We’re in for a lot of this, aren’t we? The higher reaches of our ballot feature grossly one-sided contests between able, experienced Democrats and unknown, untested Republicans whose long residencies in the Fox News bubble are plain for all to see.
Last night’s Welch/Malloy debate was… a bit of a letdown. Gerald Malloy was the boring kind of ultraconservative, not the entertaining kind. He was Mike Lee, not Paul Gosar. Instead of a guy verbally stepping on rakes á la Sideshow Bob, we got a flavorless plate of boiled meat with a side of willful ignorance.
It wasn’t as much fun as I hoped. I think we’ll get better results next week, when Libertarian-of-convenience Ericka Redic brings her unique brand of acerbic egotism to a debate with Becca Balint and mock Republican Liam Madden. If Malloy was stepping on rakes, Redic will march blissfully through a minefield.
Peter Welch was, well, Peter Welch. Always on top of his rhetorical game and incredibly energetic for a mid-septuagenerian*. Impressive, in short. Well, not to the 35% of the electorate that will see Malloy as a military hero answering the call of duty to clean up Washington, D.C. But they don’t matter. He did nothing last night that could push his share of the vote past the mid-30s.
*Seriously. I’ve written that he might be one-and-done in the Senate but the way he looks and speaks, he might keep going for three or four terms.
Some high and low points for Malloy:
He acknowledged that Joe Biden did win the 2020 election, which these days makes him a moderate Republican?!?
He also claimed to have “no issue” with “What is it, marriage equality?” because he believes in “personal freedom.” However, he did not commit to supporting legislation to formally establish marriage equality into federal law.
Similar dodge on reproductive rights. He said Roe v. Wade “should not have been decided federally” because it’s “a state issue.” That suggests he’d be against a federal ban, but not necessarily. “If a ban comes up, I will look at it,” he said, and when pressed, he repeated “I’d have to look at it.”
He said he didn’t get the Covid vaccine because “I chose to go with natural immunity” because vaccines are made “with aborted fetal cell lines.” Welch pointed out that “natural immunity” means sickness and death for millions of us.
As for fetal cells in vaccines, Malloy is technically correct. But, per the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “The fetal fibroblast cells used to grow vaccine viruses were first obtained from elective termination of two pregnancies in the early 1960s. These same fetal cells obtained from the early 1960s have continued to grow in the laboratory and are used to make vaccines today.”
In other words, nobody’s harvesting babies to make these vaccines.
Onward. Malloy favors a wall on the US/Mexico border, and when asked about noise from the F-35s at Burlington Airport, he said, “I call that the sound of freedom.” And he seemingly had climate change in mind when he referred to “a crusade to kill the oil and gas industry” that led to this year’s price spike.
Oh, and he said that President Biden’s partial forgiveness of student debt wad an “unconstitutional executive order.”
I could go on, but the point has been proven: Malloy might make a cromulent Senator in South Dakota or Oklahoma, but there’s no way he could represent Vermonters’ views on the issues of our time. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about it because he’s going to lose, and lose badly.