Tonight’s presidential debate was the first I ever actually watched. Although I missed the initial 15-20 minutes, I stuck with it until the end. Admittedly, it wasn’t easy. I found myself looking away from the screen and just listening, because both of their faces are so damn hard to look at for any length of time in high-definition.
This first debate between Trump and Clinton was…underwhelming. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. I was openly anticipating Clinton’s on-air death, so to be honest, it was a little anticlimactic. After weeks of speculation about Clinton’s health based on her frequent stumbling, coughing and passing out, she looked to be in surprisingly (disappointingly) good form.
Decked out in a communist red pantsuit only a 69-year old woman would wear, it appeared Clinton had been coached thoroughly by a K-Street PR firm, as evidenced by her notably forced smile and rock steadiness as she stood at the podium. Throughout most of the debate, she maintained a smug smirk of confidence that was as irritating as it was forced. At times, I wondered what kind of drugs she was on. Seriously, she must have been heavily medicated for this. She unashamedly read from notes carefully prepared for each question from the moderator, and even made a point of mentioning that she had spent time preparing for the debates, just like she is prepared to become the next POTUS. I suspect even that line had been written by some PR scumbag ahead of time.
Trump, on the other hand, appeared agitated. He was constantly shifting his body and couldn’t stand still as Hillary spoke. He never smiled. He often squinted and scanned the audience impatiently. His trademark hair was perched precariously, almost impossibly, on his head like a gold-plated cloud. He frequently swigged from a glass of water and licked his dry lips in what looked like a serious case of cottonmouth. Evidence of nervousness?
He lost several opportunities to really destroy Clinton, for example: on the subject of her secret server and email deletions, they weren’t a “mistake” as Hillary claimed, they were felony offenses! And when Clinton accused Trump of stiffing some of his contractors, he should have reminded everyone that Clinton’s votes in Congress and actions as Secretary of State have gotten Americans killed. And no mention at all of the Clinton Foundation?
Instead, Trump provided straightforward answers peppered with superfluous cheap shots and made some childish asides that I thought made him look petty. More than anything, he seemed to be “winging it” and appeared far less well prepared than Clinton. This may prove to have been the wrong approach, as it was for Obama when he debated Mitt Romney for the first time in 2012.
And unless I missed it, neither candidate mentioned Israel, nor how important Israel is to the U.S. They didn’t even argue over who was the better friend of Israel. I am sure that is coming, though. There are still two more debates on the schedule and plenty of time to grovel.
The ineffective moderator was barely able to do his job, and did not cover all the scheduled questions as both candidates habitually went over time, interrupted one another and generally chomped at the bit to verbally attack one another at every chance. That being said, the exchange was not as nasty as I suspected it might be. Still, the debate really showed the immensity of the egos we are dealing with here.
I thought there were an inordinate amount of questions to Trump designed to make him look bad, questions that forced him to explain himself, make excuses and generally keep him on his back foot throughout his time speaking. For example, the “birther” issue was raised, and it was framed as if only Trump had engaged in speculation about Obama’s birthplace, when Clinton had done the same in 2008. But what difference does it make? Even if Obama was born in Kenya, he was elected (twice), has been the president for the past eight years and now, fortunately, his reign of terror is coming to an end. The birther issue is old news and irrelevant. We need forward-looking perspectives and real solutions. The debate seemed to dwell too much on these kinds of trivialities, conveniently enabling the candidates to avoid saying anything of substance—a skill both Trump and Clinton excel at.
There were so many instances where neither candidate response was compelling. Clinton thinks the rich should pay more tax “to support the rest of America.” How about creating an environment in which Americans are encouraged and able to support themselves? Trump’s response leaned on the tired canard of “lowering taxes on rich people, because they will create more jobs.” This has already been tried and failed. These are not new ideas, they are not the kind of radically different ideas that are needed if America is to be prevented from becoming a third-world nation after the coming financial collapse. Above all, they demonstrate an utterly status quo mentality. I thought Trump did himself quite a disservice when he basically admitted to paying no income taxes “because I’m smart.” So I guess the rest of us working stiffs who pay income tax are morons?
I had expected Trump to wipe the floor with Clinton, but I felt he made a rather poor showing, while Clinton’s performance was much better than expected. Not great, just not as bad as I assumed (hoped) it would be.
Furthermore, I wondered if all the “health concerns” of the past months have actually been a ruse, intended to make her appearance in this first debate seem almost superhuman. I don’t trust any of these bastards, and I know they don’t care a whit about the American people. This is why we must be very skeptical about the bread and circuses we are presented with. For all we know, those were automatons on that stage and the whole thing was prerecorded. You can’t believe anything you see on the idiot box anymore.
The best thing about the debate was how many times I laughed out loud. It was one of the funniest spectacles I have seen in a while, not to mention the most cringe-worthy performance by two feckless bullshitters I have ever seen. True to form, Clinton came up with some bold and audacious lies, while many of Trump’s responses simply left me scratching my head in confusion.
More than anything, this debate reinforced my long-held belief that neither one of these sociopaths are the right choice for president. As I have said all along, no matter who is elected, America is in serious trouble. This debate proved that to me beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’m not sure I need to watch the other debates, but I might tune into the vice presidential candidate debate—I love a good cringe and I’m always up for a laugh.