“Up until tonight, I thought the craziest thing to ever happen on the Hofstra campus was my parents meeting for the first time.” -- Charlie Richards
Well, maybe. But there was the time that a flying boxcar trying to land at the Air Force base across the street hit the chemistry building then bounced smack into the street sign that announced “Caution. Low flying planes.” Or the classes in quonset huts with heaters in the ceiling and installed by the Engineering students who apparently hadn’t yet gotten to the part about hot air rising.
But, yeah. It was a pretty strange debate. And expectations were low to begin with. We’re fond of saying this is a contest between two of the least likeable candidates in modern history. We’re fond of saying it doesn’t matter who wins.
This has a ring of truth. Usually, at least one presidential candidate is warm and fuzzy. But warm and fuzzy doesn’t always translate into competent and effective. Usually at least one is seen as able to get the job done. Not this time.
Haughty Hillary and Lyin’ Donald are the candidates from Planet Bizarre-O.
If you had to pick a winner, it would have to be Hillary because she was prepared and aptly demonstrated how easy it is to provoke Trump into mindless and meaningless babble, evasions and fabrications.
The fairy tale about his support or opposition to the Iraq war. The secret tax return. But how did she fail to leave out the wall with Mexico?
As for her… there were the emails. And how did the attack rabbit Trump fail to mention Benghazi or the speeches at Goldman Sachs?
By now you’ve heard 800 opinions about the substance from five thousand pundits. So here, we assume that you either watched the thing or saw clips or read about it.
So we’ll restrict our own punditry to the little things you might not have noticed.
Mrs. Clinton didn’t cough once, though she had been hacking away during previous appearances. And she didn’t collapse or have to be carried to or from the podium. The supermarket tabloids of record have her at death’s door. Did she have lung cancer? A stroke? Tuberculosis? Parkinson’s?
But Trump kept sniffing like a coke user and no one at the instant analysts’ after party brought that up.
One exciting part of the 90 minutes was the split screen that kept both candidates visible for the whole ride.
We got to see Trump’s advanced repertoire of facial contortions and we got to see Clinton’s arrogant smirk. Good reminders that we’re dealing with a television show, not a class in political science.
Donno kept interrupting Clinton. This is a debate? He kept dribbling meaningless and irrelevant words and phrases and not answering questions.
But she convicted Putin of hacking American computers… kind of a Watergate moment perpetrated by a ghost without a physical body to leave DNA or fingerprints.
Then there was the moderator, NBC’s well liked and well watched Lester Holt. He had to tread a fine line between fact-checker-in-chief and day care worker. And there was no way to do that without seeming either like a partisan hack or a wimp. He chose the middle ground, pretending he was in solitary confinement but still could make outgoing phone calls.
Was a single mind changed? Probably not. Did people on the fence fall off on one side or the other? Same answer.
The good news: we have two more of these Hootenannies scheduled plus one for the vice presidential candidates.
The bad news: we have two more of these Hootenannies scheduled plus one for the vice presidential candidates.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
© WJR 2016