The only thing surprising about the Presidential Debate Commission flapdoodle this year is that so many conservative talking heads are surprised by the Commission’s antics. You guys didn’t notice this 20 years ago? The debate commission is part of the institutional swamp in DC. President Trump’s unwillingness to play along with the swamp’s rules could turn out to be a tremendous gift to the American people.
Steve Scully, the former Joe Biden intern who was supposed to moderate the second debate, got caught red-handed last week. Trump called out Scully for his bias last week and Scully made a huge blunder. He sent a message to a vitriolic, bitter, Trump-hating former White House staffer named Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci for advice: “Should I respond to Trump?”
Scully intended to send the message to Scaramucci as a private Direct Message in Twitter – but instead tweeted it for the whole world to see. Oops. And then Scully pulled the Joy Reid defense, claiming that his Twitter account had been “hacked.”
Sure it was, former Joe Biden intern. Sure it was.
By Saturday, Scully had deactivated his entire Twitter account to hide his history of partisan, anti-Trump bias from the world.
Not to worry, though, because the Presidential Debate Commission came to Scully’s rescue anyway. They canceled the second debate, claiming that it’s for safety reasons because Donald Trump had the Chinese coronavirus a few days ago.
Kristen Welker of NBC News, who was picked by the Debate Commission to host the third scheduled debate, suddenly deactivated her Twitter account at the same that the Scully incident was taking place. Surely just a coincidence, right?
Meanwhile, something truly remarkable happened on Friday night which hasn’t got as much attention. Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole sent this message out on Twitter:
“The Commission on Presidential Debates is supposedly bipartisan w/ an equal number of Rs and Ds. I know all of the Republicans and most are friends of mine. I am concerned that none of them support Donald Trump. A biased debate commission is unfair.”
That’s remarkable. The institutional unfairness of the system in the swamp is infuriating to most Americans. No one would be opposed to Joe Biden or Kamala Harris being treated fairly in the debates. But no similar olive branch can be extended to Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
Bob Dole’s remark also made me pause for a moment. I never liked Dole’s politics for the most part, but he has shown a remarkable amount of restraint and class for a former politician. He’s mostly dropped out of the public limelight since he lost to Bill Clinton in 1996. He’s kept his mouth shut and allowed the country to move along without his input, for the most part. That’s actually really classy.
Dole also resigned from his US Senate seat to run for president in June of 1996, after he had secured the nomination. It was a sign to the voters that he really meant it. He was all-in. If he lost the race for the presidency, then his political career was over. You never see politicians taking risks like that these days.
That’s something to keep in mind this week, as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is savaging Amy Coney Barrett in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. As a genuine, certified swamp creature, Harris didn’t give up her Senate seat when Joe Biden asked her to be his running mate. That seat is her insurance policy in case she and Biden lose.
What should Trump do in light of the institutional corruption that has now been exposed at the Debate Commission?
The same thing he always does: Give them the finger and hold his own events. Use the time to hold giant campaign rallies in swing states to keep the voters pumped for his reelection.
Or, better yet, throw down the gauntlet. Challenge Joe Biden to a debate on Joe Rogan’s podcast, which Rogan has already volunteered to moderate. Rogan is a Bernie-supporting socialist pothead; he doesn’t really support either of the candidates. But at least he’s interesting to listen to, intellectually honest and genuinely seems curious about the world we live in (unlike the mainstream media hosts picked by the corrupt Debate Commission).
Rogan’s podcast is currently being downloaded by 190 million listeners per month. By way of comparison, that’s 188 million more than the highest-rated program on CNN gets in one month. It would be massive exposure for both campaigns to do the Rogan debate, and the host would be fair to both of them.
Then again, a fair fight and massive exposure are two things the Biden campaign can’t afford in 2020.