Tuesday night’s Vice Presidential debate lacked the drama of last week’s Presidential debate. Instead of cinematic thrusts and jabs, we mostly got a dry exchange on the major policy battles at the heart of this election. In balance, Indiana Governor Mike Pence had the edge in terms of presentation and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine likely won the long game staying on message and hitting Trump hard. But, rather than discuss who won the debate, let’s answer a more important question: Which of these rather forgettable and unappealing guys would you choose as your stepdad? Would you rather Tim Kaine or Mike Pence marry your mom?
Most stepdad line of the night: “If you don’t know the difference between dictatorship and leadership you’ve got to go back to a fifth grade civics class.”
Tim Kaine knows he can’t replace your biological father, and dang it, he’s not going to try to. He will be there for you, though, no matter what. That doesn’t mean he won’t also embarrass the shit out of you. He is prone to corny lines like “You don’t want a ‘you’re fired’ president, you want a ‘you’re hired’ president.” He is going to mention that his “40th high school reunion is in 10 days,” more than a few times, just in case you forgot. He’s going to tell you shit you already know, like “Did you know that Bin Laden was alive” when Hillary started as Secretary of State? Yes, Tim, we remember—and yes, we checked the oil in the station wagon. And yes, he’s going to drop a Bible quote in there every so often, even around your cool atheist friends. But, at the end of the day, if “the $64,000 question” is whether or not he’ll love you, then gosh darn it, the answer is yes.
Most stepdad line of the night: “Did you work on that a long time? Because it had a lot of creative lines in it.”
To say that Mike Pence is a bit emotionally distant is an understatement. He’s the stepdad who spends your entire graduation party staring at the grill and working his way through a case of Budweiser cans. This guy hates jokes. Whenever Kaine cracked wise, Pence would fire back with something like “you have a lot of pre-done lines,” as though that isn’t what jokes are, and
“pre-done lines” are for hippies and charlatans.
Stepdad Pence only looks away from the grill and/or away from the imminent Russian threat to let you know that he hears your “bad-mouthing” and he doesn’t like it, or to say something vaguely offensive like “You whipped out that Mexican thing again.” If you aren’t going to be a police officer or marine—“Police officers are the best of us,” he’ll remind you when you tell him you finished your gender studies dissertation—he’ll dismiss you with, “Did you work on that a long time? Because it had a lot of creative lines.” Mostly, he’ll just stare off in the distance, muttering things like “The Russian Bear never dies, it just hibernates.”
Verdict: We totally get it if your mom gravitates toward Pence. He’s strong. He’s a provider. He’s a man of faith. But, from a stepkids’ point of view, while neither of these guys will ever replace your father, at least Tim Kaine will look at you when not brandishing a belt and a fifth of Wild Turkey. It’s hard to say who won the debate, but we’ll take Tim Kaine’s dad jokes over Mike Pence’s cold stares into the abyss any day.