trump clinton
This is the first debate I've watched since the first Obama debate back in 2008. I tuned in to be entertained more than informed. I have to say I was a little bit disappointed in Trump - he tossed out a couple of minor zingers but seemed to be really holding back. Perhaps he is following the "American TV model" where the first episode or two in a season are usually really suspenseful and draw you in, the middle of the season is often tangential standalones that are rather boring, and the finale brings it all to a climactic clash. Perhaps he's luring Clinton into a false sense of security and he's really going to make a media splash at the "season finale" of the presidential campaign that will stick with everyone, and which will be harder for her to redirect. Outside of that or someone strong-arming him to shut up, it really seemed like he wasn't all there.

Overall this debate seemed like a draw, with both Trump and Hillary mainly doing "fan service" without getting into a real debate outside of their respective boxes. We had a sort of watered-down Trump trying to keep his angry unemployed people roused up without whipping them into a fervor, and Clinton recycling the same old yuppified pseudo-intellectual social equality/great society stuff that the so-called intelligentsia of the nation loves to slurp down. If you weren't already in one of these two camps, I don't see where there was anything of substance said that would sway your opinion, which is nothing new with these so-called "debates."

So anyway, here are some of the main points of the debate that stuck with me:

Trump's eye-rolling made me giggle once or twice. Trump would nod in agreement when Hillary was saying something somewhat reasonable, and then he would look at her with those squinty "get real" eyes when she started rehearsing her paramoralistic reasoning or just outright lies. While he was doing this, he would occasionally glance back at the camera with this face like, "You getting all of this?" It was probably the most entertaining aspect of the entire thing. Trump gets a point there just for making me laugh.

The economic discussion of the debate was pretty weak, which is par for the course in American 'info-tainment'. Hillary really got him on his "trumped up trickle-down" proposal. Other than some nebulous idea about taxing industries that outsource, or reintroducing some types of tariff, Trump sounded pretty much like a run-of-the-mill, red-blooded Republican on this point. Every intelligent person who is not in Hillary's camp knows that trickle-down doesn't work, and Hilary might've scored a point there. Hillary's proposal was no better, and Trump called her on NAFTA, TPP and Solyndra, but Hillary's criticism of Trump's proposal came across as more intellectually suave. Those who have really studied NAFTA and TPP might conclude that Trump was the lesser evil, but as usual, what was explained in the debate itself really had no substance.

Hillary made Trump look like a bit of an idiot on the tax return and the Birther issue. While Trump did give a clever retort that he would release his tax return when Hillary released her emails, when the moderator said "So it's open to negotiation" and Trump said "No it's not," one really has to doubt his sincerity. It just looks like two crooks giving each other the wink and nod because each knows that the other would never release their secrets willingly. Furthermore, Hillary accused his businesses of not having to pay taxes some years, and Trump basically said, "That's because I'm smart." While some of the oligarch class that he hangs out with may appreciate this sort of thinking, I don't think it helped him any with the general public. While Trump did reiterate that Hillary was a party to the whole Birther debate in her campaign against Obama, he really bungled his response on how he got into and out of it. The moderator helped Hillary here by refusing to acknowledge this and trying to change the subject several times as it transitioned into foreign policy. Once again Hillary comes across as more intellectually suave and probably scores a grubby point out of that mess.

Foreign policy has probably always been Trump's strongest point, and he did a pretty good job of discrediting Hillary by saying she had 30 years of bad experience and that she created the Middle East as it is now; if she was so competent why did she mess up every country she touched? This was difficult for Hillary to refute directly and she did make her one major slip during this segment. She accused Trump of allowing the Russians to hack the DNC and US entities because he thought so highly of Vladimir Putin. A totally unfounded and outrageous thing to say and I expected Trump to pounce on it, but he missed his chance. In his rebuttal he just said that she couldn't prove that, it could've been the Russians, but she doesn't really know. The fact that Donald Trump just let that one go with a cool dismissal suggests he was holding back for some reason, but as I stated earlier, I'm not sure exactly why. Trump gets a point there, but it could've been something of a knockout punch, at least for those who enjoy his bombastic style.

Another similar episode occurred when the moderator asked Trump why he said she was unqualified because she didn't have the presidential "look." Trump said that was wrong, that he was said stamina instead of "look." (He said "presidential look".) At any rate, I expected him to say something mildly off the wall about her fainting in NYC because it was such easy low-hanging fruit to pluck, but he steered clear. Hillary was able to parry with some nonsense about being a woman presidential nominee and all of the diplomatic negotiations she attended around the world and Trump ended up looking a bit dumb.

The final question about accepting the results of the election to me was clearly a loaded question designed by the moderator to ensnare Trump. If Trump says yes, he looks like he is rolling back on his "maverick" status and accepting subservience to the status quo. If he says no, the MSM can easily paint him as some type of dictator or Hitler who will do anything to get power no matter what (like Hillary). What he should've said is something like, "As you know, I have some concern about the integrity of the voting machines, as I have discussed in the past, however I will accept and answer to the will of the American people." Instead, as often happens with him, his massive ego gets in the way and he tries to sidestep the question by prattling on about how he's going to make America great again. It seems to me that he wants to say no, but ends up saying yes to save face, because he realizes too late that the moderator is trying to set him up, but isn't quite smart enough to know how to deal with it. He ends up falling into the trap, but only partially. Instead of the mousetrap snapping his head off, only his tail is caught in it for the time being.

In analyzing this debate, it is clear that Hillary has a lot slicker presentation than Trump. Her "30 years of bad experience", as Trump puts it, have cemented her skills as a professional liar, and if you are just following along on a superficial level, she seems more intelligent and capable. The moderator clearly designed the debate to showcase that. So I would agree with some MSM commentators that Hillary won on that level, but she's so evil, that even there she didn't win by much. Other than that, anyone who has done any objective background research on the issues know that Hillary is a liar and relies solely on redirection and obfuscation to hide some pretty serious skeletons in her closet. Trump by his very nature as a businessman, whether he is a good one or not, and has to deal with the "real world" to some degree, whereas Hillary is thoroughly ensconced in her politically-correct, psychopathic 'bubble reality'. A lot of people who have to deal with the real world recognize this and it's really hard for Trump to lose on substance even if he lacks substance, because Hillary is pretty much a total phantasm. It's easy for Trump to hold on to that base, but he could do a lot better if he wasn't as dumb.

Bottom Line: This is a little like a bastardized American version of Perseus going after Medusa. You have a puffed up arrogant hero of average intelligence going up against a conniving serpent who is moderately senile. Who is going to win? And what is Perseus going to do if/when he gets Medusa's head and comes back to rule the kingdom? It sounds like this version is going to be more tragic than the original.

On a related subject, I've come to the conclusion that, in a twisted sort of way, Killary is right about making this election all about Putin. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is fun to talk about, as she is the only sane one of the bunch, but she doesn't stand a chance because she is practically a nonentity thanks to the media ignoring her. With Killary, Putin pretty much knows what's going to happen: her course cannot be averted, and war will be escalated. She is a total psychopath with a thirst for blood.

From Putin's perspective, there might be a window with Trump. If he is truly the all-American businessman who may not be a complete psychopath but really only cares about his bottom line, perhaps Putin can use that to his advantage. If he can propose to Trump a few lucrative deals in Russia and friendly countries to fatten his wallet, perhaps he can convince him that running interference with NATO and the Pentagon would be in his best interest. Then Putin can set Trump up as some kind of great diplomat who is saving the world and invite him to all sorts of prestigious conferences to feed his narcissism when the truth is that Trump is doing it just to line his own pockets. Due to Trump's instability and somewhat idiotic character, this is unlikely to last long; the M-IC will either strong-arm him with promises of even greater riches or have him assassinated, but if it buys Putin more time to fortify his defenses, it would reduce Russian casualties in the inevitable confrontation.

I suppose that it is possible that if Trump were sufficiently deferential to Putin and followed his orders closely, Putin could protect him to a degree and use him as a tool to gradually defang the Neocon warhawks, whom he knows are his real enemy. Killary's worst nightmare of the evil Ruskies coming to take over America would be coming true, except the Russians would not be interested in conquering the country, but removing her and her psychopathic compatriots from the reigns of American power for a long time. Ideally Putin and Trump could stage something of a palace coup and make them irrelevant without firing a single shot by presenting "revelations" to the American people about what they really do, which would change their perceptions of the system. It is an existential threat to Clinton if Putin can "take over" Trump, which is why she so maniacally flips out about it every chance she gets.

It's quite the long shot, but it would be worth it from Putin's perspective as a way to potentially avoid WWIII. This will estrange Trump from some of the elites who do support him at the moment so I don't think it will work, or it will only be allowed to go so far, but I think this is more or less the scenario that worries a lot of the 'deep state' folks; that maybe Trump can be "turned to the light." Maybe, then, Putin is playing the role of Perseus and Trump is more like the shield...

Onwards to Round 2...