Watching Donald Trump last night was like watching Bill Bixby struggle to not turn into Lou Ferrigno. The situation called for David Banner: intelligent, calm, thoughtful. But Trump couldn't control himself, and after about 20 minutes, he was The Incredible Hulk. Except he was the body builder in green body paint and a wig, not the CGI behemoth who smashes all things around him. And what's funny is how few people thought it would happen that way.
Trump was touted as the man who survived all those GOP debates, the last man standing after the GOP finished slaughtering themselves around him. The truth is not that Trump survived the Night of the Long Knives, but that he was the biggest clown in the clown car. The GOP debates were not a blood-letting, they were a pillow fight. They were a pie fight in the War Room. They were a flash flood in a Fizzie factory. Donald Trump never truly engaged in a proper Presidential debate in his life.
Last night he did. This morning, he blames his microphone.
Yesterday, the "smart money" said this couldn't happen, that Trump was too clever, too much of a "street fighter," too good at turning attacks against him into attacks on his opponent. He was the master of verbal jiu jitsu, and King of Stage Managed Karate. The smart money said the bar was so low Trump couldn't fail to set over it.
Last night, he did.
The Master of the Craft argued about Obama's birth certificate and bragged that he forced Obama to reveal it, the first time any President has had to do so in American history. And Trump bragged about that in the context of healing race relations in America. He then went on to defend "stop and frisk," because nothing heals race relations in America like treating every African American and Latino male like a suspect until proven innocent, especially in an America where "open carry" is now deemed not just a Constitutional right but a human obligation. Except, of course, for blacks and Latinos, who must be stopped and frisked, said Trump, so they can be disarmed.
Trump the Indomitable went "off the rails" on the race issue. Trump the Unstoppable force "crumbled" and proved himself not ready for prime time. This morning the only surprise is that anyone is surprised.
Heh. And it's not getting any better this morning:
"I have to say, certainly as a woman, I appreciated the restraint at the end — I’m not sure I would have been able to exercise it myself — but restraint is a virtue, and it’s a presidential virtue," Conway said. "To tell Hillary Clinton, after she accused him of being terrible with women, to tell Hillary Clinton, ‘I was prepared to go rough tonight and I’m not going to do it because your husband and your daughter are here,’ that is going to grow in importance over the next couple of days as the moment of great temperament and restraint."Sad!
Conway was later asked what Trump refrained from mentioning.
"He could have said what was on millions of Americans minds no doubt, that are we going to relitigate who’s been good to women and who hasn’t," Conway responded. " I think we all can finish the sentence. I mean, people did last night, they finished the sentence, you know, that maybe he was going to talk about Bill Clinton's record with women. But he decided not to."
And when asked if Trump holds Hillary Clinton accountable for her husband's behavior with women, Conway replied, "He didn’t say that."
Adding: credit where it is due. The pre-debate consensus was that fact-checking would be essential to keep Trump from telling lies and "winning" the debate. Clinton, wisely, just let Trump talk, a few times even pointing out his ranting spoke for itself.
That, kiddies, is the way you do it.