Last Friday, Rob Crisell had an article over at The American Spectator explaining why he thinks Groper Joe will evade the three scheduled debates. I have thought that over some, and I’m not sure I agree, although I imagine there is some chance he may well try to duck out. Excerpts, with my comments:
While Biden has said “he can hardly wait” to take on Trump in the debates, I don’t think his team or his proxies will let him. Even before Kenosha, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Lockhart, and others were publicly urging their candidate to pull out of the debates, ostensibly because of Trump’s alleged incorrigible dishonesty. I expect that the drumbeat to withdraw will increase steadily over the next two weeks. The usual anti-Trump “bombshells” by the media (like those in the Atlantic and in Bob Woodward’s latest book) will provide the Democrats some cover, though dodging the debates will hurt them in some circles.
I think dodging the debates will hurt the Groper Joe campaign more than in “some circles.” I think it will hurt him with a large number of voters. It’s an admission of weakness, and an admission that this old dotard is just not up to the task. If his campaign people are not completely incompetent (and this assumes facts not in evidence) they have to know that the President will be looking for ways to punch Groper Joe’s buttons, to upset and distract him and to provoke a meltdown. But withdrawing from a tradition of debate that goes back at least to the Lincoln/Douglas debates will hurt even more.
If Biden defies my prediction and proceeds with the debates — whether out of misplaced confidence or desperation — they are far more likely to be a disaster for him than a success. Although he and Trump are roughly the same age, right now they are worlds apart in terms of their mental and physical abilities. Moreover, Biden’s former, more moderate positions on law and order, patriotism, religious liberties, business, even pro-life issues — are at loggerheads with the progressive stances he’s been forced to adopt in the new Democratic Party.
Here I agree completely; the debates are likely to be a disaster for Groper Joe. The one thing that is likely to make them a disaster is the one thing the President excels at – finding people’s buttons and pushing them.
For instance, he’ll have no choice but to defend the protests, which have become associated in the minds of many Americans with rising violence and chaos in Democratic-run cities. He’ll have to praise BLM and its anti-police rhetoric, which also goes against his grain. His critique of Trump’s response to COVID will also ring hollow, since it was he and other Democrats who downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic early on, and who later instituted the most draconian lockdowns.
Yes, he will have to do all of those things, and he’ll have to offer some form of defense for those positions. Otherwise, the President’s campaign will be free to define them for him.
It won’t take much work on Trump’s part to confuse and frustrate the former vice president on these and other issues. When this happens, Biden will likely misstate his party’s positions, veer wildly off topic, make up facts, or even fly off the handle, as he did with a Detroit autoworker in March.
Of course he will. But in any conflict, if you let your opponent define the terms of the battle, you’re on your way to losing. I learned that when in a U.S. Army Infantry unit, but it applies to almost any form of conflict.
Groper Joe can’t duck these debates. His staff will load him up on Adderall and coach him as best they can, but he can’t back out. If he does, he’s conceding the election. If he doesn’t, he’ll look like a befuddled old fool (which is, after all, a pretty fair assessment) and almost certainly lose. He just simply does not have any good choice.