Trump is a never-ending story. Who in their right mind would ever tune in to see and hear Hillary? Trump on the other hand is interesting. That is one reason why I think he will win. But being interesting has its drawbacks. You have to talk as do ordinary people. And sometimes ordinary people say things they shouldn’t. Those of you who have ever been drunk know too well what I mean. But even short of inebriation we all fall foul of high standards of civility at times.
Take this erstwhile fat Latino chick (oops! Sorry), Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado from Venezuela, who is attacking Trump allegedly because he made certain derogatory remarks about her weight twenty years’ ago. I have no idea whether, in fact, he referred to her as Miss Piggy as she claims and, if he did, to whom and how loudly. He may not have said this at all. The lady in question seems to have had a chequered past and might be making it up. But would you be irritated if you were running a beauty pageant and the winner with a calendar of subsequent appearances to fulfil proceeded to get fat?
OK, if you are a man, you might be struggling with the sheer sexism of considering a woman’s weight. And, moreover, you know what dangerous territory it is. So, switch topic and subject. Suppose you are a flamboyant boxing promoter who sets up a tournament to find the next new contender. A winner emerges and the schedule of fights towards the big pay-off is set in motion. Subsequently your prize-fighter spends most days not in the gym but on his couch eating chips and drinking beer. Oh dear, you might say, you are being a naughty boy.
Steve Kates wrote an excellent piece on the great debate and I don’t want to go over his ground. I don’t know who won. I don’t even know how to tell who won. We all see what we want to see.
There are some people apparently who are undecided and can be persuaded to shift one way or the other at the drop of a hat. A drop of a hat might be Trump sniffing or Hillary shimmying while grinning. I found both annoying. However, while Trump was clearly unconscious of the effect he was having on his microphone during the early part of the debate, Hillary’s display looked as though it had been choreographed beforehand. Let me admit to being hopelessly biased and finding Hillary’s grinning demeanour insufferable rather than merely annoying.
One thing stood out. Under the guidance of the moderator, NBC News anchor Lester Holt, the debate was largely a staged event to shield Hillary and get Trump. When Holt brought up the so-called birther issue and premised a question with his own debatable fact that Trump had changed his mind about the Iraq war, they were illustrative of two things. First, this was largely to be a policy free zone; and, second, omission of inconvenient subject matter being a well-practiced technique of the left, it was to be a Hillary-scandal free zone. There was to be no Holt-initiated talk of Benghazi, or of Libya, or of the Russian reset, or of emails, or of the Clinton Foundation, or of what she said to Wall Street bankers, or of dodging imaginary bullets in Bosnia.
As complete by the way, can anyone tell me why querying where someone is born is racist? I seem to recall questions about the birthright of Cruz to run for president. Is that racist too? I suppose it is, after all, his heritage is Cuban. It is only not racist if the birthright of a white man is queried. I would also emphasize ‘man’ because if a white woman’s birthright were queried, while it would not be racist, it would most definitely be sexist.
Conservative criticisms of Trump’s performance focus on the things he should have brought up and didn’t and on him being too easily tangled in the weeds of his own affairs in responding to Clinton’s well-rehearsed personal barbs. I think he should practice doing something about this second line of criticism in the next debate. As to the first; so far I must have counted up twenty or thirty things conservatives have said he should have said. He can do better obviously; perhaps, by making list of, say, five things he must bring up one way or another. But, it is impossible to say everything. A debate takes on a life of its own and to a large extent you have to go with the flow.
Maybe Trump can use his opening statement to good effect. And start it with something like this:
“I am not going to dwell this evening on the messes Secretary Clinton has helped create in Iraq, in Syria and in Libya, or on her role in beginning the disastrous and demeaning Iranian deal, or on the pay-for-play corruption of the Clinton foundation, or on the tragedy of Benghazi and the lies which followed, including to the bereaved parents of those needlessly killed, or on the extremely careless handling of classified information on her home server and the lies which followed, or on the destruction of some thirty thousand emails subpoenaed by congress and the lies which followed. I think the American people are already sufficiently aware of Secretary Clinton’s record. This evening I want to talk about my policies to put America and Americans first.”
Just a thought from a non-expert when it comes to debates. Mind you, I’ve had many a to and fro with companions after a few glasses in earlier years. I suspect I might even have said a few a few uncivil words, though perhaps not with quite the abandon of Trump. But before we get all precious, Churchill’s reputation remains intact despite verbal indiscretions, real or made up. When tackled for being drunk by Labour MP Bessie Braddock – who I can personally attest (she was from my home town of Liverpool) would not have won a Miss Universe contest – he reportedly replied to the effect that, yes, he was drunk but would be sober in the morning while she would still be ugly. I haven’t heard that Trump has said anything quite so cutting and unkind. So let’s give him a break and concentrate on his policies which might work to produce a better America and better world, as compared with Hillary’s which won’t.