Posted by Curt on 4 October, 2016 at 4:12 pm. Be the first to comment!



In the first debate, Hillary stuck out her jaw on cybersecurity, the treatment of women, sermons on the need for restrained language, and talk about the shenanigans of the rich — and Trump passed on her e-mail scandals, her denigration of Bill’s women, her reckless smears like “deplorables,” and her pay-for-pay Clinton Foundation enrichment, obsessed instead with the irrelevant and insignificant.

In fact, the first presidential debate resembled the final scene out of the Caine Mutiny. Trump was melting down like the baited Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), in his convoluted wild-goose-chase defenses of his arcane business career. Watching it was as painful as it was for the admiral judges in the movie who saw fellow officer Queeg reduced to empty shouting about strawberries.

Hillary Clinton egged him on in the role of the know-it-all, conniver of the same movie, the smug lieutenant Tom Keefer (Fred MacMurray), who had goaded Queeg, playacted sophisticated and learned — but ultimately proved a vain, empty, and unattractive vessel.

In sum, conservative viewers tuned in, in hopes of seeing Trump as Bull Halsey, the heroic admiral of the Navy’s Third Fleet in WWII, and they got instead Hollywood’s Captain Queeg.

Trump’s detours de nihilo, the constant unanswered race/class/gender jabs by a haughty Hillary, and Trump’s addictions to broken-off phrases, and loud empty superlative adjectives (tremendous, awesome, great, and fantastic) won’t win him the necessary extra 3–4 percent of women, independents, and establishment Never Trump Republicans. Trump’s bragging that he has “properties” in your state or that he found a way to creatively account his way out of income taxes does not come off as synonymous with a plan to make you well off, too.

Moderator Lester Holt did what all mainstream debate moderators of a now corrupt profession customarily do: Before the debate he leaked that they might possibly be conservative, feigned fairness, and then reestablished his left-wing credentials by focusing solely on fact-checking Trump, so that he wouldn’t be targeted later by leftist elites whose pique could lead to temporary ostracism from the people and places Holt values.

So, of course, he audited Trump and exempted Clinton, as if Trump’s businesses were as overtly crooked as the play-for-pay Clinton syndicate, or Trump’s supposed insensitivities to a pampered beauty queen (with a checkered past) were morally equivalent to Hillary’s denigration of Bill’s women who had claimed sexual assault or her eerie post facto chortling over getting a defendant, accused of raping a 12-year-old girl, off with lesser charges.

Most newsreaders know little more than how to news read. So we should not have been surprised that Holt’s audits of Trump on the legality of stop-and-frisk, or Holt’s denial that violent crime was up, was about as accurate as Candy Crowley’s hijacking of the second 2012 debate to rewrite what Barack Obama said into what she thought he should have said. Trump, in fact, was right that his microphone did not work properly and right that the media was biased — but wrong that bringing any of that up mattered in analyses of his debate performance.

The Clinton debate formula should have been clear: Bait and prod Trump to go into egocentric rants about his businesses, or a beauty queen, or another non-story, and then let the moderator massage the playing field, and let Hillary fill in dead time with empty platitudes (we are all racists/we need more solar panels/the wealthy don’t pay their fair share), and unfunded promises, while pandering along race, class, and gender lines.

Trump has to find a way to blow apart that script — largely by repressing his ego and simply not talking about any of his businesses or going down into the Clinton muck. Period.

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