Thursday, October 06, 2016


We all know that Mike Pence spend Tuesday evening trying to gaslight the American electorate. He told us that he and Donald Trump had never said things we can easily prove they said. He told us that his ticket unreservedly supports NATO and opposes Vladimir Putin. And he claimed that Trump hasn't run a campaign of insults.

Pence and Trump seem to think we're stupid. But if that's the case, it appears that at least one right-wing commentator thinks conservatives are equally stupid.

I direct your attention to the latest column by Monica Crowley, a former Nixon aide who now works for The Washington Times. Writing for an almost exclusively right-wing audience, Crowley asserts that Donald Trump was the soul of decency and politeness in his first debate with Hillary Clinton. If I'm reading Crowley correctly, she's telling her GOP-base audience that Trump didn't utter a single harsh word in that debate:
One of the biggest ironies of the first presidential debate is that Donald Trump’s reluctance to aggressively attack Hillary Clinton has now given him the license to fully do so.

Going into the debate -- his debut on the world’s biggest stage -- everyone, including his closest aides, was telling him that he must achieve plausibility: That is, he needed to reassure voters by looking reasonable, confident and self-possessed. If he were able to demonstrate an even temperament and basic command of the issues, voters could picture him behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office -- and Mrs. Clinton’s negative ads about his unfitness would melt away.

Mr. Trump took his marching orders seriously and pulled his punches, at one point even acknowledging his self-restraint: “I was going to say something really rough about Hillary and her family, but I told myself it was not nice. But she spent tons of money on horrible ads about me, and I’ve spent virtually nothing.”
No, really, she wrote that. She wrote the phrase "Donald Trump’s reluctance to aggressively attack Hillary Clinton" in all seriousness. She wrote that Trump "pulled his punches."

Crowley also argues that Trump would have done much better if he'd responded to some of what she describes as Hillary Clinton's "abuse." This is an interesting counterfactual -- imagine if he'd said some of these things in the first debate:
On the birther controversy: “Why are we even discussing the birther issue? Your team started it eight years ago when you ran against President Obama....”
Yes, imagine if he'd said something like this:
LESTER HOLT:... The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You've continued to tell the story and question the president's legitimacy in 2012, '13, '14, '15...

TRUMP: Yeah.

HOLT: .... as recently as January. So the question is, what changed your mind?

TRUMP: ... Secretary Clinton also fought it. I mean, you know -- now, everybody in mainstream is going to say, oh, that's not true. Look, it's true. Sidney Blumenthal sent a reporter -- you just have to take a look at CNN, the last week, the interview with your [Clinton's] former campaign manager. And she was involved.
Oh, wait -- he did say that. He did accuse the Clinton campaign of pushing birtherism.

Another zinger suggested by Crowley:
On cybersecurity: “Great question. Maybe Mrs. Clinton would like to comment on the 33,000 emails she deleted with BleachBit, or why she deliberately endangered our nation’s most sensitive national security secrets by installing a private, unsecure, nongovernment server in the first place. Does anyone in the audience at home think what she did is OK? Think about it, folks: If you did that at your job, wouldn’t you get fired?”
Yes, imagine if Trump had said that -- or maybe said this:
TRUMP: ... I will release my tax returns -- against my lawyer's wishes -- when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release....

Let her release the e-mails. Why did she delete 33,000...

... When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they're not prosecuted, when you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it's disgraceful. And believe me, this country thinks it's -- really thinks it's disgraceful, also.
Oh, he said that too.

Another proposed Crowley gotcha:
On his personal and corporate history: “Bankruptcies? Inherited wealth? Very funny, I took out a loan 45 years ago and turned it into a multibillion dollar company...."
Yeah, Trump didn't say anything like that ... except maybe this:
TRUMP: ... my father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that's worth many, many billions of dollars, with some of the greatest assets in the world, and I say that only because that's the kind of thinking that our country needs.
Crowley really believes her audience will accept the notion that Trump didn't say any of these things, even though most of her readers heard him say all this in real time. This could very easily become right-wing conventional wisdom after a Trump defeat: He could have won, but he was too polite to really take it to her.

That's how the right operates. Conservatives really might decide that Trump sabotaged the GOP's chances this year by being too nice.


CF2K said...

Since Reagan, in for a penny, in for a pound. And the fact that it seems to have run its course with the general electorate doesn't mean it isn't still effective for keeping the troops in line.

nancydrew said...

I'll never forgive John McLaughlin for giving us the likes of Monica Crowley and her many descendants. Poor Eleanor had to endure sitting on the set of The McLaughlin Group with her, listening to Crowley's haughty Conservawise Woman BS. Bad times.

Jimbo said...

And the 33,000 deleted emails has been debunked many times. See the Comey testimaony.

Victor said...

I blame Mr. Ed.

When that horse passed away, he should never have bequeathed his teeth to her!

KenRight said...

I certainly hope "he was too nice or he could have won" doesn't become the be- all theme after a rigged loss. It is too weak on its own. The "win" must be contested and the status of the Clinton presidency must be belittled and questioned as much as Clinton belittled Sanders supporters and Trump supporters combined. We don't want the Pence conservatives to retake the party, we want something more ....vibrant.

Yastreblyansky said...

I was going to say something really nasty about the quality of Monica Crowley's intellect, to the effect that she's one of the stupidest people in the news media, but now I've though better of it and I'll just keep my mouth shut.

Don't thank me, Monica, that's just the kind of sweet guy I am.

Green Eagle said...

"Maybe Mrs. Clinton would like to comment on the 33,000 emails she deleted with BleachBit...Does anyone in the audience at home think what she did is OK? Think about it, folks: If you did that at your job, wouldn’t you get fired?”

I wonder if she is speaking to an audience which is so ancient that they haven't had a job since the internet was invented. Does she actually think that people retain every single e-mail they are ever sent, from now until the end of the world? I delete work e-mails practically every day, when they have been dealt with, and I'm sure everyone else with a job does too.If I didn't, I'd need a laptop with a hard drive the size of one of Jupiter's smaller moons. Come on, lady, grow up.

mathguy said...

Crowley's the moron that tweeted a picture of herself standing in front of the Berlin Wall, saying "See, walls can work!"

Dark Avenger said...

Ken Hoops, believing Trump was a nice guy at the debate demonstrates either stupidity, or that you're being paid to troll here for your butt-buddy Putin.

Which one is it?

KenRight said...

We're talking past each other here, this is kind of a low testosterone area where Trump is a "sexist pig." Meaning most white American males are sexist pigs since they are going to vote for him. Meaning 61% of all Russians are sexist pigs.

polls show that Russians are overwhelmingly opposed to having a woman as president.(

Luckily, I do not believe in universalist cultural "ethics."

Ok said...


Don't worry about Trump contesting the election. I guarantee he will litigate the results to the gates of Hell. I know Al Gore, he's no Al Gore.