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What We Learned This Week About Donald Trump

September 28, 2016

The main thing we have learned this week is that no matter what some campaign operative try to tell us the fact is there is only one real Donald Trump.  We saw that real person not only on the debate stage but also on full display Tuesday as he continued his usual style of bombastic and awful behavior.

Instead of recognizing what all the nation knows–that Trump soundly lost the debate–Trump claimed that he won.  Then in the same breath he complained about the moderator, the questions, and even the microphone he used at his podium.

Hillary Clinton had to remind him that winners don’t complain about the equipment.

What was most telling about who Trump really is comes down to how easy it was to get under his orange skin and make him act out in a rash manner.  Clinton brought up a former Miss Universe whom Trump had attacked for gaining weight. Unsavory as his words were at the time (now about 20 years ago) and taking the politically mature road and leave the issue alone he latched onto it and made it the day’s headlines.   Simply horrifying to those few people in his campaign with any sense of what is actually required to run a general election for president.

What we learned this week is that Clinton did her homework and in the end was a powerhouse on the debate stage by setting the trap for Trump and then smiling as he walked directly into it.  It only took a few buttons to be pressed and the bizarre and unstable and untethered being known as Donald Trump looked like a man off his meds.

If that is all it takes to me Trump lose his common sense exactly how would he plan to deal with world leaders?

Some have argued–as I did–that there were parts of the debate where he was able to score points such as over trade.  So there was a way for the campaign to then claim in some way they scored a partial victory.  But with Trump being exactly the type of person we all know him to be he turned it into a solid loss.

Thanks to Clinton.

Paul Ryan Missed His Moment Of Truth

September 27, 2016

I have given Speaker of the House Paul Ryan some wiggle room this year for walking the tightrope of being a leader of his party while also trying to be supportive of a failed presidential nominee.  One can appreciate the almost painful requirements of what he has had to do up to this point.

But then came the first presidential debate where every American voter who paid attention knew deep in their gut that what was presented to the nation was simply appalling.  No one would second guess or condemn any person regardless of their rank in the party to state the obvious.

That being Donald Trump is a most dangerous and messed up presidential nominee.

But Ryan refuses to take the public stand that so many others around the nation did either on Facebook, at the workplace cafeteria, or with the buddy over the backyard fence.

During a CNN interview Ryan stated that “I think this debate, I think people, met their expectations, and I think Hillary gave a very polished, well-rehearsed status quo defense and I think Donald Trump gave a unique Donald Trump response to the status quo.”

There is no way Ryan is describing the same debate that perhaps nearly 80 million citizens viewed.  And therein lies one of the problems that so many Americans have with our political process.

Even when it was as clear as the midday sun that Trump was not prepared even to debate his opponent let alone sit in the Oval Office the third most important person in our system of government pretends that a political whitewash will make people think otherwise.

I want to believe that at the heart of every person there exists a set of principles that play into his or her actions in life.  So with that in mind it unnerves me to consider what Trump would have to do or say to make the third in line for the White House to express something other than meaningless pablum.

Weaseling out of confronting the truth about Trump does not make Ryan more credible when it comes to the weighty issues of budgets and policy.  Instead it makes Ryan resemble just another pitiful political figure who might make for a character in an Allen Drury novel.

I know in sports, from to time, after a most dreadful outcome a coach approaches the media with gut honesty and says something to the effect that ‘we were shellacked’.   How is it that when it really matters with our political process the lack of candor and honesty can be so far removed?

I am not asking Ryan to undermine his party, or throw the election away without a fight.  Lord knows there are some tough races in his own caucus that requires his attention.  But I really would appreciate some candor from a Midwesterner who knows better than to deny the obvious.

Is that too much to ask?

Another Way To Gauge The Debate Winner

September 27, 2016
As investors chalked up the debate as a win for Hillary Clinton—seen as the more stable candidate—the Mexican peso jumped almost 2% and the S&P 500 was up 0.6% in after-hours trading. The Canadian dollar strengthened from its weakest level since March in a signal that investors think Clinton could win the election. As I post this the Dow Jones is up 137 points.
The markets know what is best for national interests.

Donald Trump Attacks Another Woman–This Time Over Weight Issues

September 27, 2016

When you are in a hole just stop digging.  Lest Trump forgot the mission now is to attract voters to his campaign……

Donald Trump pushed back against criticism he received from Hillary Clinton during last night’s debate regarding his treatment of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, saying “she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”

Trump made his remarks on “Fox and Friends” this morning in response to Clinton pointing out that Trump called Machado “Miss Piggy” while berating the Republican nominee’s overall treatment of women.

“She was the winner, and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem,” Trump said of Machado. “We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her.”

Trump spoke about Machado’s appearance today while answering a question about whether or not Clinton had gotten under his skin. He said that she hadn’t done so, and went on to describe Machado as “the worst we ever had,” a reference to Miss Universe winners.

Machado, while representing Venezuela, competed and won Miss Universe in 1996 when she was 19 years old. She gained weight after winning the competition, and accused Trump of humiliating her based upon her appearance shortly thereafter.

After Miss Universe, she acted in international soap operas and had a brief stint promoting a weight loss product. She appeared in a 2006 edition of Mexican Playboy.

She became a U.S. citizen in May of 2016, and has become a supporter of Clinton.

Nation Scorns Donald Trump For Ridiculous Debate Performance

September 27, 2016

This array of commentary says everything we need to know about what Donald Trump did to himself and the Republican Party last night.  I would be smiling about this if I was not so sad that my country has been so thoroughly embarrassed around the globe by this Republican nominee.

Glenn Thrush: “Trump is supposed to be the big meanie but it was Clinton who hit him where it hurt most. It doesn’t take a Jung (or even Dr. Phil after a couple of Bud Lights) to figure out that the GOP nominee – who boasts like a barfly – just might be over-compensating. Hence, Clinton, who started the debate a little tentatively, quickly launched into a carefully planned program of Freudian mind-games, contrasting her own middle-class businessman dad (who had his own issues) with Trump’s imperious, larger-than-life father Fred who launched his son’s business career but also was said to be extremely tough on him.”

Dan Drezner: “This will be short and sweet. Hillary Clinton wiped the floor with Donald Trump in the first presidential debate Monday night. But it was the way in which she wiped the floor with him that was so interesting.”

Andrew Sullivan: “Clinton was not great at times; her language was occasionally stilted; she missed some obvious moments to go in for the kill; but she was solid and reassuring and composed… I’ve been a nervous wreck these past two weeks; my nerves are calmed now.”

Jonathan Chait: “The contrast between an obviously and eminently qualified public servant and a ranting bully was as stark as any presidential debate in American history.”

Ross Douthat: “More, as ever in this campaign, he showed no ability to evade or duck or simply retreat on issues — his business dealings and his taxes, birtherism and racism — where long Trumpish answers make things only worse.”

Nate Silver: “My editor tells me that readers want my subjective impressions of the debate, knowing full well that they’re subjective. And my impressions are that Clinton became a more plausible president tonight and Trump became a less plausible one.”

Ezra Klein: “The first presidential debate featured a man who didn’t know what he was talking about repeatedly shouting over a woman who was extraordinarily prepared.”

Chris Cillizza: “This was a clear win for her on virtually every front.”

Donald Trump Supporters Have No Reason To Smile Anymore

September 27, 2016

Totally embarrassing is the best summation for Donald Trump’s performance last night.

John Podhoretz writes one of the best reads this morning.

By the end of the 95 minutes, Trump was reduced to a sputtering mess blathering about Rosie O’Donnell and about how he hasn’t yet said the mean things about Hillary that he is thinking. Most important, he set ticking time bombs for himself over the next six weeks.

As she hammered him on his tax returns, he handed her an inestimable gift by basically saying he pays no federal taxes despite his billions — and moreover, that if he had done so, it would have been ‘squandered’ anyway.

That’s not going to go away, nor is her suggestion that his refusal to release his returns is the result of his either not being as rich as he says or not being as charitable as he claims.

Random Thoughts On A Most Unusual Presidential Debate

September 26, 2016

When a freshman in high school I recall the assignment of  watching the presidential debate between President Ford and challenger Jimmy Carter.  The line which rattled so many the following day was the President’s upside down statement that “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”

Everyone knew that it was a slip of the tongue–and a large one at that.  It rattled many since it was made on live television with a large audience just ahead of a national election.  But after watching thy most pathetic and embarrassing display of shameless ignorance from Donald Trump in Monday night’s presidential debate I can only wonder what Gerald Ford would say.

Over the decades I have watched all the debates with Republican nominees from Reagan, the Bushs, Dole, Romney and then tonight the bragging, impulsive, counterpunching, big-mouthed Trump.  I have had differing policy viewpoints with past nominees but never have I witnessed such a chasm between a candidate and facts.  Never have I witnessed such boorish behavior in a general election debate.  Even when Trump was not speaking the camera allowed the nation to see his rude facial expressions.  He did not seem to posses self-control of any kind.

One odd thought kept going through my head as the debate continued.  Why was Trump breathing in hard through his nose over the 90 minutes.  Was it some sort of trick for keeping his words trimmed or not to lash out in some crazy fashion?  It could not be a cold, right?  After all Trump told Dr. Oz only a couple of weeks ago that he almost never gets colds and hasn’t had one in years.  Right?

I will give Trump credit for some debate skills such as when he was asked by moderator Lester Holt about how the economy is now improving, but the candidate instead turned his answer about jobs going to Mexico.   I consider his answers about trade to be his highlight and best moment from the debate.  He was able to pin Clinton down on her change of view regarding TPP.

By his own admission he did not commit time to mock debates or reading briefing books–and it showed–but even his detractors need to cede the point that Trump was definitely prepared for the trade issue.  I do not live in Ohio but I suspect that a person who is angry over free trade, or lives in a place affected by it, felt that Trump expressed how they feel.  But in real terms all that probably does not matter as they were already voting for the GOP candidate.  In contrast I did not think Clinton debated the trade point with any specifies or rebutted in a way to undermine his views.

One has to wonder how the middle class voter across America evaluates the fact that Trump received a large amount of money from his father to start a business or that the billionaire rooted for the housing crisis so to make money.  One has to wonder how the hard-working taxpaying citizen views a billionaire who proudly finds ways to avoid paying taxes.  “That makes me smart,” Trump said.  That was a most audacious statement.  And then there was his admitting to stiffing a small-business man from the money he was owed.

This was not in any way like the first debate I watched in 1976!

I know there was speculation about how much Clinton would–or should–pounce on the factually incorrect statements from Trump.  I will admit to being rather perplexed about the number of times Clinton did not push back harder when he got things wrong.  I know this was a calculated decision from the campaign but I wanted a more robust rebuttal to Trump’s lack of substance and his continual wrong statements.

The best line of the night was after Trump criticized Clinton for preparing for the debate. Clinton pounced back by saying it was a good thing that she was preparing to be president.  (And cue the applause.)

Finally, I was not sure if a large pan of brownies would have been the best item to be served for the debate or to eat my way through the bombast with lasagna.  In the end it was pasta and French bread.

But after what I witnessed I really should learn to drink.

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