It could be worse. It might yet be:
And hey, we're only 95½ days away from Joe Biden's inauguration.
Variety reported this morning that Joe Biden had higher ratings than the president last night:
Biden drew 12.7 million total viewers on the Disney-owned network, while Trump drew 10.4 million in the same 9-10 p.m. time slot on NBC. Across the entire runtime, the Biden town hall averaged 12.3 million viewers. In terms of the fast national 18-49 demographic, Biden is comfortably on top with a 2.6 rating to Trump’s 1.7.
(I wonder if anyone has told him yet? Oh, to be a fly on Pence's head during that conversation...)
Apparently things didn't go as planned for the president, either. NBC decided they needed to commit actual journalism:
[D]espite fears that the event would amount to a free promotion for Trump’s campaign, it ended up being one of the toughest grillings he has faced as president, with questions about white supremacy, covid-19 deaths and his taxes.
At one point, after pushing Trump on his retweet of a QAnon-linked conspiracy theory, Guthrie said, “I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”
When Trump said he wasn’t familiar with QAnon, Guthrie said “you do know,” to which he replied: “No, I don’t know. You tell me all about it. Let’s waste the whole show. Let’s go. Keep asking me these questions.”
After questioning him about his frequent claims of election fraud, Guthrie told him, “There is no evidence of widespread fraud, and you are sowing doubt in our democracy."
The "crazy uncle" comment prompted memes within seconds, of course, most of them with Mary Trump's face on them.
I am not sorry I missed the thing. Biden's, apparently, went pretty smoothly. I really can't wait until we have a calmer White House in January.
I dropped off my completed ballot this afternoon, so if Joe Biden turns out to be the devil made flesh, I can't change my vote.
Tonight, the president and Joe Biden will have competing, concurrent town halls instead of debating each other, mainly because the president is an infant. The Daily Parker will not live-blog either one. Instead, I'll whip up a stir-fry and read something.
In other news:
Finally, a pie-wedge-shaped house in Deerfield, Ill., is now on Airbnb for $113 a night. Enjoy.
Three items, somewhat related:
- The president's doctor, Sean Conley, released a memo pronouncing the president "no longer considered transmission risk to others," without providing any information on whether he tested negative for Covid-19, because why would you want clarity around the president's health?
- The president, meanwhile, has openly called for prosecutions of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, in a desperate bid to hang on to power befitting a small, whiny loser.
- Three Washington Post reporters trace how a misogynistic conspiracy theory about Kamala Harris wended its way through the Intertubes.
Finally, if you're still undecided in this election, the Times has a quiz for you.
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has had enough of the administration "endangering and dividing America:"
When I addressed the people of Michigan on Thursday to comment on the unprecedented terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against 13 men, some of whom were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me, I said, “Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan.” I meant it. But just moments later, President Trump’s campaign adviser, Jason Miller, appeared on national television accusing me of fostering hatred.
I’m not going to waste my time arguing with the president. But I will always hold him accountable. Because when our leaders speak, their words carry weight.
[I]nstead of uniting the country, our president has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, and fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division. He has proved time and again that he is more focused on his chances in the upcoming election and picking fights with me and Democrats across the country than he is on protecting our families, front-line workers and small businesses from covid-19.
We're only 24 days until the election. I've got my ballot right here, which I'll fill out tomorrow and drop off at the county election office on Tuesday.
Let's start with the good news: Julie Nolke has a new video.
OK, ready for everything else?
And finally, today would have been John Lennon's 80th birthday.
Generally, reactions to last night's debate follow three patterns: Vice President Mike Pence mansplained to Senator Kamala Harris; Harris told the truth significantly more than Pence did; and the fly won. (My favorite reaction, from an unknown Twitter user: "If that fly laid eggs in Pence's hair, he'd better carry them to term.") Other reactions:
- The Washington Post, NBC, and the BBC fact-checked the most egregious distortions, most of which came from Pence.
- James Fallows believes "both candidates needed to convince voters they possess the right temperament for the job. Only one pulled it off."
In other news:
- Following the president's positive Covid-19 test, and Pence's and the president's repeated interruptions and talking over the moderators, the Commission on Presidential Debates has decided the October 15th presidential debate will be virtual. The crybaby-in-chief got angry: "It’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want." ("Speaking to reporters in Delaware, Biden said it was still possible [the president] would show up because 'he changes his mind every second.'")
- Alex Shephard bemoans "the final message of a dying campaign:" "With his poll numbers collapsing, [the president] keeps adopting dumber and more destructive political messages."
- The New Yorker dives into "the secret history of Kimberly Guilfoyle's departure from Fox."
- For total Daily Parker bait, National Geographic explores the Russian military map collection at Indiana University, with 4,000 secret Russian maps drawn between 1883 and 1947, many captured from wartime intelligence services.
- As today is the 149th anniversary of the Chicago Fire, the Chicago History Today blog looked at the history of the house at 2121 N. Hudson Ave., the only wood-frame building to survive in the burn zone.
- Speaking of wood fires in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune has yet another ranking of pizzas. Happy lunchtime.
Finally, the FBI arrested six men who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. They didn't get close, but still.
While I'm waiting for Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris to face off at 8pm Central, I have other things to occupy my thoughts:
Also, it's sunny and 20°C this morning, going up to 23°C this afternoon, so I'm taking half a day off work. We have perhaps 3 more days of nice weather this year, and it's the first day of a sprint (so no deadlines quite yet).
Starting in March, this year has seemed like a weird anthology TV show, with each month written and directed by a different team. We haven't had Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme yet; I'm hoping that'll be the season finale in February. This month we seem to have Armando Iannucci running the show, as the President's antics over the weekend suggest.
So here's how I'm spending lunch:
Tomorrow night will be the vice-presidential debate, which I will again live-blog. I can't wait.
Today's lunchtime round-up only had one article about current politics:
Finally, I came across an interview actor Michael Shannon gave Playboy in 2018 that's worth the read.