If you tortured yourself by watching Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in action Sunday night, you saw two septuagenarians pandering shamelessly to the Democrat base. It was a freebie-fest without regard to costs or consequences. They also played identity group politics while stroking women, minorities, and other favored Democrat constituencies whenever possible.

The moderators seemed to favor Biden, and I would swear that he had the questions in advance, as his answers were far too quick and smooth for a guy who has been stumbling bigly during public appearances over the last few months of his campaign. He frequently looked down at what seemed like prepared notes, too. While his seemingly cogent answers and calm demeanor may have fooled the likes of the CNN sycophants who critiqued the debate afterward, Biden committed enough gaffes and outright lies to make a normal American watching the show blush. And that’s all it really was – a show for those few people who watched.

As for Bernie, he came across as a disheveled, strident, leftwing college professor, lecturing the viewing audience on the marvels of government-run this and government-run that while promising the moon and even getting in a plug or two for the ChiComs along the way after being challenged by Biden about his past support for authoritarian regimes like Cuba. He simply missed out on his opportunity to take it to Biden, and as a result, did himself no favors and Biden no damage throughout the debate. This event was the anticlimax of Bernie’s campaign.

I couldn’t bring myself to watch the entire debate, as their responses to the softball questions posed by the three moderators frequently made me furious enough to shout at the TV. The parts that I did watch are sliced and diced, as follows, because someone needs to take it to both of them.

Bernie attacked President Trump right off the bat: Well, first thing we have got to do, whether or not I’m president, is to shut this president up right now, because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people. It is unacceptable for him to be blabbering with unfactual information which is confusing the general public.

Me: Bernie maintains a visceral hatred for the President just also almost all of the left-Democrats do. I am infuriated by Bernie’s continuing insults. The notion that the President is undermining doctors and scientists is complete rubbish. Bernie likes to make these sweeping statements without any evidence.

Jake Tapper (CNN) asked Joe Biden this question: President Trump says he does not take any responsibility for the problems with coronavirus testing, in part because he says he inherited so many rules, regulations, and red tape. Did bureaucratic red tape hamper this response in any way?

To which Biden responded: No. Look, the World Health Organization offered, offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own.

Me: This is one of Biden’s first big lies during the debate. The President was exactly right once again about inheriting rules and regulations that precluded more rapid testing, as noted in this NY Post article from 7 March:

Overregulation of diagnostic testing has played a major role in this delay. For weeks, the CDC operated the nation’s sole diagnostic laboratory for coronavirus, while testing in the rest of the world proceeded apace.

[T]he United States had performed a paltry 472 tests by March 2. Further, CDC testing criteria have precluded recognizing community spread because of requirements stipulating recent travel to China or exposure to an infected person. Adherence to these guidelines delayed testing in the first probable case of community transmission, in Northern California, by four days.

The debate continued.

Biden commented on dealing with the coronavirus: … We’ve been through this before with the coronavirus. We’ve been through this … I mean, excuse me, we’ve been through this before with dealing with the viruses that the N1H1 as well as what happened in Africa.

Me: That comparison makes me furious, as he’s claiming he knows what to do since he and Obama “dealt with” the “N1H1” crisis in 2009-10. Besides being yet another gaffe (it’s “H1N1” not “N1H1”), the 2009 swine flu infected 60,000,000 Americans, resulting in 300,000 hospitalizations and over 12,000 deaths, which statistics so far dwarf those for the Wuhan virus.

Bernie launched into a tirade about the US healthcare system: [L]et’s be honest and understand that this coronavirus pandemic exposes the incredible weakness and dysfunctionality of our current healthcare system. Now, we’re spending twice as much per person on healthcare as the people of any other country. How in God’s name does it happen that we end up with 87 million people who are uninsured or underinsured …?

Me: I’ve listened to Bernie pushing Medicare-for-All (and nationalized medicine) for years. That guy knows NOTHING about healthcare; he’s a lifelong politician who repeats fake numbers and makes extreme claims in order to incite fear which he then assuages by promising a government-run program. Nevermind the cost. Nevermind that government-run healthcare would destroy the greatest healthcare system in the world. I would have loved to ask him this question and watch him prevaricate: “Since you disparage the US healthcare system at every opportunity, tell the American people which healthcare system in which country would you prefer to have major surgery or treatment for a life-threatening ailment?”

Bernie continued his diatribe against the US healthcare system: We’re spending so much money, and yet we are not even prepared for this pandemic. How come we don’t have enough doctors? How come hospitals in rural areas are shutting down? How come people can’t afford to get the prescription drugs they need, because we have a bunch of crooks who are running the pharmaceutical industry, ripping us off every single day …

Me: We are better prepared for this pandemic than all of the other countries in the world. It will be the US pharmaceutical industry that will almost certainly develop the vaccines and drugs to treat the virus, not some country with a socialized healthcare system. And the fool doesn’t realize that it was Obamacare that led directly to the decline in doctors and regional hospitals in the US. Rationed healthcare and fewer doctors and hospitals are the future under socialized medicine!

Joe Biden’s solution to the Wuhan virus crisis is to “call a meeting”: What I would do is what we did in our administration. I would call a meeting in The Situation Room of all the experts in America dealing with this crisis. I would sit them down, and I would do exactly what we did then.

Me: Yeah, right, Joe; call a meeting in the White House. President Trump is way past that, and his Coronavirus Task Force filled with experts has been up and running since January. And we’ve already established that the Obama-Biden response to the H1N1 swine flu was a day late and a dollar short.

Bernie railed about the US healthcare system some more: Last year at least 30,000 people died in America because they didn’t get healthcare when they should, because we don’t have universal coverage. I think that’s a crisis. One out of five people in America cannot afford the prescription drugs they need. They suffer. Some die. I consider that a crisis. Bottom line is we need a simple system, which exists in Canada, exists in countries all over the world, and that is if you are an American, you get the healthcare you need, end of discussion.

Me: What a blithering idiot! He has no clue about the waiting lists in Canada and other countries that have a nationalized healthcare system. Does he have any idea about the number of Canadians seeking treatment in the US because they can’t get treatment in Canada? This guy is fear-mongering again and has been doing it for decades.

Bernie rabble-roused some more on the crisis: I think what bottom line here is that in this crisis, we have got to start paying attention to the most vulnerable, that includes people who are in prison right now, people who are in homeless shelters right now. What about the half a million people who are homeless tonight? Who’s going to respond to them?

Me: Bernie continually advocates for a federal solution to everything. That’s just crazy. We live in a constitutional republic with 50 separate states, all of whom have public health and welfare organizations tailored for their own populations. And the state governors are in fact responding to the needs of their constituents despite Bernie’s fear-mongering. By the way, most of those homeless people about whom he is speaking are in blue states, especially California, and they’ve been on those streets and in those tent cities for months and in many cases years. Where has all the Democrat compassion been for those people, Bernie? They are just convenient political pawns in this crisis.

Biden proposed simply throwing federal money at the problem: I propose that all of that [aid to individuals and businesses] be covered, and it’s going to take a multi-multi-billion-dollar program to do that. But first things first, the first thing is take care of the immediate needs we have now relating to surging the kind of capability we have to prevent this great bump in terms of how it’s going to cause such pain, as well as moving in the direction of making sure we have a long-term plan to make sure it’s taken care of.

Me: Babbling nonsense and generalities. The Fed has already dropped interest rates to zero to help keep the economy moving. The President is pushing for a payroll tax holiday that will help low-wage earners in particular. Other specific measures are also being implemented and discussed, including by the various states.

Dana Bash asked this question: What consequences should China face for its role in this global crisis?

Bernie responded with this nonsense: Well, one of the consequences is we have got to learn that you cannot lie to the American people. You cannot be less than frank about the nature of the crisis. And what bothers me very much is you have a president of the United States today, Mr. Trump, who was praising China, for the good work that they are doing, when in fact, as you indicated, they were lying to their own people and allowing that to be the case. Look, I don’t think this is the time for recrimination, to be punishing people. Now is the time, by the way, to be working with China. They are learning a lot about this crisis, and in fact, we have got to work with them. We’ve got to work with the World Health Organization. We’ve got to work with Italy. We’ve got to work with countries around the world. If there was ever a moment when the entire world is in this together, got to support each other, this is that moment.

Me: What a crock! As National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has publicly stated, the Chinese covered up the crisis for two months and are still withholding important information about the virus from the world community. Bernie apparently knows nothing about Chinese culture; direct confrontation and embarrassment are not the way to effect cooperation and information-sharing with the Chinese. President Trump knows this; Bernie doesn’t. And the WHO? They’re willingly propagandizing for the Chinese by trying to shift the blame for the origin of the virus to other countries besides China! Bernie chastised the President for “praising China” on the one hand, yet with the next breath, stated that this was no time for recriminations and “punishing people.” In short, he doesn’t think the Chinese should be held accountable for the pandemic and their unwillingness to come clean on what they know about it. And this guy wants to be president?

Biden’s answer to Bash’s question was equally obtuse: [W]e should insist on having our experts in China, in China to see what was happening, and make it clear to China there’d be consequences if we did not have that access. We have to lead the world. We should be the ones doing what we did during the Ebola crisis, bringing the whole world together and saying, “This is what we must do.” We have to have a common plan. All nations are affected the same way by this virus depending on exposure. And so this is, we need world leadership. We need international leadership. We need someone who knows how to bring the world together and insist on fundamental change in the way in which we’re approaching this.

Me: The Trump Administration offered help to China immediately upon learning about the virus. The Chinese refused. The Trump administration has been pressing China to allow Western experts into China to study the virus, examine what the Chinese virologists have done to abate the disease, and share information on the viability of drug treatments and vaccines. A “world approach” and “world leadership” are not the answer with the Wuhan virus, as it is in over 162 countries now, whereas Ebola was limited to primarily three West African countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and a concentrated international effort could be coordinated. And the first obligation in a pandemic like this is to protect Americans first – just as the President and his team have been doing, including early travel restrictions on the Chinese and now all of Europe.

Bernie piled on some more in his rage at President Trump and “big business” – one of his standard targets: It also means that we tell the pharmaceutical industry, we tell the big money interests, that this is not a time for profiteering. This is a time for all of us working together. The World Health Organization is a very, very strong organization. It is sad that we have a President that has ignored the international community in so many ways, including in terms of international health crisis.

Me: Bernie hasn’t a clue about how free enterprise works, nor that vast resources are required to develop and complete FDA testing of new drugs and vaccines. “Profiteering” is a favorite Marxist phrase, but Bernie has never run a private sector business and has no clue about basic economics. Bernie likes to praise super-governmental organizations like the WHO despite their kowtowing to the Communist Chinese in this crisis. No thanks; I’ll go with the CDC and NIH.

The debate Q&A then shifted to the economy, fiscal stimuli, tax policy, etc. This is a good place to end this part of my comments. I will dissect some of their baloney on those subjects in my next article. Neither of these guys should be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office except on a guided tour.

The end.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy where he received a classical liberal education which serves as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political, military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs topics.
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