Last night’s Vice Presidential debate had virtually nothing in common with the main event from a week ago.
Yes, there were plenty of interruptions – particularly from Senator Tim Kaine. According to the transcripts, during the 90 minute debate he interrupted Governor Mike Pence and the moderator approximately 70 times. Pence was not entirely innocent, interrupting Kaine and the moderator around 40 times.
But somehow, it almost felt cordial.
Perhaps we’ve been desensitized by the over-the-top ridiculousness that is the nightly Hillary & Donald show on TV and our expectations are extremely low. But watching these two felt more like the politics of old – you know, the pre-click bait era when politicians didn’t have to think of ways to get ‘sick burns’ that will be made into GIFs and stuff.
That said, last night I felt unsettled watching this debate. Here’s why: because I was watching two self-professing Christians, who seem to have genuine faith, attempt to defend candidates whose actions, statements, and views do not resemble God in any way, shape or form.
They discussed their faith stories last night:
Both were clearly uncomfortable defending their running mates — and I suppose that’s a positive takeaway, because any decent person should be uncomfortable defending the indefensible.
Let’s start with Senator Kaine.
Pence arguably had the line of the night, albeit interrupted by the moderator, when in reference to Hillary Clinton’s reckless handling of classified email he said “our sons would be court-martialed if they acted like Hillary Clinton”:
Both candidates have sons in the military.
To even the casual observer, it is painfully clear that Clinton has not told the truth on this issue. People simply do not destroy hard drives and delete tens of thousands of emails due to honest mistakes. The fact that she wasn’t charged with something speaks more to the state of the system than it does of Hillary’s innocence. But Kaine soldiered on anyway, principles be damned.
Kaine was also forced to present Hillary’s foreign policy record as if it were a shiny new sports car, when in reality it more closely resembles a massive burning dumpster fire. Kaine’s presentation of current global affairs made it sound as if folks were skipping across the deserts of the Middle East, hand in hand, singing songs of praise to Hillary for all the peace she’s brought. Kaine may not have noticed Syria’s civil war, ISIS still wreaking havoc and death, and of course Libya – which is now an unstable mess thanks in part to Hillary’s assassination of Muhmar Ghaddafi.
An assassination she laughed and bragged about orchestrating.
Under Clinton’s watch, Benghazi burned and a U.S. Ambassador was murdered along with three other Americans. I noticed Kaine did not boast about Hillary’s “what difference does it make” line. Perhaps it slipped his mind?
Now on to Pence. He was backed into an awkward corner on multiple occasions as Kaine recited Trump’s greatest hits list of insults.
One can only imagine what a solid Christian like Governor Pence must’ve been thinking as he waited for his turn to reply. For a moment, I felt bad for the predicament Pence was in – then I remembered no one forced him to sign up for this, and I stopped feeling bad.
How can any self-respecting Christian defend Trump’s language, tone and even priorities? When Kaine cited Scripture to rebuke Trump’s tone, I couldn’t help but think — he’s not that far off. How can they defend Trump’s clear lack of consistency on virtually any issue?
On multiple occasions, Pence was struggling to shrug off some of Trump’s most egregious lines and stances – such as criminal punishment for those who have abortions and bold claims that he’d deport every single illegal alien.
There’s a certain amount of gamesmanship in politics no matter how virtuous the individual may be. But last night we witnessed two respectable men, at least when the topic of their running mates came up, attempting to defend the indefensible.