“Don’t insult the voters”…like calling them “Deplorables”?
Even though P.J. O’Rourke had endorsed Clinton in August, you need to hear him out on this review of the debate between Trump and Hillary. He really does a great job of describing exactly why Trump will come out of this first debate doing better than Hillary.
Report From the First Presidential Debate
By P.J. O’Rourke
On Monday night, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met for their first head-to-head debate. What was the evening’s big news?
Deion Jones returned a 90-yard interception to score a touchdown and cap the Atlanta Falcons’ victory over the New Orleans Saints, 45-32!
I didn’t get to see that, though. I was watching the presidential debate – so you didn’t have to.
Compared with the NFL matchup, watching the presidential debate was like standing on the sidelines at a flag football game between a couple of Montessori schools.
The only talented player on the field was NBC anchor Lester Holt, and what Holt was talented at was piling on Trump and making late hits for Team Hillary.
The candidates themselves were no good.
Trump has the gut issues going for him. But he can’t articulate them well enough to make your reasoning fully agree with the feeling in the pit of your stomach. And he has trouble giving concise and to-the-point examples of what he means.
Trump is too fond of the “broad stroke.” He’s trying to paint a detailed picture of what’s wrong with American politics while using only a four-inch brush.
Hillary is good with the details – too good. Details are all she has. Lots and lots of highly detailed little thises and thats. Like she’s furnishing a dollhouse instead of filling the White House.
Hillary kept saying, “I have a plan.” It’s a phrase that always sets off alarms for me. People who really have a plan are acting on the plan, not standing around saying they have one.
“I have a plan” is right up there with “Hold my beer and watch this!”
Who won the debate?
That assumes it was a debate. It wasn’t. It was a tedious rehash of issues that both candidates had already made a hash of.
This was interspersed with some name-calling that commentators characterized as “heated,” “harsh,” or even “scorching.” Which shows what wimps these commentators are. None of it would get you punched in the nose on the playground.
Hillary had the best riposte. She brought up the notion, yet again, that Donald is someone who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the nuclear launch codes.
Trump: “That’s getting old.”
Hillary: “But good.”
And Trump had, by far, the best line. He saved it for the very end: “Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience.”
The winner was whomever you wanted to win. As far as I can tell from clicking around sources on the Internet, the candidate who won was the candidate that the source in question had already decided to declare victorious.
It reminded me of Soviet judges scoring Olympic gymnastics back during the Cold War.
Thus, the Washington Post and all its opinion columnists said Hillary won. Ditto for the New York Times. And in CNN’s instant viewer polling, 62% of respondents gave the laurels to Hillary.
On the other hand, the Drudge Report’s instant polling awarded Trump the prize by 82%. And Charles Krauthammer – who, to my mind, is the smartest person on TV – called the debate “something like a draw.”
Did we “learn” anything from the presidential debate?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No.
And yet, the debate turned out to be highly informative – if you turned the sound off.
The event was broadcast with a split screen so that each candidate was visible while the other was talking (or, to use a technical term, “blabbing”). The blab was dull, but the expressions on the candidates’ faces were fascinating.
Trump was serious of mien. He was concentrating intently on what Hillary was saying. He sometimes developed a little twitch of annoyance. Other times, he wore a small frown of disagreement. But mostly, he looked deeply thoughtful. (And let’s be frank, this is a man who could stand to do a bit more deep thinking.)
Hillary is supposed to have a whole bunch of deep thoughts – concerning her endlessly convoluted plans to fix all the problems under the sun. But there she was, thoughtlessly making rude grimaces whenever Trump spoke.
Mom always said, “You shouldn’t make faces because your face may get stuck that way.” Hillary’s face got stuck that way.
She spent the whole evening with a wipe-that-look-off-your-face look on her face. She smirked. She sneered. She radiated smugness.
She repeatedly mugged for the camera with a ham actor’s pantomime “gasp of disbelief.” Except she is no actor. It came off like a cheap infomercial for new dentures.
She indulged in nasty smiles of condescension. She adopted a pout that said, “What’s a smarty like me doing with a dummy like him?”
Hillary had an air about her as if she just couldn’t believe that somehow, oh my gosh, she had been dragged up on stage to debate a talking dog.
Hillary had a plan for the debate. Of course she did. Hillary has a plan for everything. And she stuck to her plan. The plan was to be utterly dismissive of Trump and anyone who backs him and to treat every single thing he has to say with total contempt.
As I’ve said before, I’m not happy with either of these presidential candidates. It’s a tough election. Do you roll the dice with Trump? Or do you let Hillary just set the bones down on the table, so you crap out again like always?
I don’t care, personally, if Hillary mocks Trump. But I do care, personally, when the nature of democracy itself is mocked.
Trump is a man who decisively triumphed in the contest for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. And he is, as of the latest polling, in a dead heat with Hillary in the presidential race. When Hillary doesn’t treat Trump with any measure of respect for the public support that he has achieved, she isn’t insulting him, she’s insulting American voters.
If politics in a democracy has one rule, it’s, “Don’t insult the voters.”