Round Two

Tonight we have the second debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Before watching you might like to read Diplomad’s thoughts, which are generally the same as my own.

In response to anyone who is on the fainting couch over the latest peek into Donald Trump’s character, and can’t imagine how anyone could vote for such a man (and this includes some of my own friends and family), I will paraphrase my own comments, from an earlier thread:

There is not a single person (that I’m aware of, anyway) voting for Donald Trump who doesn’t already know that he is a deeply unattractive candidate. I’m not here to defend Donald Trump against the many valid criticisms that can be raised against him. He is in many ways a grotesque and unsophisticated man. He’s a vain and preening popinjay, an unlettered boor of low tastes, and far too prone to bullying and childish insults. We can now add juvenile sexual bluster to that list of shortcomings.

Sadly, however, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our next president. That’s it; it’s that simple. It’s a horrible choice to have to make, but to me, and to million of other Americans, the decision is painfully clear. No tasteless remarks the press may dig up between now and November will change it; the ickiness of Donald Trump is already fully “baked in”.

I, and millions of others, believe that for all of Donald Trump’s obvious faults, the focused and ruthless malevolence of the Clintons is by any measure worse — by orders of magnitude — and that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a catastrophe from which the traditional American nation, already gravely wounded, would never recover. That woman must never be president. She and her husband must never again wield the levers of political power in this nation.

If you are like many people I know in my deep-blue circle of friends and neighbors, you don’t agree with any of this, and the chance of persuading you otherwise is nil. We have, then, an intractable difference of opinion, and any conversation we might have about it will be completely unproductive.

All I can say at this point is: these are parlous times. You vote as your conscience demands, and I will do the same.


Post-debate note: Trump was strong, and punched hard. It was what he needed to do. He owned his lewd remarks. He rightly pointed out that the Clintons have no claim whatsoever to the moral high ground when it comes to treatment of women. The hot-mike tape will now recede into the distance. He also put the income-tax issue behind him with brusque effectiveness, and was cheered by the audience for saying that Hillary Clinton belongs in jail. (Which she does.)

This isn’t over yet.


  1. colinhutton says

    Outsiders barging into internal debates can cause resentment. My excuse (as an Australian) for doing so is summed up by how the WSJ is currently promoting itself in the print media here. It uses the slogan ‘American politics is everyone’s business’. True.
    Much of the current debate is focused on comparing the flawed characters of the two contestants, as evidenced by their past histories. It seems to me, however, that there is a distinction to be made which is not being clearly made; either by you or others that I am aware of.
    You deliver a devastating character assessment of Trump. But that is based on his behavior while a legitimately self-interested private citizen. Sure, you might not care to risk inviting him around for a dinner party at your place. However, I think you are (implicitly) too dismissive of the possibility that he is capable of acting quite differently as President. There is nothing in his past that suggests to me that he is a fool or is incapable of modifying his behavior.
    The case of HRC seems to me to be quite different. Her misdeeds were committed while acting in her capacity as an elected representative of the people or as a taxpayer-funded bureaucrat. As such she had an obligation not to put her own self-interests ahead of those of the nation. That she quite evidently did so makes her unfit for *any* public office. Were she to be elected President she would see that as final confirmation that she is above the law and her self-interest would continue to be pursued with impunity.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink
  2. Troy says

    Trump hit a grand slam. I don’t know if it will help him but it was sure to rejuvenate his base. If Clinton, Inc. is elected, I predict that you are gonna see a lot of debate about legitimacy. When you elect a traitor who sold a access for money and got away with it, you no longer have a functional republic couched in the rule of law.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Very good points, Colin. The implicit dismissiveness you mention, though, is not actually real — I think everyone supporting Mr. Trump’s candidacy is hoping that he will “step up” on a personal and behavioral level if elected.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  4. the one eyed man says

    Calling for the incarceration of your political opponent – which was roundly condemned by those who don’t get their “news” from Breitbart and Drudge – is something which is done in Russia, North Korea, and banana republics.

    After Trump loses, he can start a third party: the Banana Republicans.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink
  5. the one eyed man says

    Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that Clinton’s margin jumped from six to eleven points following the release of the tape.

    The two instant (albeit unreliable) polls following the debate both indicated a Clinton win. It is hard to see how his blustery, whiny, incoherent (I said the things on the tape because … ISIS? Huh?), downright weird (complaining that he wasn’t being asked about Hillary’s emails in an answer to a question from Anderson Cooper about Hillary’s emails?), and fact challenged (Mosul is in Syria? Who knew?) performance last night will do much to sway the eight voters who remain undecided.

    People are already voting. All Hillary has to do is run out the clock.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm,

    If I was an HRC supporter (as if …) and you were my friend from our high-school days, and if I was as confident of an HRC victory as the OEM is, I can’t imagine coming to your blog and telling you over and over again that you are backing a deplorable candidate who hasn’t a chance in hell of winning and, therefore, by implication, you are not only wrong but also a loser in the game of life. In my day, that was called “rubbing it in”.

    I can’t imagine anyone else here behaving like that either. What do you suppose your friend’s motivation is for acting like an ass?

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink
  7. JK says

    “Calling for the incarceration of your political opponent …”

    Did we watch the same debate?

    I thought he said to the effect, “I’ll call for a special prosecutor” which, to me at least indicates he’d, unlike his opponent, let the chips fall where the chips will.

    Or would, ordinarily.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:39 pm | Permalink
  8. JK says

    “and fact challenged (Mosul is in Syria? Who knew?)”

    Not really. Just like you Peter, Trump’s not himself military. But there’s a good reason Mosul rather than Syria ought be a subject in any ‘What should the US’ concentration (of the possible) be?’

    Retaking Mosul would rob Islamic State of the largest urban area under its control. Overrun by the group’s militants in June 2014, Mosul was a conquest that, more than any other, forced the world to take notice of this new, grave threat. It’s a city of 1 million and an economic hub that made the militant group vastly wealthier, thanks to the millions of dollars that it swiped from Mosul’s central bank branch. Mosul’s capture also gave Islamic State a materiel bonanza — rather than stand and fight, legions of Iraqi soldiers and police left behind their Kalashnikovs, U.S.-supplied Humvees and armored vehicles and fled.

    Or Peter, would you have the US by means of “other people’s children” make a battlefield challenge of Russian forces?

    The Russians you ought be aware, aren’t so much interested as yet in, fundamentally transforming [emphasis on trans] the makeup of its armed force.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:03 pm | Permalink
  9. Tina says

    (We’ve been out of town and busy with the real world so just now catching up. If we had stayed away 3 more days I would never have had to hear about some ancient tape-recording LOL but when I did, I remembered the time President Barack Obama embarrassed the whole country with something he read from a pre-written speech)

    In April 2012, sitting President Barack Obama, in the presence of his wife, gave a scripted speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, in which he made an anti-woman joke that was so vulgar that you could hear the intake of breath from the audience, Michelle looked stunned, and when laughter came it was nervous and faked. That joke is, to this day, on the white house website, and in the CSPAN video and CSPAN transcript. I wrote about it at the time on my blog – and I think only a handful of bloggers even mentioned it. The mainstream media and conservatives gave him a full pass.

    I was stunned that a sitting President would do such a thing in a scripted speech that was broadcast all over the world and became part of the official record. But apparently few others were. Including many who are pretending to be indignant about a private citizen’s off-air private conversation a squillion years ago.

    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:46 pm | Permalink
  10. I doubt there is an American male over the age of 10 who hasn’t discussed with his buddies, in graphic detail, what to do with pussy. The only possible exception that I can think of is Bill Clinton.

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:24 am | Permalink
  11. Whitewall says

    Henry, as I recall, that involved a great deal of lying about it.

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 6:48 am | Permalink
  12. Whitewall says

    “make the enemy live by his book of rules”. More Vichy Republicans feign outrage and hit the bricks like puppets. Meanwhile today, not ten years ago, super star and friend of the Obamas and HRC—Beyonce—has a current song known today by teens everywhere. The lyrics are written in this fine article by Heather MacDonald…

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink
  13. M says

    I would’ve supported McCarthy and the John Birch society in the 1950s, Goldwater in the 1960s, beating hippies at Kent State in the 1970s, Buchanan in the 1990s, and now I support Trump. Looking further back I would’ve been against women’s liberation, would’ve supported the south in the civil war (for reasons of states rights, not slavery). I’m not sure if I would’ve been in favor of the American Revolution (half of colonists supported the British).

    Be honest – if you’re alt right ideologically instead of as a passing fad, you would’ve been on the same side as me.

    Leftism is disorder and entropy. It can’t be fought using the tools of the left incrementally. It has to be imposed in a single stroke, usually by a strongman or military takeover.

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  14. JK says

    This time TheBigHenry, I’m figuring I don’t need no charmer-phrase ’cause Stein already included it;

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  15. The great chorus of outrage over Trump’s statements about pussy comprise just three groups of people: the phonies; the hypocrites; and the stupid f*cks.

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  16. JK says

    Heh heh, I maybe just now shouldn’ta changed my voter registration information. I could probably have voted “Chicago Style.”

    My DC House’s “local office guy” called to inform me their office records “do not reflect the same information as what we have on file for you”

    So I went down to the courthouse and requested the registrar “look me up” (took two forms of photo ID to even get in the door incidentally).

    Sure enough the clerk’s office had my physical address wrong. But that wasn’t what surprised everybody that happened to be there checking their own records.

    “Good Lord JK!” the clerk’s assistant croaked, “Your birth day and month are just like you said but the computer shows your year of birth as 1801!”

    *Don’t know what it portends but, the Clerk informed me “over twelve hundred” new voters had registered for the upcoming election.

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
  17. Bluefin Tuna says

    If someone had told me two years ago that I would be seriously contemplating a Presidential vote for Donald Trump, I would have laughed in his face and called him insane. A egomaniacal, unprincipled, and adulterous reality-TV star? Never in a million years.

    His last year of campaigning, though, has thoroughly impressed me (and I am not easily impressed by politicians). The Donald hasn’t cultivated many of the virtues, but he has courage, loyalty, and diligence in spades. You can’t say many other good things about the man, but he will fight back against his enemies no matter how much intimidation they employ, and he will never throw his friends and allies under the bus. That’s more than we got with the last 28 years of GOP nominees.

    I wouldn’t let him within 1,000 yards of my wife, but if I had to pick a Presidential candidate to watch my back in a barroom brawl, Mr. Trump would be the man.

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink
  18. BT,

    Hear, hear!

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
  19. Troy says

    [I’ve deleted your comment, Troy, for being beyond the bounds of civility. – MP ]

    Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

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