An ugly campaign, condensed into one debate

‘”Debate’ is an iffy word for an exercise in which candidates are prompted by moderators to dole out their stump speeches bit by bit under hot lights while a clock counts the seconds and every quip and jab and stumble is used to keep score and proclaim a ‘winner,'” as The New York Times is reporting.

“But when just one candidate is serious and the other is a vacuous bully, the term loses all meaning.

“Monday night’s confrontation between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was a spectacle, for sure: the sheer reality-TV hugeness of it, the Super Bowl audience of tens of millions. ‘Debate of the Century,’ said The Drudge Report. ‘America on the Brink,’ said The Huffington Post. For once, the hype may have been about right, given the tightness of the polls and the nearness of the election.

“There was a fundamental asymmetry to the exercise, because of the awful truth that one of the participants had nothing truthful to offer. But seeing them on the same stage distilled exactly who they have been throughout this campaign.

“Standing at the lectern, interrupting and shouting, playing the invisible accordion with his open hands, filibustering, tossing his word salads — jobs and terrorism and Nafta and China and everything is terrible — Mr. Trump said a lot. But as the debate wore on, he struggled to contend with an opponent who was much more poised and prepared than any of the Republicans he faced in the primaries.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

5 thoughts on “An ugly campaign, condensed into one debate”

  1. I got a vision of Hillary as the Kindergarten teacher, who very effectively ignored and put down one of her charges having a temper tantrum, outside in the hallway with his parent. By denying Trump eye contact when she was speaking, he kept on losing every single round of Bully Stare he plainly tried to start. I’m sure it frustrated the hell out of him, and I wonder if he was smart enough to realize what was going down.

    Smiling condescendingly and looking right at him when he was speaking must have been infuriating, as he can’t talk and Bully Stare at the same time, and then for the finale, unleashing the garbage truck of his own words, left him in shambles.

    That last blast had much more meaning, being delivered by a woman, and should be good for at least a 5 point boost in that demographic. Trump’s doctor is probably telling Trump to drop out or risk a death from stress, as Hillary found the way with facts, figures, and avoiding the Bully Stare, to soundly wipe the floor with him, and will surely do so in the next two debates, and in the election itself. Best implementation of non-verbal communication in ages, John Collier, Jr would be impressed. (my favorite prof at SF State U. founder of the field of Visual Anthropology)

  2. “and then for the finale, unleashing the garbage truck of his own words, left him in shambles”.
    True That Douglas!!! – Trump sums up how Presidential he thinks of the debate, when he gives us his last Presidential blast about who he hates—– wait for it——–A head of State for a third world country? Nope.
    A tv personality he hates, and guess what – it’s a woman!
    “Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her,”
    It’s statements like this that belong on reality tv programing, not a debate for who runs the country.

  3. Neither of them disappointed. Hillary is the most experienced candidate for president than anyone in our history. Americans raised her. She’s been educated, and tried and tested and practiced with every possibility. She’s been tested and tried more than any man. Those of us who appreciate her are justified. Those who do not? Well…..
    Trump is the least of any who ran before. It is ironic that the most experienced faces the least but the reflection they provide of the character of Americans is astonishing but not surprising given a century of unreason.

    1. This may help, sure does sounds like the US today.

      The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism Paperback – March 19, 2006
      by Richard Wolin (Author)
      Fifteen years ago, revelations about the political misdeeds of Martin Heidegger and Paul de Man sent shock waves throughout European and North American intellectual circles. Ever since, postmodernism has been haunted by the specter of a compromised past. In this intellectual genealogy of the postmodern spirit, Richard Wolin shows that postmodernism’s infatuation with fascism has been widespread and not incidental. He calls into question postmodernism’s claim to have inherited the mantle of the left–and suggests that postmodern thought has long been smitten with the opposite end of the political spectrum.

      In probing chapters on C. G. Jung, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Georges Bataille, and Maurice Blanchot, Wolin discovers an unsettling commonality: during the 1930s, these thinkers leaned to the right and were tainted by a proverbial “fascination with fascism.” Frustrated by democracy’s shortcomings, they were seduced by fascism’s grandiose promises of political regeneration. The dictatorships in Italy and Germany promised redemption from the uncertainties of political liberalism. But, from the beginning, there could be no doubting their brutal methods of racism, violence, and imperial conquest.

      Postmodernism’s origins among the profascist literati of the 1930s reveal a dark political patrimony. The unspoken affinities between Counter-Enlightenment and postmodernism constitute the guiding thread of Wolin’s suggestive narrative. In their mutual hostility toward reason and democracy, postmodernists and the advocates of Counter-Enlightenment betray a telltale strategic alliance–they cohabit the fraught terrain where far left and far right intersect.

      Those who take Wolin’s conclusions to heart will never view the history of modern thought in quite the same way.

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