Tags: Donald Trump | Joe Biden | Law Enforcement | Media Bias | Middle East | blacks | welker

Sadly, the Non-Substantive Debate We Saw a New Normal

final debate between us president donald trump and former vice president joe biden

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Oct. 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the last debate between the two candidates before the election on Nov. 3. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Friday, 23 October 2020 03:18 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Nearly all the media critics have given high praise to the moderator of the final presidential debate, Kristen Welker of NBC News.

Going back to the old report cards of my elementary school youth, I give her an A-plus for decorum: she, helped by the mute button, kept the debaters civil and kept them from talking over each other.

Ms. Welker also gets an E for effort.

But — unfortunately — she gets a D-minus (with grade inflation) for content.

Her questions were softballs, and she had no follow-ups.

She avoided asking hard questions.

Both participants liked her. This is a sure sign that she did not do a good job.

Once again, the losers were the American voters who not only didn’t hear answers to hard questions, but didn’t even hear hard questions or follow ups.

Consider a few areas that were not covered.

Although Joe Biden said he would tell the American public his position on court packing, he was not asked about that. Nor was he asked a direct question as to whether the laptop from the repair shop belonged to Hunter Biden or whether the emails contained therein were actually from him.

Biden denied that he actually recieved any money from foreign sources, but he wasn’t asked whether he is the "big man" who was offered money through his son.

Perhaps the most glaring omission was when Joe Biden attacked President Trump for abandoning America’s allies and helping American enemies.

The obvious follow up question for Biden should have been, "What about the Mideast?"

The former vice president would have been forced to Biden would have been forced to acknowledge that it was he and President Obama who abandoned America’s friends in the Mideast by giving billions of dollars to Iran.

Money that country used to promote terrorism against America’s allies.

But, no, there was no follow up to Biden’s broad over-generalization.

No reference to to Israel, one of America’s main allies, which benefited from the U.S. Embassy being moved to Jerusalem and it’s sovereignty over the Golan heights recognized.

When it came to President Trump, the obvious question was, "Will you now assure the American public that if you lose the election, and if the courts rule against you, you will transfer power peacefully and not encourage demonstrations?"

When he was asked what he would say to the parents of Black children about "The Talk" regarding being arrested, Trump did not answer but instead went into a description of all the good he had done for Black Americans.

The moderator should have followed up by demanding that he answer the specific question about "The Talk."

She did not.

Nor did she press him on what he meant when he asked the Proud Boys to "stand by."

There were many other areas that should have been, but were not covered and many other questions and follow-ups that should have been, but were not, pursued.

Welker reminded me of the school marm who comes home from a day of teaching and declares, "I had a good day today. There were no fights. No one threw spit balls. And no one screamed. But I didn’t teach them anything, ask them to think, or pose any difficult questions."

That's not the type of school teacher anyone wants and that certainly is not the kind of moderator American voters should expect.

Our expectations were set so low by previous debates that media pundits came away praising mediocrity, cordiality — and the mute button.

I, for one, learned nothing from the debate. I also find it hard to believe that many voters will change their votes based what the candidates said.

Thus, my expectations were very low; this debate did not even meet those low expectations.

Perhaps it's a sign of the times that a moderator is regarded as successful based not on the content but on the decorum of the debate.

We live in an age with little decorum, little respect for opposing views, and little ability to get at hard truths.

So perhaps we should be satisfied with small victories, such as the peaceful, boring and non-substantive debate we witnessed.

Follow Alan Dershowitz on Twitter: @AlanDersh

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Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of "Guilt by Accusation" and "The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump." Read Alan Dershowtiz's Reports More Here.

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Perhaps we should be satisfied with small victories, such as the peaceful, boring and non-substantive debate we witnessed.
blacks, welker, nbc, packing
Friday, 23 October 2020 03:18 PM
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