Letters: Two Flawed Candidates At Thursday’s Debate and A Squandered Opportunity

Bucks County Beacon readers sound off.

Two Flawed Candidates: Who Tells The Truth?

The media reports on the Presidential Debate are overwhelmingly concerned with Biden’s “performance” and missed opportunities, and only marginally deal with the unchecked torrent of Trump’s lies, which erupted, predictably, like Old Faithful, spewing hot and smelly from the mouth of a man who can only be trusted to tear down the foundations of our Democracy if given the chance.

That the two candidates are flawed is beyond question, but which flaws actually matter when it comes to governing? Will Trump’s constant lies, exaggerations, taunts, and personal insults help the country? Or will Biden’s love of his country and deeply embedded reverence for the Truth be the necessary glue that holds the Country together? So the decision that We The People must make is to either put our faith in the man who will lie and tell us what we want to hear, or trust the man who will tell us the truth, even when it may rub us the wrong way.

Not all flaws are equal. Some have real consequences. Trump’s flaws send our precious Nation down a slippery slope to oblivion. Biden’s flaws are ones of stage presence, and his astonished reaction to an unfiltered stream of preposterous lies. But when it comes down to doing the job of President, or any other elective office for that matter, the Truth and the heart and soul of our leaders matter.  Trump and the MAGA GOP are fatally flawed, and we embrace them at our peril.

Joe Sundeen, Yardley

A Squandered Opportunity

“I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your President,” Lyndon B. Johnson (March 1968)

Watching Thursday evening’s presidential debate was like viewing a train wreck in slow motion. As speculated in “For Biden – It’s Show Time”, it was essential the president demonstrate his age was not an issue, he could clearly articulate his Administration accomplishments, provide a vision for a second term, and appear more robust and presidential than Donald Trump.  Unfortunately for Biden and Democrats, he failed on all counts.

Joe Biden looked and often sounded like an old man who was having difficulty focusing and pulling his thoughts together.  When he did perk up and challenge Trump’s blatantly incorrect statements, his voice was weak, and his body language unconvincing.  It was a politically fatal performance!

Donald Trump’s usual loud, animated and self-promoting performance was only marginally better.  He constantly ignored or failed to answer specific questions from the moderators while many of his remarks were full of misstatements and outright lies. His rewriting the history of his initial downplaying the danger posed by COVID, Charlottesville, the January 6th attack on the Capitol, willingness to prosecute his political enemies and constant campaign talking points about Biden being the worst president in the nation’s history, no other nations either respect or fear the United States, and description of most immigrants as coming from prisons and mental institutions were rarely challenged by either Biden or the moderators. 

Predictably, he never provided any positive vision or specifics about his plans for improving the economy, education, healthcare, protecting civil liberties for all Americans, immigration, NATO, or dealing with America’s enemies, if given a second term. 

For Democrats, the soul-searching is already underway. While some made politically necessary statements about Biden’s ability to recover from last night’s debacle, they must be concerned about not only losing the White House but also scores of other down-ballot congressional, state and local races across the country.

They have very little time, as it is only eight weeks until their nominating convention, to determine whether Joe Biden a realistic and increasingly questionable chance to win in November and, if not, what are their options … Booker, Harris, Klobuchar, Manchin, Newsom, Shapiro, Whitmer, or someone else.

The question for President Biden is what is more important: His ego or often stated concern for the country and our democracy if Trump was to be reelected? If the latter, he must seriously and soon consider following in the example of another unpopular president, Lyndon Johnson, who, in concluding a nationally-televised speech, announced he would not run for reelection. 

Dick Newbert, Langhorne

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