Webb’s Wrap: Trump and Biden grapple in the gutter

Well, someone tried to hold a debate last night and a mud wrestling match broke out. I felt like I needed to take a shower after watching Trump and Biden grapple in the gutter.

The Utah gubernatorial debate earlier in the evening was much nicer. Both Republican Spencer Cox and Democrat Chris Peterson were moderate with common-sense positions. There was very little ideological or partisan sparring.

My guess is Cox is a little more conservative than he seemed to be Tuesday night. And Peterson is more liberal than he let on. They each could have drawn sharper contrasts on issues that divide Republicans and Democrats. Peterson could have been pressed on how high he wants to raise taxes to significantly boost per-pupil spending. Cox could have been pressed more on the state’s COVID-19 response.

Peterson was actually stronger than Cox in supporting law enforcement and police agencies. Peterson ran as much against the Legislature as he did against Cox. Peterson is smart, articulate, and knowledgeable about the issues. But Cox is far ahead in voter support, and a debate draw doesn’t move Peterson any closer to victory.

Meanwhile, the presidential debate was as ugly as expected. It was not very enlightening and likely didn’t change many minds. Biden didn’t fall asleep and his mental acuity held up.  Trump tried to steamroll and completely dominate Biden to get him flustered and confused.

But Trump’s aggression sometimes went too far and he came across as a bit of a bully. But Biden also got into the gutter, telling Trump to shut up, and calling him a liar, a racist and a clown. Both candidates routinely interrupted each other, but Trump was more obnoxious. Biden responded in kind, but wasn’t as comfortable engaging in a bare-fisted brawl.

Biden’s worst moment was refusing to answer questions on ending the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court. Trump went too far in attacking Biden’s son who made a lot of money in foreign countries where his father oversaw relationships as vice president.

Most news media outlets will declare Biden the winner, but that’s expected given their outright hatred of Trump.

I don’t think either debate Tuesday evening marked a turning point in either the presidential race or gubernatorial contest.

Washington watch. Rep. Chris Stewart and fellow China Task Force members will unveil the final China Task Force report today.

A press release says: “The China Task Force has regularly received briefings from policy experts and administration officials on strategies to combat the growing threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The final report is a culmination of this months-long effort and will serve as a policy blueprint to address the Chinese Communist Party’s malign behavior on the world stage.” Rep. John Curtis also serves on the task force.

Parting shot. Are you looking forward to another month of non-stop ads about Burgess Owens’ bankruptcies? The Ben McAdams-supporting outside groups need to come up with another line of attack. If they continue to carpet-bomb TV viewers with the same ads day after day, week after week, it’s likely to generate a backlash, a sympathy vote for Burgess. Criticizing one’s opponent is OK. But there is such a thing as overkill.

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].