This week both Donald Trump and Joe Biden held nationally televised town halls. The difference between these two events could not have been more stark. Any voter who saw both broadcasts would likely – and ironically – agree with something Trump tweeted Thursday: “At no time before has there been a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, & two agendas for the future.” Can’t argue with that.
Trump had his town hall on ABC with George Stephanopoulos and spent 90 minutes repeating many of the same lies he’s been telling for months. He utterly failed to exhibit the slightest bit of knowledge on any subject, stumbling awkwardly off topic on virtually every question in order to hew closely to the tiresome talking points that litter his cult rally rhetoric. At the same time, he displayed a callous disrespect and lack of empathy for questioners who challenged his dishonest muttering, or for the millions of Americans they represented.
On the other hand, during the CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper, Biden was plainly well acquainted with the issues that are uppermost on the minds of the American people. And he articulated his views with a minimum of error. What’s more, he reaffirmed why he is often praised for his compassion and ability to relate to the common man and woman. His performance exposed Trump’s infantile taunts of “Sleepy” Joe, and his baseless insinuations about Biden’s mental acuity, as wholly outside of reality. Which is a place where Trump must feel comfortable considering how often he goes there.
Consequently, the Republican Confederacy of Trump-Fluffers sprung into action to malign Biden’s town hall presence. Since they can’t allow the public to simply observe Biden speaking coherently, the rightist slander squadron deployed to accuse him of cheating, implying that he must have had prior access to the questions. A representative example of this desperate attack line came from the disgraced former Fox News host, and serial sexual predator, Bill O’Reilly:
Looks to me that Biden had an idea of what the questions would be, at least areas of questioning.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) September 18, 2020
REALLY? Just to be clear, what O’Reilly and the rest of the right are accusing Biden of is being smart enough to anticipate that he would be asked questions about such topical matters as the coronavirus, jobs, voting, healthcare, the economy, policing and race, and climate change. They seem to think that only a super genius would have been able to figure that out. Obviously Trump wasn’t able to do it.
Plus, at the same time that these wingnuts are insisting that Biden couldn’t possibly retain knowledge about pressing matters that he’s dealt with for decades, they are also suggesting that he is capable of memorizing a slate of questions – and the answers – that he was allegedly provided beforehand. That alone would require a fair amount of mental dexterity that Trump could never muster.
So now Biden is “guilty” of being more intelligent than Trump (a low bar, to be sure). But this is consistent with the Republican mindset that intelligence is an elitist trait that should disqualify one from public service. They malign universities as centers of left-wing indoctrination. They refuse to respect the guidance of doctors, scientists, and other experts in professional fields. And they cling to Trump’s prideful ignorance as the leader who famously declared that he “loves the poorly educated.” And why shouldn’t he. Without them he’d have no cabinet – or voters.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.