Biden: “The Guy Who Will End The Nightmare”

In the interests of full disclosure, I did not watch Tuesday’s debate between Biden and Trump–a decision grounded in my effort to protect what remains of my mental health. I simply cannot bear the sound of Trump’s voice.

I did, of course, read the reviews and descriptions of what sounded more like a food fight than anything else. If there was unanimity on anything, it was that the event was embarrassing and unedifying–at best–and a shit-show at worst.

Among the most thoughtful coverage I read was a “morning after” rumination by Josh Marshall, editor of Talking Points Memo. Marshall had previously described Biden’s campaign “theme” as one of relief and reassurance–he dubbed Biden “The guy who will end the nightmare,” and for those of us who have definitely experienced this presidency as a nightmare, and worried that we might not wake up, that’s a winner. But it was an observation–a comparison, really– in his “morning after” column that really resonated with me.

Beyond all the individual offenses, one of the underrated sub-themes of anti-Trumpism is exhaustion. One of the deepest traumas of living in the home of an abuser stems not from the outbursts of physical violence, verbal abuse or manipulation but the accumulated stress of ambient tension, uncertainty, the reflexive, unshakeable hyper-vigilance. It is exhausting in a profound way. Trump is exhausting – I suspect even for some who share his dark values. This was 90 minutes jam-packed with everything that makes Trump exhausting. Living with an abuser means being trapped in close quarters with the abuse, being unable to run. In a month voters get the chance to walk away.

This analogy hits home, because it is so perceptive, so “on the mark.”

Americans who follow government and politics have been exhausted by the daily offenses, the violence routinely being done to the Constitution, the rule of law, rational policymaking and elementary decency. We have lived with anxiety, fear and mounting anger for four long years. The assaults have been unremitting, and yes, we are tired. Spent. Exhausted. 

But we aren’t too exhausted to vote, and that’s why I’m cautiously optimistic that we are nearing the end of the nightmare.

Election Day may be messy, or in the best case scenario, repudiation of our abuser may be sufficiently overwhelming to nullify his efforts to disqualify the will of the voters. I can’t believe there are enough racists and know-nothings in America to keep him and his GOP enablers in office.

As Marshall noted about Trump’s display of ignorance and vitriol at the debate,

This is who Trump is. It is especially who he is under threat. His campaign is about nudging undecided voters into fears about general social disorder and frighteningly assertive black and brown people. He ended up embracing white nationalist militias and saying they were necessary to crush the left in the streets. He yelled what is supposed to be implicit.

The most important thing remains that Trump had to shift things in his favor and he failed. Since he’s already losing that’s a big loss. I suspect it was even worse for him. Maybe a turning point.

Joe Biden doesn’t excite voters the way Barack Obama did. He’s no orator, and he doesn’t pander to a rabid base, a la Trump. He is–as the leftist purists sneer–an old white guy. Part of “the system.”

He is also a thoroughly decent, competent and honorable public servant. He won’t abuse the office and he won’t abuse us.

He is a sane adult. That alone makes him immensely superior to Trump.

Once we’ve rested, once the nightmare is over, we can start the process of repairing the systems that enabled– facilitated !– the election of the most unfit person ever to hold the office. More on those systems and what it will take to fix them in coming days….

42 thoughts on “Biden: “The Guy Who Will End The Nightmare”

  1. Please stand by!

    Donald Trump infected by covid-19,
    Trump’s wife Melania and his assistant Hope Hicks also tested positive, hope Hicks is definitely symptomatic!

    So, he must have been sick during the debate, and with all that gas baggage spitting and slathering, and Joe Biden not having a mask on most of the time, who knows what’s going to happen? Joe Biden’s wife seemed the only one to have a mask on.

    When you thought things couldn’t get any more insane?!?! We have the liar an chief coming down with something that was supposed to magically disappear in the spring . I guess all that hydroxychloroquine he was supposed to be taking hasn’t worked too well!

    I wonder what his Peeps are going to think about that?

    I don’t care how hard you try, there was no possible way anyone could ever have made this stuff up.

    Didn’t the CDC just put out a memo claiming that covid-19 is not airborne? Well now, this whole Trump thing has just been proved insane by a virus! But, I don’t know if that even would make much of a difference to the willfully deluded sheeple that follow Trump. I imagine Chris Christie also is going to get tested again along with all of those in the Trump debate prep room that was packed like a can of maskless sardines in which Hope Hicks was one!

    Hopefully JB was far enough away to not get infected by the snake oil salesmans snake oil.

    Or, this is all some elaborate shenanigan by Trump to change the subject/narrative once again, when you have an organization that can’t form their mouth around the truth, anything is possible!

    but if he is infected, he just broke the New Jersey law concerning quarantine and everything else, Trump the supa spreada😱😷🤬😡🥜 Herman Cain took one for the team but even his death didn’t change their protocol.

    It seems Trump is trying to blame the military and law enforcement for always wanting to come over and hug and kiss him! Nice.

  2. “Joe Biden doesn’t excite voters the way Barack Obama did. He’s no orator, and he doesn’t pander to a rabid base, a la Trump.”

    My view of Joe on Tuesday night was that he maintained his composure; he treated Trump and Wallace with respect in an untenable situation. His few retorts to Trump were in a controlled voice and manner. Reports on the debate have read that they “talked over one another”; Joe primarily tried to carry on with HIS answers during HIS allotted time period, he did intrude on Trump’s insults regarding his sons.

    The comments about Joe being an “old white guy” don’t recognize self control, respect for others and self respect which is needed in a world leader. Joe is not perfect; no one is, but he is that “sane adult” Sheila referred to. We will now see the response from a true American who is in total opposition to any and everything Trump stands for and has said and done during this presidency now that he has tested positive for Covid-19 during this Pandemic for which he is primarily responsible in this country.

    “He is also a thoroughly decent, competent and honorable public servant. He won’t abuse the office and he won’t abuse us.” And he won’t abuse Trump now that he is numbered among the positive Covid cases in this country; the same cannot be said about Trump if the situation were reversed. Joe IS hope.

  3. “ I can’t believe there are enough racists and know-nothings in America to keep him and his GOP enablers in office.”

    I really hope you are right – I want to believe this too, but I fear there are so many more racists in this country than any of us would like to admit.

  4. I think Joe spoke for many of us when he said, if I may paraphrase the relevant points, “Will you shut up, you lying, racist, clown.”

  5. Don’t exhale yet. The Tom Cotton’s, Skippy Walker’s and Tucker Carlson’s of the GOP are waiting in the wings to pick up his ugly, hate-filled mantle. We may get a four year reprieve if Biden is elected (emphasis on “may”) but rest assured, the hatred of the Republican Party is not going away any time soon. I sure hope I’m proven wrong.

  6. What is needed now is the avatar of the lawyer who, at a Senate hearing, said to Senator Joseph McCarthy: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

  7. So when Trump went to New jersey, he already knew he was infected, when Kaylee Mcanany his press secretary stood up in front of the White House press corps, she already knew she was in contact with hope Hicks and might be infected. So much for concern and empathy towards your fellow man / woman!

    They’re just burning it all right to the ground, and obviously they haven’t been taking their hydroxychloroquine, lol! Let’s not forget the bleach injections.

    the entire press score is going to have to be tested and all of those donors Trump met with on Thursday have to be a little concerned because you know none of them are spring chickens, and who are without health problems!

  8. This reminds me of the “Kiefer Sutherland series Designated Survivor,” hopefully they have one person, that might not drop dead, to run the country.

  9. Yes, Patrick, that is an excellent paraphrase! I would have added a few more expletives. 😉

    Sheila and I agree on the affliction of Trump’s voice. I limit his pressers and rally snippets to 30 seconds. Reading his lying tweets are bad enough. I did endure the debate, and Joe is a tired old white man. But, as I’ve explained to many others, he’s not Trump, and he won’t be spreading Trumpism for another four years ending in god only knows where.

    John, I’d like to accept Trump’s tweet as the truth, but something about the “Little boy who cried wolf” comes to mind after four years of Trump’s daily lying. I’m not even sure I’d believe my eyes if he was laying in a casket next week. Hell, Bloomberg News called him “slightly obese” in their newsletter this morning.

    Well, just when you think things couldn’t get more chaotic in the USA…

  10. Since many of the regulars here are, I suspect, old white men I should say that there’s really nothing wrong with being an old white man. Being an old white man who is crazy, a liar, a thief, and a President all at the same time is what is bad.

    For those among us who practice any sort of religion, this morning’s news may signal that there really is a God. Since the orange menace gets tested daily, I doubt he was infected when he was at the debate, but I am relieved that social distancing was practiced – maybe not so much as political distancing, but it’s all good.

    VOTE BLUE!

  11. Frankly I never thought any portion of any “Presidential Debate”, or any political debate on a TV stage for that matter, fit any kind of definition of the concept of a “debate”.

  12. Peggy, you forgot the tired in the “tired old white man.” 😉

    I think 40+ years in Washington has taken its toll on the man. His ability to use facts and figures has passed. Trump actually bailed him out on occasion.

    But as you said, he’s not Trump, and he won’t be advocating Trumpism for another four years. We only have two options.

    What worries me more is the shit being pulled by Governor Abbott in Texas. I suspect this ploy of voter suppression will be used in other states. If he is knowingly going against a court order, this whole election may end up in the SCOTUS and that is not a group we want to decide this election.

  13. I am not surprised that Trump and his wife have contracted Covid. His delusion that he is invincible and his refusal to wear a mask put him at high risk. I am surprised he did not contract it sooner.

    I hope Biden does not contract COVID. I think there was enough space between him and Trump that he won’t catch it from the debate. The debate turned out exactly as I thought it would with Trump constantly interrupting Biden. It shows how insecure Trump is.

    Biden’s calm, rational demeanor is not near as intense as Trump’s abusive yelling. I want calm and rational not a pathological liar who does not respect the rule of law.

    I can only hope that my fellow citizens want calm and rational as well.

  14. I’ll be the Solicitor General is already preparing for a Federal Court battle to delay the election until some future time when a vaccine is widely available.

  15. Just yesterday some of my Trump Cult “Friends” on Facebook were whopping it up because supposedly some GOP Governors lifted mandatory wearing of masks. Who knows if it was true or if it some Meme they spread around. They were using the word Freedom a lot – Freedom to not wear a mask.

    Who knows if the Trumpet has Corona or not. Given the constant stream of lies emanating from his mouth it could just be another one of his professional wrestling publicity stunts. He always seems to find among his boot lickers he has surrounded himself with those who are willing to perpetuate and amplify his lies.

    He has managed to deflect the story on his taxes, or rather lack of paying taxes from the political scene. Unhinged is the best way I can think of to describe his performance in the debate.

  16. Summing up the debate is well done with words often attributed to Mark Twain but who knows for sure?:
    “It’s better to remain silent and appear a fool than to speak (or yell and slobber) and remove all doubt.”

  17. Joe Biden showed he was able to generally remain calm in the face of a self centered asshole who would not shut up or behave as he had previously agreed to. That trump refused to condemn white supremacist groups should tell those remaining “undecided” which side of good and evil trump falls on. Its not that hard! Sadly, so many of trumps supporters are not, or at least do not consider them selves” racist however they are generally less educated and / or very susceptible to the nonsense they see/hear on FOX. Slavery is over, grab your boot straps and pull your self up! ( hard to do when you’ve been prevented from owning bootstraps but the trumpsters don’t understand that rather major detail.

  18. Sheila, I know you’re a constitutional scholar and if you haven’t already done so, Google on “presidential succession constitutionality” or something similar. Given some of the scenarios prompted by speculation over this morning’s news, there appears to be (and long been) a serious question as to the constitutionality of the 1947 Presidential Successsion Act, which puts two members of Congress (currently Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and Chuck Grassley, President Pro-tem of the Senate…..both in their 80’s) in line right after Trump and Pence, and before the rest of the Chain, cabinet members beginning with Mike Pompeo, would come into play. The thrust of the argument is that the Constitution refers to the term “Officers”, which many interpret as limiting those eligible to be President to members of the Executive Branch. The issue came up even in Jefferson’s time. See, for example: https:/www.lawfareblog.com/presidential-succession-nightmare. Written last March when the pandemic caused some renewed interest in the topic.

    I HOPE (there that word is again) raising this issue has a minimal effect on your mental health. Hang in there!

  19. Todd,

    It should be clear that the state Republicans have been given their marching orders to do everything they can to suppress and upset voting norms and processes. Pennsylvania’s Republicans are trying to push legislation to be able to subpoena ballots. They also want to subpoena poll workers. WTF?!

    Abbott has always had his leash attached to the GOP in Washington. They tug and he jumps.

    The point remains clear for all to see: REPUBLICANS HAVE NO INTENTION OF GOVERNING. Republicans ONLY want to retain power. Why? So they can bilk working people and funnel the money back to their donors in any way they can. THIS is what Marx meant in 1850 – something when he said unregulated capitalism will destroy itself from within. What do Republicans keep whining about? Rules, regulations and laws that prevent them from stealing the wealth of the nation for the sake of the very few.

    A story today in the Denver Post about a rich Trump donor who made his private jet accessible to the Trump campaign in return for having his crooked father pardoned. It doesn’t get much more banana republic-like than this.

    Oh, and the one liner above about walking away…? How about those 92+ million voters who walked away from their civic duty in 2016 by not voting? THAT is what walking away looks like. And here we are…

  20. To add to Stephen’s comment >>

    “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”
    ― Carl Sandburg

    This has been the GOP’s credo for sometime, The Trumpet has just amplified it.

  21. I think Joe Biden is exactly what we need after four years of chaos, assault on our psyches, and pure terror. A calm, rational, sane human being is just what the doctor ordered!

  22. I’m not sure if Sheila’s written three paragraphs, I agree with more:

    “[Biden} is also a thoroughly decent, competent and honorable public servant. He won’t abuse the office and he won’t abuse us.

    He is a sane adult. That alone makes him immensely superior to Trump.

    Once we’ve rested, once the nightmare is over, we can start the process of repairing the systems that enabled– facilitated !– the election of the most unfit person ever to hold the office. More on those systems and what it will take to fix them in coming days….”

    Unlike, Todd, I thought Biden did perfectly well during the debate. Yes, Biden occasionally stumbles and stammers and stutters and forgets things (so do I), but he’s not much different than he’s ever been. At its worst, Biden’s mental acuity still far exceeds Trump’s on Trump’s best day. You should watch video of Trump thirty years ago compared to today. Trump is definitely not as sharp mentally…although he never was that sharp mentally.

  23. So did Hope give the virus to Trump or did Trump give it to Hope or did both of them catch it from third parties? We will never know but Hope at age 31 is more likely to get over it in timely fashion while Trump at age 74 and obese is likely to have a longer period of convalescence. Trump says he got it from Hope and that she got it from the military, those he has defined as losers and suckers, but who knows? To quote our wannabe Big Brother, “It is what it is.”

    In purely political terms this is a break for Trump since it takes the spotlight away from his tax frauds and Melania’s putdowns of kids in cages and Christmas in words of the street, words we would never have heard from other such First Ladies as Bess Truman, Rosalind Carter, or my all time favorite, Eleanor Roosevelt. Unlike today, there was some decorum and respect shown in those White Houses in contradistinction to the atmosphere created in the White House by the ranting bully we have today.

    Our task? Remove the bully. I have done my share. I received my absentee ballot from Florida, voted, sent it back the next day, postage paid, and I can confidently and personally report that Biden is ahead 1-0.

  24. 1) You really need to see the debate to understand the full meaning of who he is.

    2) I don’t believe him about anything, ever.

  25. Trump called Covid a “Democrat hoax” and refused to act in a timely & sensible manner. Trump refused to insist his cultists wear masks at his bigot-fests. Trump made fun of people who wore masks. Today the Trumps have Covid.

    THE WORD OF THE DAY IS “SCHADENFREUDE”

  26. Todd and others! “Joe is a tired old white man.”

    Strike the word “white” (Joe is a tired old man) and you will have described exactly the place where wisdom resides. And if Joe were a Josephine, the same would be true.

    I get damned incensed at the insults you all throw at aged people. Get over it. Maybe a lot of us older and wiser people are not as far over the hill as you.

  27. Regarding succession of office when the choice is forced beyond President Pro Tempore of the Senate, namely to a succession of Cabinet Officers, I think there is a Constitutional question as to non-confirmed officers.

  28. The good thing about being over the hill is that you can now coast and it does not take as much energy as the climbing once did. 🙂 🙂 🙂 PURE BULLS##T

  29. Atta boy, Larry. This “tired old man” (78) just had his 4th novel published. I wonder if Todd has written his book yet. I also played golf today and shot my age. Not bad for a creaky old fart!

  30. In electing a President we are not selecting someone to carry three-ton blocks of stone up the side of the Pyramids of Giza, nor are we choosing a contestant in Jeopardy!

  31. During the debate, Trump behaved far different than he would have had he and Biden been alone in a Brooklyn alley. He hid behind his title, which he must feel gives him the protection of mother’s skirts behind which he can shout abuse and insult without fear of losing teeth.

  32. Vernon, this not-so-tired 83 year-old has had his seventh biography and third novel published by Legacy Tree Books. My fourth novel, set in Africa and nearly finished, is awaiting my trip to Africa, just so I can add one more smidgeon of authenticity to it.

    In regard to energy, when I retired it was as if my old batteries had been switched to new-fangled atomic batteries. But the new energy was different; it was more intellectual, more thoughtful, and less wasted on jumping from detail to detail.

    Every day I meet with a few good men, half older than me, who seem to be charged with the same new batteries. Frankly, I would rather they and me rule the planet than some whippersnapper hotshot with ten million followers on Twitter and a propensity to shortchange careful analysis.

  33. Wow, this is great! Now that we’ve established the varility of old white men, we can move on? 😱🤧

  34. I kind of thought that what Trump was doing during the debate was this, and I appear to have been right. This is from a Facebook post I saw this morning.

    Abusive tone of voice, rapid fire interruptions, zigzagging change of topic, personal insult and humiliation, and family pain are all tripwires that scramble a stutterer’s ability to speak. There was nothing unplanned or spontaneous in the President’s strategy. The bastards did not prep him to attack Joe. They prepped him to attack Joe’s disability hoping that by triggering his stuttering they might deceive an audience unfamiliar with the disability into thinking that Joe was stupid, weak, uncertain, confused, or lost to dementia.

    Trump wasn’t out of control, he knew exactly what he was doing. I saw it in the expression of maliciousness, the face of the bully, in his face more than once during the debate.

  35. Is saw the bit below (and more) in a Facebook post this morning. Trump wasn’t out of control during the debate. He knew exactly what he was doing

    Abusive tone of voice, rapid fire interruptions, zigzagging change of topic, personal insult and humiliation, and family pain are all tripwires that scramble a stutterer’s ability to speak. There was nothing unplanned or spontaneous in the President’s strategy. The bastards did not prep him to attack Joe. They prepped him to attack Joe’s disability hoping that by triggering his stuttering they might deceive an audience unfamiliar with the disability into thinking that Joe was stupid, weak, uncertain, confused, or lost to dementia.

    I saw it during the debate, when, more than once, he looked at Joe with a malicious hatefulness, the face of a bully

  36. Great snark, John. The word you’re looking for is VIRILITY. Maybe you need to get more rest.

    Larry, I’ve been to Africa twice. I can give you all sorts of heads up and corroboration. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 1980, visited Uganda in 2014. Go to my website, http://www.vernturner.com and leave a message for contact.

  37. The Trump/Covid19 brou-ha-ha is a HOAX, an easy plea for pity. His handlers have contrived a way to gain forgiveness for the utter failure of his debate performance and to cancel future debates that would add insult to injury. He has shown the world that he has no idea of debating rules and is unable to display a scintilla of respect for ANY rules of conduct.

    You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

    Quarantine is his only hope for survival.

  38. I watched the first 30 minutes of the thing, and left the room, for my health, and the safety of the TV. I had already voted, prior to the debate.
    Some pundits have written that THIS was/is Trump’s “strategy,” to disgust and turn off as many voters as possible. I disagree: What was seen was the pure, unadulterated, dysfunctional, malevolent psychopathy of this “clown,” feeling the pressure of loosing, nothing less, nothing more. One can not loose more publicly than Mr. Zero Sum might be about to do!
    Some think his Covid-19 positive situation is just more bunk. Is this a “Sympathy for the Devil” ploy? Is this an excuse to drop out so he does not actually loose? I doubt it, because once he’s out of office, he is soooo vulnerable to indictment.
    Meanwhile the wanna-be man is still the center of attention.

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