bill did nothing to help deflate the dot.com bubble.  When it burst, the NASDAQ plummeted from 5,132 in March of 2000 to 1,114 in September 2002, and millions of Americans saw their retirement savings vaporize.

Bill should be called Bubbles, not Bubba.  Hillary threatens to appoint him Economic Czar.  Is this a wise choice?

There is an embarrassment of riches for Mike Pence.  If he can induce viewers to google Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Troopergate, Jim and Susan McDougal, Ron Brown, Craig Livingstone, Marc Rich, ad nauseum, and the TWA 800 and 9/11 prequel cover-ups, all the better.

But he’s not going to succeed if he tries to be Vice-Presidential.  He is going to have to challenge and dismiss some of the questions he’ll be asked (he can defer them to Trump) and focus like a laser on Hillary.

Republicans have not performed well in recent Vice-Presidential debates.  Even Sarah Palin, feisty on the platform, was too deferential to Joe Biden, and chose not to discuss Obama’s radical roots and corruption.  Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Tony Rezko were not mentioned by name.  Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan were pussycats.  Pence has to be tiger.

There may be a temptation in the Pence camp to have the governor play good cop to Trump’s bad cop.  But Trump in the first debate was not a bad cop.  Trump was Trump.  He said the things he always says in the way he always says them.

Pence needs to forget about being sweet and reasonable, a gentleman and a wonk.

Of course Tim Kaine and his tag-team partner Elaine Quijano will try to make the show all about Trump.  Pence can’t take the bait.  He needs to establish at the outset that this debate is going to focus on the long and sorry record of Hillary Clinton and her husband.

To set the tone, Mike needs to ask for an apology from Lester Holt.

Before he answers the first question, the governor ought to say that he has a statement to make.  It should go something like this:  The two biggest political scandals since the impeachment of Bill Clinton over his lies under oath about the Monica Lewinsky affair are Benghazi and Servergate.

Madame Secretary ignored repeated requests from our embassy in Libya for more protection, gave an order to stand down when a rescue mission was ready to roll, and then lied to the nation about the cause of the attack.  Chris Stevens was the first U.S. Ambassador to be killed in over 35 years, and he need not have died.

In defiance of State Department regulations, Clinton set up a private server and used 13 unsecure devices to pass along classified information.  The Secretary personally wrote 104 of the 2,100 emails the State Department discovered contained classified information.  She then lied repeatedly to the American people.  She said she’d never sent or received classified information.  She said didn’t know what the letter “C” meant.  She said she turned over all her emails.  The FBI discovered that 14,900 were missing.  She lied about the number of devices she used.  Anyone else in the U.S. would have been indicted for what she did.

Yet Lester Holt never questioned Mrs. Clinton about these scandals—scandals that hogged the headlines for weeks.  Instead he grilled Donald Trump as to what he may or may not have said about Iraq during an interview with Howard Stern in 2002.

This bias is unacceptable.  It is disgraceful.  Lester Holt needs to apologize.   Until he does so, Pence should say, I’m going to ask him for an apology every day.  I’m going to be Holt’s conscience.  You’ll be forgiven, Lester, but you need to apologize.

Romney’s failure to out Candy Crowley at the beginning of the third debate was a fatal mistake.  Pence must not repeat it.

In addition, he ought to ask Kaine several questions about his running-mate.  Pence should point out that these questions are not likely to be asked of Kaine or Clinton herself by any of the moderators.  While his opponent is not under any obligation to answer them, they are questions that concern a great many Americans, including many undecided voters.

Mike should return to Benghazi and Servergate as often as he can, but there are other issues he needs to bring up.  Everyone will have his or her laundry list.  Here are a few suggestions.

Hillary’s health

The issue is not Madame Secretary’s lack of “stamina.”  The issue is that she collapsed in public on September 11th.  She toppled into a gutter.  According to Clinton’s doctor, Pence needs to say, she’s had three blood clots and is on lifelong Coumadin, a powerful anticoagulant.  Falls are extremely dangerous.  Yet her husband says they are frequent.  Clinton’s doctor blamed this last one on her being dehydrated and overheated.  If you tend to get dehydrated, there’s a solution:  drink water.  If you get overheated in 80-degree weather, wear short sleeves.  Hillary’s collapse was also blamed on pneumonia.  But if you have pneumonia, you don’t go hugging and kissing people, you don’t expose your grandchildren, you don’t expose an innocent little girl for a photo-op.  Americans are asking lots of question about this episode and will continue to do so until Clinton releases her medical records. 

Will Clinton do this? Pence should ask Kaine.  If Kaine replies that Trump has not released his, Mike should point out that the nominee has not recently collapsed on to the sidewalk and been carted into his limo.

Black Lives Matter

Are cops are waging war on African-Americans?  Of course there are instances when officers make mistakes, and they must be held accountable.  But this was not the case in Ferguson.  The officer was attacked, just as George Zimmerman was attacked.  Yes, it’s OK to say this.  And in other cases, like Charlotte and El Cajon, the victim failed repeatedly to obey the instructions of the cop.  I’m going to say something, Pence should say, that African-American mothers and fathers tell their sons each day:  If a cop tells you to do something, do it.  If a cop tells you to drop a gun or whatever you’re holding, drop it.  If by saying this to a national audience one life is saved, it will have been worth doing.

Trump was content to repeat the phrase “law and order.”  Pence has to go further.  Americans of all races will appreciate his candor.

Questions for Kaine:  Do you support Black Lives Matter?  Do you believe white lives matter, too?

The Iran Deal

Sanctions were crippling Teheran and emboldening the opposition to the mullahs.  The deal subsidizes a nation that has vowed to destroy us, and provides a path to its acquiring nuclear weapons.  Mike should make two points:

a.  John Kerry has conceded that Iran will use some of the 150 billion or so we’ve granted it to fund terrorism.  Pence should ask Kaine how many billions will be devoted to terrorism.  How many American lives will this cost?

b.  Next Pence should remind viewers of the promises that were made about the deal with North Korea that Bill Clinton signed in October 1994.  This was supposed to shutter Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.  Monitoring Kim Jong-il’s compliance was Wendy Sherman, lead negotiator in the deal with Teheran.  Of course North Korea did not abide by the terms of the agreement.  In September, North Korea detonated its fifth nuclear device.  Does Kaine imagine Iran will be any more trustworthy?  If Clinton’s “Agreed Framework” did not prevent North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, why is he confident the agreement with Iran will succeed?  Already, important exemptions have been granted.

The Clinton Foundation

Pence needs to read at least the Instaread summary of Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash if he has not read the book or watched the video.  There is certainly the appearance of impropriety in large donations to the Foundation from Saudi businessman Mohammed al-Amoudi, Lukas Lundin, head of a Canadian mining and drilling company, and mining tycoon Frank Giustra.  They are accused of complicity in atrocities committed by regimes or factions in Ethiopia, the Sudan, and Kazakhstan, respectively.  The dictator of the latter was nominated by Clinton to head the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  Giustra then secured mining rights there and donated $30 million to the Foundation.  Paul Kagame, President for life of Rwanda, is another corrupt dictator befriended by the Clintons on behalf of donors interested in exploiting the country’s reserves.

Will these relationships continue with the Foundation under a President Clinton?

Will Bill continue to receive speaking fees of $200,000 to $700,000?  These fees soared once Hillary was appointed Secretary of State.  Can Kaine explain the quid pro quos?

The Great Recession

Unfortunately, this is too complicated to pack into sound bites.  There was a good article on the subject recently on this site by Jack Cashill and there are classic analyses by UT-Dallas economist Stan Liebowitz, Jeffrey Friedman, Mark Calabria, and Steve Sailer.

The takeaway for Pence is that the housing meltdown and Great Recession were not caused by “predatory lending,” “deregulation,” the rapacity of Wall Street, and that old standby, “trickle-down economics.”  They were largely the result of Bill Clinton’s successful efforts to undermine lending standards in the name of social justice.

The housing bubble wasn’t the only one that occurred on his watch.  Bill did nothing to help deflate the dot.com bubble.  When it burst, the NASDAQ plummeted from 5,132 in March of 2000 to 1,114 in September 2002, and millions of Americans saw their retirement savings vaporize.

Bill should be called Bubbles, not Bubba.  Hillary threatens to appoint him Economic Czar.  Is this a wise choice?

There is an embarrassment of riches for Mike Pence.  If he can induce viewers to google Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Troopergate, Jim and Susan McDougal, Ron Brown, Craig Livingstone, Marc Rich, ad nauseum, and the TWA 800 and 9/11 prequel cover-ups, all the better.

But he’s not going to succeed if he tries to be Vice-Presidential.  He is going to have to challenge and dismiss some of the questions he’ll be asked (he can defer them to Trump) and focus like a laser on Hillary.

Republicans have not performed well in recent Vice-Presidential debates.  Even Sarah Palin, feisty on the platform, was too deferential to Joe Biden, and chose not to discuss Obama’s radical roots and corruption.  Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Tony Rezko were not mentioned by name.  Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan were pussycats.  Pence has to be tiger.