Alarming On So Many Levels

Being President is not a debating contest any more than it's a golf game. But it's one thing to have a bad debate, and as a former debater I know how that feels, and another to reveal things that alarm folks.

Alarming On So Many Levels
OK, everyone. I'm turning in. Turn out the lights on the way out.

By now you have gone all glassy-eyed at the media-wide analysis of the duel of the titans on Thursday night. And by titans, I mean not titans. And, well, OK, I'll give you one as well.

Firstly, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, who "moderated" this tepid confrontation were totally cowed by the pre-debate complaints that they would be so CNN-ish that Calamity Mane wouldn't be able to get a fair shake. Fair shake? He frankly got a fair reach around. Granted, the lies and exaggerations were coming in like an Iranian missile attack, but some attempt to correct the most egregious might have added to the festivities.

Post birth abortion? Really? Greatest economy in history? More tariffs to help(?) the economy? A great golf game?

Jake Tapper, left, and Dana Bash looking at their notes at the moderators’ table during the CNN debate.

But they sat there like the Budweiser frogs and simply said, "thank you." When your performance is praised by a witless blockhead like Sean Hannity, then in NASA parlance, you screwed the pooch.

Now to Trump. As already mentioned, facts appear to be his kryptonite on this planet, and he basically gave the same litany of BS that so enthralls the chawbacons who are willing to risk heatstroke on a steaming airport tarmac to hear his grim fairy tales. We got the usual turgid gibberish about the greatest this or most incredible that in history. Conversely, what is a very good economy, is described as the antonym, worst, disaster, most corrupt, etc.

The only thing missing was someone coming up to him, usually with tears in their eyes, beginning their plea with "sir." By the way, that person lately is probably J.D. Vance or Tim Scott.

I understand that fact-checking this Niagara Falls of prevarication would be tough, and you might miss a dozen or so. But guys, if this is one of the events voters use to decide the biggest job on the planet, in the name of all that's holy, make the attempt.

Now to the President. Yes, President Gramps is 81 years old. So is this guy...

Mick Jagger is recovering from what has been reported as a heart-valve-replacement surgery performed Friday morning in New York.
OK, so maybe the drugs did help.

And this guy...

Harrison Ford
And unlike Trump, he hated Nazis.

And this guy...

If there were another Watergate, I'd still want him covering it.

And this guy...

Jerry Jones Profile Picture
OK, one example too far.

OK, I know, that last one doesn't really help Biden's case, does it? But by the same token, they don't act or sound like they are auditioning for a road company of "The Sunshine Boys."

Add to his basic age-related issues, he was obviously over-prepped. Look gang, we all knew what the basic issues were going to be; the economy, inflation, jobs, abortion, January 6th, Ukraine, Putin and foreign policy in general. The answers were only 2 minutes each, and you knew going in that Trump's comments were going to be at some 4th grade schoolyard level.

The man is 81, he's slower, the mental roledex doesn't turn as fast. They spent a solid week cramming for a final when it could have been kept relatively simple. What you ended up with is "...we beat Medicare." Trump gave him so many opportunities for a "You're no Jack Kennedy" moment and he couldn't come up with that zinger riposte to shut Saddam le Pompadour down.

Now, his defenders will charge that being President is not a debating contest any more than it's a golf game. Yeah, they wasted time with that, too. And, of course, they are right. But it's one thing to have a bad debate, and as a former debater I know how that feels, and another to reveal things that alarm folks.

Let me give you an example. This is the President when he was Vice-President, debating Paul Ryan...

And this past week...

Biden's shaky Trump debate alarms Democrats, raises questions for his  campaign | Reuters

Look, I am myself a man of a certain age, my extremely late 40's, but I once did talk radio for a living. That requires you to be quick on your feet, or butt actually, when the arguments come in thick and fast for 3 hours. And, modestly, I was good at it since, as the last living moderate on the radio in Texas, I had to be.

But now, frankly, it would be exhausting. I originally moved back into straight news because you just get tired of arguing every day. It sours your mood, to say the least and I didn't want to resort to kicking the dog every night. It's easier for Hannity or Glenn Beck, who makes the prophet Jeremiah seem like a cock-eyed optimist, because they are basking in the glow of constant affirmation. But now it would also be exhausting for a different reason. I'm older.

And that admission gives me the perspective to know what I don't want to do anymore because I wouldn't be as quick and brutal as I would like to be when some clodhopper calls in to rant about the "deep state" or any other idiocy du jour.

Gavin Newsom goes on the air against Ron DeSantis as political rivalry  grows amid 2024 chatter | CNN Politics
OK, he would have to wear the lifted cowboy boots again.

I wrote a few months ago about the election choice we should have between, as I saw it then, Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis. As I wrote, it would be a clear choice between two polar opposite views, to say the least, and heads of hair that didn't involve plugs or a comb-over visible from low earth orbit.

And we may get at least one of those, because the calls are coming thick and fast for Joe to step aside and open the convention. Lyndon did it in 1968, but he did it in March. Time is short and even die-hard supporters are pulling the emergency brake on the train.

Unless you are my friend, the former journalist I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, who is still posting misleading crapola on Facebook, you can admit Gramps has had a pretty good run here. Inflation is down, employment is up, GDP is kicking tailgate, we are facing up to Putin and not sending out indecipherable texts about covfefe at 2AM.

If I was Biden, I'd decide it's time to take the Win and hand off the baton.

Yes, Dan, pre-anointing.

Otherwise, he will be like a 74-year-old talk show host trying to survive in Dan Patrick's Texas.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.