Just before Covid hit the White House, and snickering, polished Kamala faced off with Pence, the first Trump-Biden debate in Cleveland highlighted more than expected and remains in my mind. One key moment in that set-to was Joe’s repeated use of the vague passive in response to Trump’s jabs about no-experience Hunter B. gaining undeserved millions from his “work” given him by the Ukraine, China, etc.

All Biden retorted on the subject, then repeated several times was: “It is discredited.” As in: “It is discredited.” (I hope you got that…)

Use of the active voice would at least have pointed to who’d actually “discredited” this story, and how. Instead, all we got from Joe was terse fluff. And of course a tit for tat on such issues was predictably forthcoming, including from the moderator.

Especially on the Donald’s own squiggles re taxes paid or not paid. But at least he didn’t stay as Biden-vague on that subject, dodging via other concrete examples of how much business (and politics) have cost him and his family, etc.

Biden of course came at that Trump family and lifestyle in “et tu, Brute” fashion. And I admit I’m no great fan of those sons, either. But one extenuating circumstance is that both Trump and Biden have been very successful, and therefore, hard paternal acts to follow.

But I still think Hunter takes the cake as what the French call a “fils à papa,” or daddy’s boy. If great swaths of the media were even a bit fair, Hunter’s lucrative relationship with nations where former VP Biden had pay-to-play clout would long ago have become more than ephemeral gossip. Some might certainly question Trump broaching this matter in that first debate and eliciting such a brief, empty refrain in return. I don’t.

Not that I like the National Inquirer mentality that has more and more claimed our public discourse. But in this case I believe there’s real relevance for such an important presidential contest.

Given those darned, repeated passives! And throughout these initial proceedings, other empty generalities proffered by Biden, accompanied by his own snickering smiles in the old, superior (“we progressives know best”) Hillary mode. Herself a dodger on bludgeoned emails, a fake dossier her Dems paid for to smear Trump, and much else.

Speaking of which, has Ms. Clinton been encouraged by her party to stay mostly silent in this race? So seems to run their unspoken strategy. But I think that silencing also extends to their agreed-on figurehead Mr. Biden. Let him give a few nothing burgers on major questions and problems for him. Let him spout some meaningless bromides, and smile knowingly. But mostly, let’s keep this potential human minefield under wraps! That seems to be the Democrats’ MO this fall.

Because if Biden says too much, he could become clumsy and break all the china, particularly on just how much he’s in thrall to his party’s far Left, to its bankrupting Green New Deal, tolerance of violent rioters, and so forth.

But on all that Biden’s first debate again showed him to be predictably laconic and hazy. He knows darned well he has to be. All he did was put forth empty, prevaricating denials, as in (and I paraphrase): “How on earth could I owe to a major part of the Democratic party, its animating core? Why do you think I’m their puppet? Preposterous.” More than what he said, his practiced looks, and really, the old, seasoned politician kicked in on this key issue. Joe’s the Democratic Party? Yeah, and I’ve got a bridge I can sell you!

How many on the far Left will actually call him out on all this? They’ve certainly called out Trump plenty, for anything and everything. But probably not many at this point want any internecine strife within their own aggregation. It wouldn’t look good.

Meanwhile, the big Democratic fear remains: that Biden can still implode even at the 11th hour, and quite on his own. And sabotage all their handiwork (including the hype and use of myriad mail-in ballots, ballot harvesting and the rest). Yes, there’s still a little time for Biden to keep dodging via empty generalities, but also to do worse than that! We’ll soon see…

B.B. Singer has taught at several area colleges including Niagara University.

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