Special Edition in honor of Howard Beale
It looks like Trump did well enough (or Hillary did poorly enough) in Sunday’s debate that the RNC is unlikely to pursue replacing The Donald, whose wrath I’m guessing they’re struggling to neutralize at this juncture with both Senate and House majorities now at stake. So, it’s time for us looky-loos to sit back and wait for the next political IED to explode. Conventional wisdom and insider speculation hold that there will be October surprises from both camps, but I’m wondering if it even matters at this point.
Trump has become so adept at lowering the bar for himself AND WHAT TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE NOW AND WILL HENCEFORTH BE WILLING TO ACCEPT IN A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE that I think, on Sunday, he could have dropped his pants, mooned the cameras, and dropped a load on Martha Raddatz’s notes with the end result being, after a 24-hour news cycle of shock and awe, a 5% spike in his poll numbers.
I know, I know. Nate Silver and every other pollster says Hillary’s gonna win big, but to me that’s not even the issue anymore. Her campaign, the press, the GOP, and, for that matter, every nationally-elected official with an ounce of self-respect, should have gone for the kill after last Friday’s revelations — but they didn’t. Sure, a few panicky Republicans like McCain finally did what their consciences told them they should have done months earlier, but even these celebrated reactions were largely motivated by the saving of political skin, not by true moral outrage, and certainly not by true moral courage.
And then there’s Hillary. Not only did she fail to go for the throat in the opening minutes during her wide-open window of opportunity, she let Trump, abetted by his four plants in the peanut gallery, run the very conversation the nation had tuned in to watch, a conversation he swiftly and summarily shut down with a highlight reel of his Friday night “apology,” featuring the lame throwaway about “locker room talk” and an allusion to Bill’s “much worse” sexual abuses. (Sorry, Donald, there’s no moral equivalency here; Bill’s not running for office, you are.)
At the outset of the debate, Hillary broke with protocol and made a quiet but courageous statement by tactfully refusing to shake Trump’s hand. But by grabbing it in a perfunctory act of mock civility at the end — after he had threatened, Gestapo-style, in front of sixty-five-million Americans, to set the wheels in motion to lock her up the minute he set foot in the Oval Office — she effectively trivialized the preceding ninety minutes, turning them into business as usual, no big whoop. Worse, her acquiescence granted her opponent license to strut off with a self-satisfied smile, no doubt having convinced himself and countless viewers that it had been his political acumen, moral righteousness, and personal charm that had brought her around.
According to the pundits, Hillary may have “won” Debate Number Two, despite the subterranean expectations of her rival. But with an opponent like Trump, whose very presence on the national stage debases the office of the presidency and subjects our democracy to global ridicule, decisions or even TKOs are of no consequence. I’m holding back, perhaps like Vladimir and Estragon in “Waiting for Godot,” for the knockout punch I fear may never be delivered — even with a resounding Clinton victory in four weeks — that would at once expose his truest of colors, bring a shudder even to his faithful, and make America great again, the way it was before June 16, 2015, the date on which Donald J. Trump announced his candidacy.
© 2016 Ron Dulaney
I love and agree with your insights on this presidential campaign, It’s frightening to see what a Trump-led administration could bring…
Thanks, Ron – eloquently stated. Thanks for such a thoughtful post.
Hillary’s in kind of in a bad place when you stop to think about it. Trump has suggested that an obliging NRA member should off her. And, if that doesn’t pan out, he plans on locking her up after he wins and his special prosecutor does his thing. Whew! Does anyone remember Hawthorne and his Scarlet Letter and the whole public hysteria that went along with the real Salem witch hunts? Lock ‘er up takes us back to our Puritan roots. But then, grabbing someone’s pussy, a la the Donald, doesn’t line up with Puritan mores, at all. The guy is so all over the map, so insane basically, that it’s hard to draw a bead on him. You can forget locating any intelligible policies or plans. Those don’t matter to reality show hosts and stars. And, what, pray tell, good are these so-called debates, if the moderators let Trump run roughshod over any semblance of civility? If I were HRC, I’d just take a seat and let him spout his bile, then stand to talk calmly, as one should do when in the presence of a lunatic. Playing his game only encourages him. He never should have been allowed to run in the first place. It’s beyond embarrassing.
Beautifully said Ron…..we the American people are the losers in all of this. This election has sunk so low and so beneath who we are and it just keeps getting worse. We don’t deserve this. Keep em coming I am enjoying your posts
This sums it up! I am really enjoying your posts – so well written and always revealing your great sense of humor. Keep them coming! Bente
Well said. Just the fact that Trump has come this far is an embarrassment to our country and to each American citizen. The world abroad is mocking us in disbelief. Quite the show…see what happens next. I am a strong believer that there are no accidents. Curious and interested to see how this all unfolds.