Thursday, September 01, 2016


Charles Blow of The New York Times noticed:
Donald Trump is the internet troll of presidential politics. When he’s securely removed from the objects of his scorn, he’s tough as nails; when he’s in their presence, he quivers like a bowl of Jell-O.

... Trump has spent the whole of his campaign maligning Mexican immigrants, people of “Mexican heritage” and the country of Mexico itself.

... And yet, when he made the quick decision to visit Mexico Wednesday and meet with that country’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump was much more contrite in his comments....
Joe Scarborough noticed:

WILLIE GEIST: ... for anyone who doubted it, for what he did in Mexico City, he went to Phoenix and said it about ten times: "One hundred percent, they will pay for the wall!"

SCARBOROUGH: Exactly! But he was just there a couple of hours earlier, and he had the guy in front of him across the table, and ... he choked! ... No, he choked! ... I can't stand people that choke under pressure!
And the Clinton campaign noticed:

This is a tough argument to make: You know that really bad idea Trump has? He doesn't have the guts to carry it out! It's like the old joke you might remember from Annie Hall: "The food is terrible!" "And such small portions!"

And yet: Could the Clinton campaign possibly persuade any angry white men that Trump might not be the tough guy he claims to be? Could she make the case that maybe he's a terrible person to have in negotiations if you like toughness, because his alleged toughness is all an act? Maybe if she attacks him this way persistently and the message catches on with other voters, or the media?

It could backfire, of course. It could suggest that he's not really that dangerous, and thus a vote for him isn't a big risk.

On the other hand, it could motivate him to want to prove his toughness by being even more hardcore, and thus even more alienating to voters in the middle. It could motivate him to question the advice of Ivanka and Jared and Kellyanne, and everyone else who tells him to "soften" and be more statesmanlike.

After last night's speech, of course, it's possible that he's through with the soft stuff. So there may not be much point in goading him to be the worst of his several awful selves.

But maybe it could work. I just can't tell.


Kenneth Fair said...

It all comes from having small ... hands, you see.

Victor said...

t-RUMP revels in being the biggest asshole and bully in the neighborhood.

If Hillary confronts him in a debate (if, IF, he decides to debate) , and he lashes out back at her, as long as SHE looks stateswomanlike, than I think she'll survive - after all, she survived Rick "The TEH STOOOOOOPID DICK" Lazio's invasion of her turf, making him look like the asshole he is, was, and evermore shall be.

But is she flinches, or decides to get into the sewer with him, then she will lose credibility.

I say, let him sink his own battleship!
He can't keep his vulgar yap shut, so make your issues points, Hillary, stand back, and watch him self-immolate.

Maybe if we're all lucky, he'll get so angry, that he'll be one of those people who spontaneously combust.

And if not, he'll show his true colors (white, and light-beige).

Ten Bears said...


W. Hackwhacker said...

I think the goading angle (poking him with a sharp stick where he takes pride in himself most -- his business negotiating skillz) is spot on. Sen. Warren, when she tweeted about him stealing other people's money was onto the same thing. Trump just can't help but strike back and, doing so, look petty and defensive.

CF2K said...

I'm with TB and WH on this. A textbook bully demands a textbook response.

KenRight said...

On the slim chance she gets past Trump he will damage her so badly, she'll never get past Putin.

Dark Avenger said...

Ken, it is 99.44% that Trump will have his ass handed to him by the time the debate ends. But keep acting like Pu
Tin is some sort of,mastermind.

After all he does pay your salary, doesn't he?

CF2K said...

I guess I missed the part where Putin running for President of the United States. Or maybe KenRight's post just makes zero sense.

Steve M. said...

Or maybe KenRight's post just makes zero sense.

That's generally the case.

mlbxxxxxx said...

I feel very unsettled about the right way forward for HRC and am soooo glad I'm not having to make campaign strategy just now. My gut says that HRC herself should play it as straight as possible and leave taunts to others. It strikes me that she has lots of problems of her own right now as she appears to be losing ground. I don't know how she can do it but she needs badly to staunch the steady flow of email/foundation stories. Based on what I read, the tightening in the polls is about her losing, not him gaining. I guess that's some small comfort but she clearly has some ongoing problems that aren't getting any better. It's giving me the willies.

Nanute said...

Is that you, Donald?

Steve M. said...

Unknown's spam deleted.

CF2K said...

On NPR this evening, E.J. Dionne gave this approach a thumbs-up. Interesting.