The first Trump/Clinton debate

The first Trump/Clinton debate

This is the second part of my analysis of the September 26th debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. As I wrote last time, there was just so much to get into (because we finally got to compare the candidates side-by-side) that I couldn’t fit it all into one episode.

And with the next debate between them coming very soon, I had to get this out before that, which is why you’re getting 2 episodes in one week. But hey, it’s just 10 minutes! 🙂

And you should probably listen to part 1 first. Click here for the audio and the transcript.

Mentioned links:

The first Trump-Clinton presidential debate transcript, annotated

Economic assistance to countries in the Middle East and North Africa

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Show transcript

Trump brought up the fact that foreign aid we send out is incredibly high, especially with having an $18 trillion debt. At least, that’s how much it is today. He mentioned the Middle East specifically, where we’re sending 5 or 6 trillion dollars. I imagine that’s over some period of time. At a site I looked at, the number was around $9 billion in 2012. But still, that’s a chunk of change that we send to many oil-rich nations out there, some whose national motto is “Death to America, But Only If The Checks Start Bouncing”. Now the lion’s share of that does go to Israel, who is more often mentioned in those national mottos calling for death, who is an actual democratic republic, and who is actually our ally. Certainly foreign aid in general is something we could recover many billions of dollars from, especially from countries that can, at this point, take care of themselves. Squandering their own resources on, say, a royal family, is no excuse.

Clinton hit the class warfare subject again by bringing up people that had not been paid for services they provided to Trump’s real estate. That is a good dig, especially since Trump would not have time in a debate to recount all the reasons why he did what he did. Good debate tactic, but rather unfair to the audience. Trump then pointed out that there were tens of thousands of people happy with him. This is another example of what I’ve highlighted before as incidents vs. statistics. “Here’s a guy that Trump stiffed!” OK, but what about these hundred people that he paid? Sorry, but that’s a cheap shot aimed at people’s jealousy rather than election issues.

Both Clinton and Trump agreed that we need to restore trust between the neighborhoods and the police that patrol them. Clinton brought up the vague generality that we should get guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. Maybe the debate left no time to give at least a quick mention of what kind of people she’s talking about, or how to achieve that, but just putting out that talking point lets people make their own assumptions about it, and therefore project those assumptions onto her, even though she may not have any such plan. This goes for phrases like “make the rich pay their fair share”, “won’t add a penny to the debt”, and “common sense gun laws”. Trump had his phrases as well, like “law and order”, but not nearly as many, and he’d go into more detail; sometimes painfully so with lots of repetition. On the Democratic side, though, they seem to thrive on them. Let’s not forget “safe, legal, and rare”.

One classic line from Clinton at this point, talking about neighborhoods and police, what this; “Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.” Everyone should respect the law? Does your definition of “everyone” include you? Because if it doesn’t, we kinda’ need to know that…right now.

Speaking of guns, the no-fly list came up, and both candidates came out in favor of taking away a constitutional right without the need for that pesky, antiquated “due process” thing. If the government puts you on some list it has, you have to prove you’re innocent in order to get your rights. This is, frankly, disturbing to hear.

At this point the “birther” issue was brought up by Lester Holt, because, of course, this is a current, relevant, and pressing issue in this 2016 election season. Yes, it’s definitely a black mark on Trump’s record, but in a segment on dealing with race relations going forward, the moderator thinks bringing up Trump’s birther past, which he recently renounced, is far more important to today’s voter than bringing up Clinton’s law-breaking. Yes, conspiracy theories are more of an issue than criminal activities that are then covered up. Richard Nixon is rolling in his grave.

I could go on about that, but you get the idea. Thanks for letting us know your priorities, Mr. Holt.

Clinton mentioned that Trump was sued for racial discrimination in the past for not allowing African-Americans to rent his apartments. No time for details in the middle of a debate, but Trump didn’t handle it well. He noted that he was not the only one sued, but many other companies were involved, and that he settled out of court with no admission of guilt. Yeah, that’s a little “weasel-y”, Donald. Big companies often just cough up big sums of money in order to not have to admit guilt. That doesn’t really prove anything, and sounds rather elitist.

He did counter well with the Palm Beach club he opened that, against the objections of some of the neighbors, did not discriminate on who could join. And he pointed out how the lawsuit was earlier in his career, while the Palm Beach club was more recent. You’d think Democrats would appreciate someone whose views “evolved” over time, given their approval of it by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The answers about cyber-attacks didn’t give us much new information. The two candidates pretty much agreed on most points, but Clinton did say one thing that caught my ear. She said that, “we need to do much more with our tech companies to prevent ISIS and their operatives from being able to use the Internet to radicalize…”. I tend to agree, but if you make it hard for ISIS to communicate online, be careful that you don’t make it difficult for everyone to communicate.

I give a big nod to Clinton, as she gave a proper history on why we left Iraq when we did. We couldn’t get agreement from them to shield our troops from prosecutions so we had to leave. Yes, Obama wanted us out completely as soon as possible, and this certainly provided cover to do so, but Iraq also pushed us out as well. So the blame for the rise of ISIS is as much on Iraq as it is on Obama.

By this time in the debate, Trump had said some things 3 and 4 times, instead of answering the question at hand. It really got tiring to listen to, and if you skipped the debate, well, I’m here for you. But don’t expect that to happen too much.

Near the end, once again, Lester Holt tipped his hand to what his priorities are. He asked Trump what he meant by a comment that Clinton didn’t have a “presidential look”. But he didn’t just ask that. No, he prefaced it with the fact that Hillary Clinton was, in case anyone had not yet noticed, a woman. So instead of just asking what Trump meant, he phrased the question so as to put Trump in the worst possible light. “She’s a woman. What did you mean that she doesn’t have a ‘presidential look’?” C’mon, Lester! What happened to the follow-up question, “When did you stop beating Ivanka?” A more sexism-implying question couldn’t have been written by the Clinton campaign itself. Or maybe it was.

Oh, and Trump said he was referring to stamina, but that didn’t matter by then. Lester Holt, like a sleazy lawyer, had already asked a question that inserted a connection that he wanted the jury to hear. The answer was almost beside the point.

And part of Clinton’s response talked about the stamina to visit 112 countries, negotiate peace deals, and … testify for 11 hours before the Benghazi hearings? Really? That’s what you want to say at your job interview? “What’s my stamina like? Well, I once testified at a hearing about my own incompetence for 11 hours! Elect me President!”

The sad thing is, none of those significant negatives matter to her supporters. To them, it’s worse to be a reformed birther.

And with that, I (finally) complete my debate commentary. If you didn’t watch it, I feel your pain. So much so, that I might not watch the next one. We’ll see.

Filed under: Benghazi AttackElectionsForeign AidGovernmentGun ControlIsraelLaw EnforcementMediaMiddle EastRace Issues