Against our expectations, Donald Trump actually showed up for the second and final debate with Joe Biden last night, after having refused to participate in what should have been the second debate because it was going to be held virtually. Unlike in the first debate, Trump didn't go completely batshit screamy-faced for the first 40 or so minutes, managing instead to deliver his baldfaced lies in what counts, for Trump, as a more serious tone, before becoming more agitated and interrupty later. It would be the vilest speculation to suggest the drugs wore off after a while, so we certainly will not say that.

CNN's Chris Cillizza, who can be relied upon for the worst takes in mainstream punditry, proclaimed Trump's performance "significantly better" and claimed that for the first hour, Trump "displayed a level of message discipline that he has rarely been able to stick to during his presidency," which might be semi-accurate if you don't mind that whatever focus Trump maintained was devoted to lying. But even Cillizza noted that President Stepford's brief imitation of calm wasn't enough to overcome how far behind Trump is, particularly since it evaporated in the final third of the debate, and that Trump constantly lied — a detail Cillizza relegated to a separate bullet point.

Let's run down a few takeaways from this, which we might dare to hope is the final national debate in which Trump will appear.


Nobody Cares About Hunter Biden, Not Even Donald Trump

Trump tried to hammer Joe Biden on the supposedly scandalous "Hunter Biden's laptop" bullshit, but the whole made-up "scandal" is so convoluted that you have to be a dedicated consumer of rightwing media to even know what Trump was talking about. Trump just kept accusing Biden of getting rich off foreign countries, but he couldn't make any of the claims stick, because they're garbage, and incoherent garbage at that. After the debate, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, and Nicolle Wallace had a good laugh together about the fact that they could barely make heads or tails of it, "And we're cable news anchors!" Factcheck: true.

Moderator Kristen Welker Brooked No Bullshit

She enforced time limits, wouldn't let Trump talk over her, and when it was time to move on to another topic, moved on, without any of Chris Wallace's weird "now here's a question you'll probably like, Mr. President." To be sure, it helped her that Trump seemed less hopped up on goofballs this time, but could we please have Kristen Welker run training workshops for moderators at future presidential debates?

Trump Is Just A Donald Trump Cover Band Now

Donald Trump has never had anything more than a superficial — and wildly distorted — understanding of anything, ever, so it shouldn't be much surprise that on virtually every topic, Trump just spouted lies from his campaign rallies. Coronavirus? It's going away, and everything's fine. Trump dismissed the rapidly growing infection rates across the country as a "flare up" that will soon go away, and lied that a vaccine will be instantly available in just a few weeks. Obamacare was a disaster and Trump will replace it real soon. Stopping climate change is somehow the same as "clean air." Donald Trump is the least racist person anywhere, because after all, he's done more for African-Americans than any president since Lincoln.

Trump is so married to his set material that he was genuinely thrown off when Biden sarcastically said, "Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history." Trump could only sputter, "He made a reference to Abraham Lincoln, where did that come in?" Then he carefully fact-checked Biden's sarcasm, pointing out that he actually said he's the best since Lincoln, so Biden lied, he LIED! Guess Trump automatically wins, then. (This is sarcasm. Shame on us.)

Donald Trump Remains a Racist Monster

Welker asked what Trump would do about the 545 kids whose parents can't be found, years after they were separated at the border in a pilot program for the infamous "zero tolerance" program. The "president" clearly had no idea what she was talking about, and fell back to his cherished lies: Traffickers! Rapists! Catch-and-Release! Obama built the cages! Biden, who actually knew what Welker meant, called Malarkey:

Coyotes didn't bring them over. Their parents were with them [...] They got separated from their parents. And it makes us a laughingstock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.

Trump could only talk about cages, because immigrants aren't people, they're an applause line at rallies. Besides, he insisted, the children were very well cared for (factcheck bullshit) in very clean facilities (again, bullshit, and even clean baby jails don't negate lasting trauma). Then, to top things off, Trump lied again and claimed sure, whatever those kids might be, if they're people at all, the government is working hard to reunite them with their parents. Except for how the administration completely washed its hands of any responsibility for reunifying families.

Oh, yes, and before we go, just a reminder that Trump lied all the way through, 220,000 Americans have died because Donald Trump has done nothing, and anyone who talks about his improved tone needs to step on a Lego. One of those little one-stud fuckers. Barefoot. On a hardwood floor, in the dark. Then they should bang their shin, hard, on the coffee table.

The end.

[CNN / WaPo / FactCheck.org]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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