The vice presidential debate seemed more traditional, more familiar than the first clash between Trump and Hillary. So I think it is pretty safe to say that the opinions expressed last night represent the mainstream thought of the ruling political class. I can't recall a Russian leader being derided and vilified as much as Vladimir Putin (maybe Joseph Stalin). Think back to Reagan's "evil empire" speech. Did Reagan call Andropov a small man, a thug, a dictator? Of course not. The treatment Putin is getting is consistent with Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. The huge difference being that the Russian Federation is neither Iraq nor Serbia.
There is an unhinged quality in U.S. mainstream political life right now. We are being forced into a war footing with Russia. Is this aburdity Kerry's Plan B?
Below is that portion of last night's debate that deals with confronting Russia in Syria to establish humanitarian safe havens. The Washington Post provides a complete transcript.
QUIJANO: I want to turn now to Syria. Two hundred fifty thousand people, 100,000 of them children, are under siege in Aleppo, Syria. Bunker buster bombs, cluster munitions, and incendiary weapons are being dropped on them by Russian and Syrian militaries. Does the U.S. have a responsibility to protect civilians and prevent mass casualties on this scale, Governor Pence?
But about Aleppo and about Syria, I truly do believe that what America ought to do right now is immediately establish safe zones, so that families and vulnerable families with children can move out of those areas, work with our Arab partners, real time, right now, to make that happen.
KAINE: Governor Pence just said -- Governor Pence just said that Donald Trump will rebuild the military. No, he won't. Donald Trump is avoiding paying taxes. The New York Times story -- and we need to get this -- but the New York Times suggested that he probably didn't pay taxes for about 18 years starting in 1995. Those years included the years of 9/11.