The Washington Post has a ludicrous spin on Trump's debating skills
The first presidential debate is scheduled to begin in four days, when Trump and Biden take the stage in Cleveland to answer questions from Fox News's Chris Wallace. The biggest question of all is whether Biden will show up or suddenly come down with the Wuhan virus. The second biggest question is whether, if Biden does show, he'll be functional. The Washington Post confesses that people close to Biden are worried, but that fear is assuaged with the ludicrous claim that Trump won't be able to handle tough questions, either — because he never gets them!
As we near the first 2020 presidential debate, Biden is the invisible man. Thomas Lifson has advanced the credible theory that Biden's campaign is trying to alter his circadian rhythm. If, as people speculate, Biden has dementia, he's going to be prone to sundowning, which means that, as the day draws to a close, he could become increasingly confused and even delusional. Lifson believes that Biden's team is trying to move his internal clock ahead by 12 hours so his body believes that the debates are taking place in the morning rather than in the evening. In that way, Biden will be at his best.
Trump has been blunt: he believes that Biden will be full of drugs to help him keep his focus for the debate. At the same time, Trump makes the important point that Biden has been spouting political talk for 47 years. In theory, even with a brain that's drifting away, training and drugs will ensure that Biden can go through the motions:
Trump is smart to temper expectations. If the expectations for Biden are too low, if he manages to make sense, the media will pronounce him the winner. After all, he's not as incoherent as snippets would have you believe. For example, his seemingly silly statement about quartermasters working in ladies' clothes was part of a longer, poorly expressed but still intelligible point he made in a speech to veterans about jobs after they leave the service:
Even as Trump warns his followers that Biden may make sense, Sean Sullivan and Josh Dawsey, of the Washington Post, wrote an article trying to lower expectations. It's not clear if they're doing so because they're genuinely concerned or because they want Biden's performance to look stellar next to everyone's assumptions that he'll be incoherent.
The article's main professed concern is that Trump may goad Biden into losing his temper. Although the left loves to say Joe is an incredibly nice guy, he's not. He's always had a mean streak, and it's worsened with age. He talks about punching people, insults their intelligence, says they're liars, calls them names, and generally does not show to advantage when his dander is up. Or, as the Post's writers delicately say:
The prospect of a cage match between a president for whom no subject is off-limits and a challenger who can be openly emotional is making some Biden advisers nervous. They see a fine line between Biden's passion and empathy, which can appeal to voters, and the raw anger that sometimes gets him in trouble and could undercut his pitch as a calming alternative to a president who thrives on chaos.
"When you go at his family, he becomes hotter than hell, which is part of the thing I worry about," said John Morgan, a Florida trial lawyer and major Biden donor. "I think what Biden has to be careful about is not letting his Irish temper blow when that happens."
Biden-supporters shouldn't be too worried, though, the writers counsel. First, they say, Trump isn't much for preparation.
"The president's view is: He's been president for four years, he's been in training every day," one ally said. "He thinks he doesn't need any prep."
Second, both candidates' lack of debate experience is a double-edged sword. The authors are concerned that Biden's last election year debate was in 2012, but they believe that the primaries helped buff his skills. It's Trump, though, who the Post warns should be most worried: "Trump himself has rarely been exposed to hostile questioning during his presidency — so he, too, could be out of practice."
In what universe do these post reporters exist? There has not been a single day of his presidency when Trump hasn't fielded hostile questions from the media, all of which are phrased in the most disrespectful tones. If there's one thing Trump can handle with equanimity — indeed, with the fierce joy of a true warrior — it's hostile questioning.
Don't underestimate Biden, who's ridden at the debate rodeo before, and who will have been prepped and energized in ways we don't even want to imagine. But don't underestimate Trump, either. He can think on his feet and has the magical knack of making leftists expose their worst selves.