What we also witnessed Wednesday evening was the main reason why Biden was committed from day one to selecting a woman of color to be his running mate. The rationale of course was to insulate her from criticism whenever she's attacked substantively or has her record pored over. Sure enough, Harris set the tone early by continually uttering some variation of "Excuse me. I'm talking, please don't interrupt me" when Pence addressed her. So whenever the Vice President was tough (but fair) in his assessment of the Biden-Harris record or corrected blatant misstatements from Harris, he was accused of (SURPRISE!) "mansplaining." For all the bitching some people have engaged in over women allegedly not having an equal opportunity to be on a presidential ticket, they sure do get the vapors when a woman (specifically a Democrat woman) finally has that chance but is actually pressed under the same harsh scrutiny as a male candidate.
If there was one main takeaway I had from this debate it's how Pence is orders of magnitude more coherent in defending President Trump and his policies than Trump himself. VP Pence is a fantastic messenger while always speaking with great composure. I've always known this about him, which is why I was heartened when Trump assigned Pence the role of heading up the coronavirus task force 6+ months ago. But as Trump is wont to do, he undermined the efforts, including inserting himself into the daily COVID-19 briefings which eventually turned into some of the more bizarre ramblings of his presidency. Had he just allowed the unflappable Pence to run things as he saw fit, I can't help but think Americans would have felt more reassurance in how the government is enacting its response.
As much as we right-of-center politicos were energized by Pence's debate performance, it was deflated by Thursday morning when Trump declared he would not participate in a virtual debate with Biden next week. This was after the Presidential Debate Commission determined it's best to take such precautions in light of the President being diagnosed with COVID-19 less than a week earlier. For all the speculation Trump et al engaged in over Biden looking for a way out of the debates, it was the President himself who cuts and runs.
One final thought. Does anyone else believe that the Veep debate matchup which occurred Wednesday evening may well be the presidential card we'll witness in 2024?