Donald Trump, Chase the Vote
Former President Donald Trump speaking at a "Chase the Vote" rally at Dream City Church in Phoenix, AZ, June 6, 2024. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

How do you spell debacle?

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Trudge, trudge, trudge… That’s the sound of me walking from the couch across the room to my study. 

Plop. That’s the sound of me sitting down in front of my keyboard and computer screen. 

Whuuuf. That’s the sound of me exhaling after watching an unmitigated disaster unfold for 90 minutes on my television.

Let’s begin with who should be fired:

  1. Joe Biden’s campaign manager, the deputy campaign manager, and the assistants to their assistants.
  2. Whoever was present at Camp David for the so-called debate preparation. All of them.
  3. The Biden campaign communications director.
  4. The Biden campaign “messaging” operation.
  5. Whoever is in charge of Biden’s physical health, because there are things that can be done to your vocal chords when you have a cold and are hoarse.
  6. Whoever was in charge of the post-coin flip decisions about the debate and picked the right side of the stage, which made Biden constantly appear on the screen as if he was looking somewhere off-set, when he was actually looking at the moderators.
  7. Whoever on the Biden campaign did not prepare him to use the words “lie” and “liar” about 50 times, instead of calling Trump’s lies “foolishness” and “malarky” and whatever other lame descriptors Biden used.

Look, we’re Democrats (if not, just pretend). We all know that Democrats are earnest and dedicated to helping others and eager to make the best policies to help the most people. 

But you don’t have to be earnest and dedicated and eager to help others in a debate.

Hell, Biden began his two-minute summation talking about policy victories during his administration and changes he made to child care, when he had a man standing across from him who had just spent the last 86 minutes telling one outrageous lie after another about him and then repeating them over and over

Every single thing Donald Trump said about Biden and his administration was a lie. What the hell was the stuff he repeated about three times that Biden is putting immigrants on Social Security and Medicare and taking health care away from veterans? 

Why the hell didn’t Biden look at him and say “That’s a lie, and so is every other thing you’ve ever said about immigration and the border.”

Everyone on MSNBC is talking right now about Biden’s record as president and how wonderful it is. But that is not what the debate was about. The debate was about the tsunami of lies that came out of Trump’s mouth, each and every one of which was not even remotely responsive to the questions he was asked.

The second time Trump refused to answer a question and just started lying, Biden should have taken up the challenge of calling out his lies and never stopped. 

Jake Tapper and Dana Bash clearly were not there to fact-check Trump. And Biden shouldn’t have “fact-checked” him either. He should have just called him a liar every time he told a lie and then looked at the camera and asked viewers, “Do you want to elect this lying son of a bitch to the presidency? Vote for me. I’ll tell you the truth even if it hurts.”

I’ve got a notebook full of notes sitting next to me, but it’s not worth going through them and pointing out missed opportunities and Biden’s weak voice and slumped appearance behind the lectern. It was all there for everyone to see, unfortunately.

Look, we’ve had candidates have a bad debate night before. Barack Obama’s first debate with a patsy like Mitt Romney was a disaster, a missed opportunity, a shot to the gut of his campaign and the confidence and enthusiasm of Democrats everywhere. Obama bounced back and so can Joe Biden. 

He can start with drilling down on the strongest part of the night for him, when he talked with great vigor and pride about what a great country we have. Let Trump tell his doom and gloom lies. Joe Biden loves America and is proud to be an American, and he should contrast himself with Trump by saying so every day.

Biden was standing next to a clown target on a carnival midway tonight. Not only did Biden not hit him, he barely threw a beanbag at him. 

This has to stop. Biden should go on the attack and not let up for the next four months.

First, Biden needs to clean house. Now. Not tomorrow. Tonight. 

Get rid of the earnest Democratic campaign pros and hire some brawlers who can go to work for him attacking Donald Trump from morning to night every single day between now and November 5. 

If they don’t start hitting Trump hard as a criminal and a lunatic and a liar, we’re going to lose.

Reprinted, with permission, from the Lucian Truscott Newsletter. Lucian K. Truscott IV has had a career spanning five decades as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter.


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