I’ve just come home from my Second Debate Night Watch Party. After all the angst and drama of the last 48+ hours, I really had no idea what to expect. Would Donald Trump Drumpf even make it to the debate? And if he did, would he finally come unhinged and turn into the Frankenstein Monster, or maybe the Incredible Hulk, for all to see? Would Hillary Clinton finally deliver the knockout punch to take Donald down?
Neither of those things happened.
The biggest surprise was that Donald did indeed show up, but in a somewhat metamorphosed form: He was a more subdued monster, speaking in complete sentences! Even if those sentences had little to do with the questions being asked of him, and pacing/skulking around the stage, fighting to stay in control of himself. On the other hand, Hillary entered the stage looking more like a tired grandma.
Similar to the first debate, the team of moderators—CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz of ABC—were not very successful in their task. Donald too often went on way too long in his answers, and Hillary too often was cut off when her time was up. However, both moderators, especially Anderson Cooper, early in the debate, did manage to ask the Elephant-in-the-Room questions about Trump’s “locker room” admissions from 11 years ago. To little effect, I believe, even with Trump’s cadre of victims sitting front and center at the debate (four women he claimed Hillary Clinton had bullied when they accused former Arkansas Governor and President Bill Clinton of sexual assault). Hillary could have “gone there” in her response, but, I am satisfied with what she said instead, borrowing Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high.”
Even Donald trying to tap into his “African-Americans live in Hell” lie, for the “benefit” of the second of two African-American townhall questioners, didn’t get much of a rise from me tonight.
The only really tantalizing response from Trump concerned his difference of opinion from his erstwhile running mate Mike Pence, regarding his stance on Syria—“we haven’t talked, and I disagree with him”. Last time I checked (earlier in the day), the pundits were still wondering whether Pence is even still on the ticket.
In the end, for me, the debate was a less sparkly rehash of the first debate. Donald still repeated his catchphrases—Iran, Iraq, Libya, the 33,000 (later upped to 39 thousand “acid-washed” emails—as if they were jeans!); and Hillary again waited patiently for Donald to finish his tirades before circling back to the real questions asked, and giving answers the way reasonable people would expect a prospective Commander-In-Chief to answer.
For those of you looking for more detailed analysis, the real pundits are already giving it their best.
I’m still with Hillary. And I daresay the Trumpsters are still for the Donald.