Webb’s Wrap: A substantive debate . . . The era of big government . . . Let’s wear masks!

Thursday’s presidential debate was a lot better than I expected. Plenty of heated exchanges occurred, but Trump managed to stay in control and avoid being boorish. That, alone, was a victory for him. 

If Trump acted that way all the time, he would not have alienated so many mainstream Republicans and moderates. He seemed to have actually listened to his advisors in his debate preparation. He was several notches cooler than usual.

Biden took several days off the campaign trail to prepare for the debate, and it paid off. He knew what he wanted to say on nearly every topic and he didn’t stumble much. He was energized and pretty sharp, unlike some of his appearances when he has seemed tired and old.

Trump pushed Biden hard on the emerging controversy over his son Hunter’s business dealings in foreign countries. Biden forthrightly stated he did not receive any money from those dealings, and then changed the subject. His campaign should say whether the emails and other documents and statements related to the matter are real or not.

I don’t think the debate changed many minds. I still think Biden is the favorite to win, but I wouldn’t bet against Trump.   

Good Read. NY Times columnist David Brooks argues that Democrats have won the argument over the role of government in our lives: “Over the last 100 years, Americans have engaged in a long debate about the role of markets and the welfare state. Republicans favored a limited government, fearing that a large nanny state would sap American dynamism and erode personal freedom. Democrats favored a larger state, arguing that giving people basic economic security would enable them to take more risks and lead dignified lives.

“That debate ebbed and flowed over the years, but 2020 has turned out to be a pivotal year in the struggle, and it looks now as if we can declare a winner. The Democrats won the big argument of the 20th century. It’s not that everybody has become a Democrat, but even many Republicans are now embracing basic Democratic assumptions. Americans across the board fear economic and physical insecurity more than an overweening state. The era of big government is here.” Read the full column HERE.

Parting Shot. Come on, folks, we can do better with mask-wearing and social distancing. The COVID-19 case numbers are way too high, and hospitals are on the verge of being overrun, even though our death rate is relatively low. Gov. Herbert has wisely not shut down businesses or the economy, but he and the health care experts are pleading with us to wear masks, keep gatherings small, and social distance. It’s not too much to ask. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your family, your friends and your neighbors. 

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].