Liz Peek: Biden and the debate – this could shake up the race as former VP finally gets grilled
On Tuesday, Joe Biden will finally – finally – be forced to answer tough questions from a non-sycophant newsman.
Can the Democrat candidate survive 90 minutes of an unscripted, fast-paced presidential debate without claiming to have been in the Senate for 180 years or putting the COVID-19 death toll at 200 million Americans, goofs he has made in recent days? Can he endure the challenges sure to come from President Trump without wandering off into the ether?
That is the question, the elephant in the room.
The spotlight will be on Biden. Voters know Trump. They have seen him at rallies, at press gaggles, in interviews; for better or worse, they know what to expect.
They do not know Biden 3.0, now in his third presidential campaign. He has engaged in very few give-and-takes with reporters or even with donors.
For months, Republicans have looked forward to the presidential debates, eager for the nation to see the Democrat candidate Joe Biden naked, without his teleprompter.
Trump supporters may be disappointed if they anticipate an epic collapse from Biden. The Democrat has prepped for days for the debate, and he can most likely endure a short exposure without embarrassing himself.
But Republicans should be just as eager to see Biden pressed on the issues. Seeking turnout from the progressive wing of his party, Biden has moved far to the left, even as he still pretends to be a moderate.
Voters need to hear how he plans to spend $7 trillion of their tax dollars on programs aimed at achieving racial justice and “greening” our country. They need to assess his proposed $4 trillion tax hike, which will clobber all Americans, despite his claims to the contrary.
Moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has listed six topics that he will address, including COVID-19, the Supreme Court, the economy, Trump and Biden’s records, race and violence in our cities, and the integrity of the election.
Here are just a few of the things Biden ought to address. His answers could easily shake up the race.
On the economy, which routinely ranks as voters’ primary issue:
Recent Census data shows that in 2019, before the pandemic savaged our economy, household incomes rose 6.8%. The poverty rate declined to the lowest since records began, and income inequality also narrowed. Republicans claim those gains, which led to the lowest unemployment in decades, stemmed from lower taxes and less regulation.
Biden has promised to raise taxes by $4 trillion and to re-impose regulations removed by President Trump. Why does he think we should reverse course, especially as the country struggles to emerge from the COVID-enforced downturn?
The left-leaning Tax Policy Center estimates that Biden’s proposed tax hikes will mean a loss of income for all Americans, including those in the lowest-earning groups, since higher corporate taxes lead to lower wages. The TPC estimates that “For low- and middle-income households, the reduction in wages and investment income would, on average, more than offset the effects of Biden’s new tax credits.” Is that a desirable outcome?
How can Biden defend the status quo in public education when our inner city schools fail so many families of color?
Biden’s energy program calls to phase fossil fuels out of our power grid by 2035, notwithstanding that our emissions are declining thanks to an enormous supply of relatively clean natural gas. But electricity costs in the U.S. are about one-third of those in Germany, for instance, which are higher due to government climate policies similar to yours. How would the former V.P. justify significantly raising electricity costs for American families?
On race and violence in our cities:
In 2016, 89% of Black Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, continuing their historical attachment to the Democrat Party. And yet, Democrats appear to ignore Black voters’ preferences on several issues.
For instance, a recent poll showed that 68% of Black families are in favor of school choice. Campaigning in February, Biden claimed not to be a “fan” of charter schools. His unity task force platform reiterates Democrats’ opposition to “private school vouchers and other policies that divert taxpayer-funded resources away from the public school system.”
How can Biden defend the status quo in public education when our inner-city schools fail so many families of color? What would the candidate say to Black parents who want improved opportunities for their children?
Similarly, a recent Gallup poll shows 81 percent of Black Americans said they’d like police to spend either more or the same amount of time in their community, while only 19 percent of those surveyed said they wanted police to spend less time. And yet, many Democrats are calling for defunding the police.
Biden has said he would “absolutely” approve of diverting funds away from police budgets. Is that helpful to minority neighborhoods that have suffered the brunt of the rioting in recent months?
On the Supreme Court:
Democrats accuse Republicans of hypocrisy in moving forward to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but in 2016 Biden wrote in an op-ed that, ”I know there is an argument that no nominee should be voted on in the last year of a presidency. But there is nothing in the Constitution — or our history — to support this view.”
In a speech at Georgetown University, he said, “I would go forward with a confirmation process as chairman, even a few months before a presidential election if the nominee were chosen with the advice, and not merely the consent, of the Senate.”
But now Biden has said that Republicans confirming a Supreme Court nominee could provoke a “constitutional crisis.” Why is this time different?
Biden has said he could have managed the COVID-19 outbreak better than President Trump, and points to his involvement in managing the swine flu epidemic, which sickened 61 million Americans. But it appears the CDC was largely in charge of battling the epidemic. According to numerous White House press briefings on the subject, Vice President Biden was not mentioned. What exactly was Biden’s role in combating the disease?
Voters want to hear from Joe Biden; they are about to get their chance. It’s about time.