Tuesday, September 27, 2016


I expected the worst last night -- a Donald Trump with just enough polish to be given credit for gravitas, up against a Hillary Clinton whose carefully crafted presentation would be described by pundits as inauthentic, all while she'd be called phony for smiling too much, or angry and humorless for not smiling enough.

Instead, Clinton, was relaxed and showed a decency of temperament, while nimbly getting in digs). And Donald Trump was really Donald Trump: no polish, no gloss, no best behavior. As Vox's Emily Crockett and Sarah Frostenson noted, "Trump interrupted Clinton 25 times in the first 26 minutes of the debate." He was seething, peevish, and self-pitying. He was awful. According to multiple polls and focus groups, Clinton won decisively.

What happened? I think what BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins wrote yesterday could be the key:
... as the race has narrowed, [Kellyanne] Conway has emerged in the popular imagination of politicos and pundits as the deft handler who’s finally succeeded in domesticating Trump.

... Interviews this week with more than half a dozen GOP sources close to the campaign suggest her “Trump-whisperer” status is more made-for-TV myth than reality.

“She’s there to go on MSNBC or Fox, or whatever. That’s sort of her job. They think she’s good on TV, and they like having her there as the face of the campaign,” said one source with knowledge of the strategy.

“The narrative that Kellyanne is a woman genius and saving Trump helps him as he runs against a woman ... [but] Kellyanne spends nearly 100% of her time on TV. That’s her role,” said another Republican who is close to Conway.
If that's true, then Trump's debate prep -- such as it was -- was a real sausagefest. Here was Trump's debate team, according to The New York Times:
Stephen K. Bannon, the campaign’s chief executive; Ms. Conway; former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York; Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; Stephen Miller, a policy adviser; Jason Miller, a communications adviser; Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, a retired Army officer; and Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law.

The former Fox News executive Roger Ailes has not been at the last two debate sessions, but he sends memos and speaks to Mr. Trump.
Bannon and Giuliani and Christie and General Flynn (the guy who reportedly had to be told to be quiet after he repeatedly interrupted Trump's intelligence briefing)? With contributions from Ailes? If Conway was only as involved as the Coppins story suggests, then debate prep must have been like an ugly night at a Wall Street-area strip club. Even if she was significantly involved, she was greatly outnumbered by a lot of men who spend a disproportionate amount of their time calculating the precise angle of theit territory-marking urine streams.

Well, excellent job, gents.

Trump unleashed everything he's been restraining in recent weeks -- weeks in which he's been narrowing the poll gap. I don't know who talked him into that restraint -- maybe it was Conway, maybe it was Ivanka. Who knows? But the boys in debate camp reinforced his sense that he should be truly himself while debating. As a Democrat, I say: thank you, boys. I wish there could be a debate every week between now and November. And I hope you guys keep offering Trump your wise counsel.


Jimbo said...

Wall St. has strip clubs? But seriously, the split screen view (at least on PBS) was very effective in showing him scowling like a classic cartoon villain virtually the whole debate while she looked calm and collected. She had a few canned "zingers" that didn't necessarily zing but she was relentlessly on target, terrier-like and he was clearly rattled much of the time. No question who won but whether it will have any impact on the battleground state polls is another question.

Zak44 said...

It seems every time Clinton starts pulling ahead of Trump, there are a flurry of stories about him "narrowing the poll gap."

I don't know whether I'm being cynical or naive, but for a media industry with a strong vested interest in keeping this election a horse race for as long as possible, findings like these are awfully convenient. Sort of like the "terror alerts" that Tom Ridge would issue every time the Bush White House needed a diversion.

Given the Democrats' structural advantages in national elections, the pattern of post-convention trends persisting through election day, and the history of debates rarely affecting the eventual outcome, are daily and weekly fluctuations in the polls really news—or just a way to keep eyeballs glued to the coverage?

justsomeguy05 said...

Clinton was a bit more relaxed and nimble than I expected. However she missed a "huge" opportunity. In talking about TPP, Trump claimed to have led the way on opposition. Hillary should have said that - to the contrary - Bernie led the way and that Trump should not take credit for it. It would have solidified her with Bernie supporters. Instead, in my mind she cemented herself as someone that has no respect for Bernie.

rclz said...

Answers I heard him give

Everyone was being sued for discriminating against black people so it's okay.

I don't have to pay taxes like you losers

I should get a pat on the back for following federal law and allowing POC in my club in Palm Springs.

he's amazingly ham handed when it comes to any kind questions of race relations or dealings with women

That said, in the next one I want someone to ask him if he's going to repeal the ACA and continue with the GOP's assault on abortion.

If Trump brings up Bill's affairs. I'd like to see Hillary ask him if he's ever cheated on any of his three wives. Also maybe she should point out that at least she stuck with one spouse and tried to work on her marriage. She's not a quitter.

Anonymous said...

That rumble you're hearing off in the distance? A landslide. Almost as if it were part of a plan.

Of course she showed Sanders and his supporters no respect. She has none, none of these people do. And if you think an author and advocate of trans-national partnerships for the past twenty-five years is overnight in opposition to them, I have some oceanfront property for sale. Cheap! Cash only though, in small bills please. You'll love Idaho!

Caveat Emptor
Ten Bears

rclz said...

So Ten Bears, I'm confused are you saying Trump is going to win in a landslide or Hillary will because of TPP?

Steve M. said...

I still says she's going to win by 2 points, because white people are stupid. (A majority of whites polled by PPP think Trump won the debate.)

id brink said...

She's a pro's pro, temperament-wise, as she demonstrated during the Benghazi hearings and demonstrated again last night. One could still quibble with how authentic her rhetoric is, underneath the calculated cool. But if it strikes Mr. Ugly American where it hurts, more power to her. I'd hope the MSM doesn't revert to its long-term pattern of cutting him enough slack (in the name of a good horserace, y'know) to let him off the hook yet again. But I think I know too much to hope.

White people are stupid.

Talk about living in a self-created bubble. You can't blame it all on the media! In this way, Trump and most white people deserve each other. I shudder to think what a "new improved" Trump-like candidate might look like. Because there will be one -- the "market" will demand it.

Gerald Parks said...

The difference between prepared to be POTUS by decades of public service and freak show winner of the "deep" bench GOP/Republican clown car wannabes could not be more clear!
Does anyone believe that another two "debates" will show US(America) a different veiw?

Phil Freeman said...

Last night was very good for Clinton. The next debate, though, is gonna be bad news for her, because

1) It's a town hall format, which means the people of the land (you know, morons) will be the ones asking the questions, and there will be crowd interaction, which is Trump's thing, not Clinton's; also,

2) The press really, really fucking hates her, and collectively can't believe they had no choice but to declare her the winner last night and this morning, so they're gonna be gunning for her, hard.

Unknown said...

Clinton and Trump reminds me of a professor debating a child. No matter what she does, he will be declared the winner.

KenRight said...

All the ridicule of Euro-Americans here is based on two faith beliefs.
One is, whites can be pushed until they are a pronounced minority and still retain belief in a parliamentary loyal oppositional methodology of fighting back.
Two, is if they don't fight back successfully, a minority run national government can continue to function in a land with a prevailing lifestyle superior,to,say,Trenton NJ and thus please the effete who ridicule here.

Feud Turgidson said...

Phil Freeman - You are so wrong, it's possible you could not be more so.

1) The townhall-type debate the Commission has worked out is not 'morons screeching He's A A-rab' from the rafters. It's been tested out, and it works better than you can imagine. Questioners in the hall can submit written questions in advance, even up the when the first epithet is thrown up, and otherwise people can send their questions in by Twitter and text. The moderator team does a massive jobs in sifting thru the tsunami of questions searching for COHERENCE, ISSUE RELEVANCE & SUBSTANCE.

It was real-time tested in the Dem party's Florida primary and it worked wonderfully.

Now go back to those 3 things te moderators will be looking for, and ask yourself which one of HRC and DJT the questions will benefit.

2) I think you may be confusing the townhall concept with the call and response thug-in rallies Trump has been at the head of when he's not tweeting, calling in from the gold plated throne and attending debates. Trump has NEVER been in this sort of townhall, and has NEVER spoken extemporaneously to a hall that'll be 40% or more filled with registered Dems and 15-20% of independents. Trump rallies don't have any such 'mix': they have nothing but Trump supporters, whackos and people who get off on the political equivalent of a Motorhead concert. He can't connect with such a crowd.

In contrast, HRC has been on stage speaking in literally HUNDREDS of these babies, because that's the way the left and the Dem party roll. The folks who will be voting for her aren't in the least shy about challenging her at such functions, because that's how the Dem party comes together on policy and in primaries: actually hard questions asked in a challenging, civil and firm fashion.

Her advantages over him in THIS setting will prove GREATER than her advantages over him the single moderater style debate.

And no amount of boning up - which he's literally NEVER done in his life - practice - which he won't do anyway - and Rager Ailes zingers and ploys - which he has no discipline in adhering to, experience in delivering, inclination to accept or temperament to pull off - all to a 70 year old narcissist, mind - is going to overcome HRC's advantages.

If anything, this could be WORSE for him than the first debate.

Glennis said...

Jesus, justsomeguy, get over it already.

Glennis said...

What Feud Turgidson said. Trump has never been in a town-hall format debate, and furthermore, he doesn't do events where he speaks directly to individual questioners. Haranguing crowds, yes; thoughtfully and respectfully answering an individual's personalized question? No.

rclz said...

wasn't that a town hall where Trump disagreed (wrongly of course) with the woman who asked him what he was going to do about the 20 vets who kill themselves every day?