Opinion | Morgan Liddick: A more orderly vice presidential debate | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Morgan Liddick: A more orderly vice presidential debate

The vice presidential debate in Utah was orderly, at least. One could hear the participants, which might be bad for Kamala Harris. Her repertoire consisted of canned attacks, stale half-truths, fibs bigger than Mount Elbert, sneers, snickers and the odd eye-roll. 

She opened with the oft-repeated fib that the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 was a catastrophe. She didn’t mention that early testing failures were due to the bureaucracy of the Centers for Disease Control, its protocols and faulty tests — developed by the same “health experts” Harris and Biden extol. The president trusted them too — and they failed him.

Harris said Joe Biden would have worked for widespread testing, a vaccine and massive production of personal protective equipment; Vice President Pence replied that it sounded a bit like plagiarism, since that was exactly what the Trump Administration did. He mentioned the administration’s billion-dollar “Warp Speed” program to develop vaccines, but didn’t note that by July, the administration organized the National Institutes of Health and seven private partners to develop and field rapid testing, spending about $250 million. Nor the use of the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of PPEs, nor other efforts the administration had undertaken, like providing hospital facilities to a panicked New York City that demanded, but didn’t use them.

Asked if tax increases would decrease innovation, Sen. Harris declined to answer, but her response was illuminating. A Biden-Harris administration, she said, would repeal the Trump tax cuts that, in another oft-repeated lie, she claimed only “benefitted the top 1% and biggest corporations …” neglecting both the extra $2,000 it put on the average middle class family’s table and recent analyses showing the cuts’ progressivity.

Thus a Biden administration would snatch money back from taxpayers, that they may “invest” — or spend your money on — “clean energy,” free college, reductions in student loans, roads and bridges and other Democrat pet projects. Remember “shovel-ready jobs” that weren’t all that shovel-ready? Here’s the same old proposal, led by the guy who was in charge of the last boondoggle.

The vice president countered by noting that under Trump, the average American family saw its income grow by $4,000 over the past three years. He noted that if the Trump tax cuts were repealed, everyone’s taxes would rise. Sen. Harris objected, but could not explain why.

Challenged on the environment, Pence said that yes — “the climate is changing,” but then noted that the important question is, “what do we do about it,” proposing a cost-benefit approach. He pointed out that the Biden-Harris ticket had promised to implement the “Green New Deal” and to return the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord, both of which would impose crushing penalties on our economy. He mentioned that the U.S. has reduced CO2 emissions more than other PCA countries, which is true — and that progress on environmental protections is made possible by a strong economy — also a fact: Poor countries do not have surplus funds to keep their lakes blue. He also noted that much of the U.S.’ progress was due to switching from coal to natural gas, largely obtained by fracking — which both Harris and Biden have repeatedly called to halt.

Harris’ response was brief, untrue and twice repeated: “Joe Biden will not ban fracking.” She evidently forgot that before other audiences both she and he had definitively promised to do so.

Sen. Harris’ most elaborate fib came late. In response to a direct question from Vice President Pence — the moderator apparently didn’t dare bring it up — about the Biden-Harris term’s intention to “pack” the U.S. Supreme Court. Harris deflected with a story about Abraham Lincoln refusing to nominate a justice 27 days before the election of 1864. It was a complete fabrication. Lincoln didn’t nominate because the Senate was not in session at the time, not out of a sense of propriety. At least her response was more anodyne than those of Biden who, when pressed on the topic of court-packing Friday and Saturday last, told the reporter that it was none of the public’s business.

Excuse me, what?

Lies. Mischaracterizations. Inability to add. Wild and frightfully expensive pipe dreams. An attitude of impunity and disrespect for the electorate. This is what we hear from Sen. Harris and her running mate; these are the real planks of their platform. The American public must now decide if they are an acceptable basis for good governance.

Or not.

Morgan Liddick’s column “On Your Right” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. Liddick spent 27 years working for the U.S. Foreign Service, primarily living abroad. He also spent 12 years teaching U.S. history and Western civilization at community colleges in Colorado and Texas. He lived in Summit County as recently as 2015. Contact him at mcliddick@hotmail.com.

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