We are within a day of the debate between Joe Biden and President Trump, yet there is still a substantial amount of skepticism that such an event will come up. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh has gone on record saying Biden will back out.
What is clear is that Biden has been doing nothing except preparing for this debate, with his campaign putting a “lid” on his appearances early every morning. He’s done with his day before most teenagers and welfare recipients are even getting up.
I can imagine what prepping Biden was like for his staff. If you’ve seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I’m guessing it resembles the scene where the King of the Swamp Castle says to the guards:
KING: “Make sure the prince doesn’t leave this room until I come and get him.”
BIDEN: “Not to leave the room . . . even if you come and get him.”
KING: “No, no, ‘until’ I come and get him.”
BIDEN: “Until you come and get him, I’m not to enter the room.”
KING: “No, no, no, you STAY in the room, and make sure HE doesn’t leave.”
BIDEN: “And you’ll come and get him.”
BIDEN: “I don’t need to do anything, apart from just stopping him from entering the room.”
KING: “No, no. LEAVING the room.”
BIDEN: “Leaving the room, yes. Oh, I remember, uh, can he leave the room with me?”
Seriously, I’m guessing Biden’s team no sooner thought they had a topic locked down before Biden drifted into incompetence and showed he had already forgotten everything. And now we know he has been in the Senate 180 years! That should open up some fantastic opportunities for Trump:
TRUMP: “I wonder if Senator Biden would tell us his view of the Dred Scott decision, or whether he supports the Kansas-Nebraska Act?”
TRUMP: “Since he has been in the Senate 180 years would Senator Biden tell us how he voted on the U.S. entry into the Spanish-American War?
TRUMP: “Perhaps since Senator Biden has been in the Senate for 180 years, he would tell us what he thinks of California’s eugenics and sterilization laws?”
Of course, it’s unlikely Trump would do this. Indeed, if there is a danger in the debate it is that Biden wins by simply remaining upright with his eyes open for an hour and a half. Trump can lose by being perceived as a bully beating up on a mental deficient. This is a very real danger. If I were Trump, I would not say anything about Biden that he didn’t say himself. And I would not say anything to correct his lunatic demented ramblings, but I would raise an eyebrow or look quizzically at the camera.
I think it also important that Trump not simply answer the questions he’s given but answer the kinds of questions Biden is given as well. Trump himself alluded to this in one of his rallies, suggesting that Biden’s questions will be something akin to his favorite color, while Trump’s will be closer to the “airspeed velocity of an unladen African swallow.” I’m serious. The difference in questions will be this stark. Biden’s immense mental weakness is a far more daunting hurdle to Team Trump than was Hillary’s arrogance. On the other hand, Biden has a second titanic weakness: his temper. If Trump can gently goad him into becoming surly and antagonistic, Biden will lose every bit of sympathy his condition might otherwise create. I’ve seen enough residents of nursing homes to know that the old folks are “sweet” and “a pussycat” until they start cussing you out. Then attitudes shift rapidly.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author along with Michael Allen of the New York Times #1 bestseller A Patriot’s History of the United States, author of Reagan: The American President, and founder of the Wild World of History educational curriculum site with full courses in US and World History that include teacher’s guide, student workbooks, maps/images, tests, and video lessons with every unit (www.wildworldofhistory.com).