The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Debate reactions

Some beauties, and some that I wasn't expecting, from:

And, not for nothing, the voters.

All in all, just about everyone who weighed in on it said it was a disaster for Trump, for the Republican Party, and for American Democracy. I concur.

Round Two

I was out of town all weekend without much Internet access. Lots of driving, some hiking, and a very fun wedding instead of blogging? Well, duh.

And here we are, a few minutes from the second presidential debate, watching "Frontline" on both of the candidates. It's not changing any opinions at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, nor, do I expect, will the debate itself. Buckle up.

21:02 EDT: "This could be one of the most repulsive debates in American history."—David Brooks. And here we go.

21:05: "I've heard from parents and teachers about their concerns about things being done in this campaign." Yep.

21:08: "I agree with everything she said." I hate to say it, but that's because she didn't say anything controversial. And then...inventing statistics about Obamacare, the Iran deal, etc.

21:10: "You bragged that you committed sexual assault." "No, it's just locker-room talk. ... We're going to defeat ISIS with locker-room talk." Donald Trump did not deny that he assaulted women. I'll have transcripts tomorrow.

21:14: "This is who Donald Trump is." Yes it is. Can't wait for the response...

21:15: Oh. Of course. He's simply not going to address what she just said at all.

21:20: "He never apologized." This is a good refrain, and it lets her get all his crap into the debate. And it gets right to his narcissism.

21:23: The Roman Republic fell, in part, because people kept getting sued and prosecuted the moment they left office—so they stopped leaving office. So basically, what we're seeing is the beginning of that here in the U.S. Trump very likely has committed crimes; he's saying he'll prosecute Clinton if he wins. Great.

21:29: "Oh, he can answer it first. Go ahead, Donald."

21:33: Watch out! The government is going to give you free health care if you vote for Hillary!

21:37: I don't have enough booze in my house to make this pain go away.

21:39: "Islamophobia is bad, and that is why my administration will make all of them wear yellow crescents on their clothes."

21:44: Hillary Clinton plays chess. She just moved her bishop to Russia-4. Watch for the knight...and watch Donald Trump try to jump the queen.

21:50: Clinton's linking of Putin to influencing the election might sound crazy to people. But it's true. Does anyone care?

21:51: "I think it would be great if we could get along with Russia, because maybe they could help us fight ISIS." Trump doesn't understand this, but the President might say exactly the same thing right now.

21:55: "He lives in an alternative reality. ... It's amusing hearing someone who hasn't paid taxes in 20 years tell us what he's going to do. ... Donald always takes care of Donald." And then she used math.

21:58: "Of course I do."—Trump answering the question about whether he used his $915m loss to avoid taxes. But it's OK, because everyone else does.

22:02: "Because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington." Zing.

22:06: "We're old and tired in terms of nuclear." Russia has about a third of the submarines and half the bombers we have. And we have an attack boat about a hundred meters behind every one of their submarines, and a satellite looking at every one of their bombers. But you see, in order to understand what that means, you'd have to know what the triad is.

22:08: "Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question."

22:09: "You disagree with your running mate." Not a question; just summarizing what he said.

22:09: Aleppo has already fallen. So fuck 'em.

22:11: Did Patton and MacArthur endorse Trump? Weren't both Patton and MacArthur fired for insubordination?

22:14: "Do you believe you can be president to everyone?" "Yes, I'll grab all their pussies."

22:17: Shorter Trump on inner cities:

22:21: Trump's answer about the 3am Tweet...I mean, I just...What? The? Fuck?

22:28: So, he's "invested" $100m of his own money in becoming president? "Invested?" What an interesting thing to say by a person who views the world transactionally. What will he consider a return on that investment?

22:31: "China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Donald Trump is buying it." This hurts, if you care about policy. If not, eh?

22:34: "Would you say one thing that you respect about your opponent?" Hardest question of the evening. And I'm cringing in advance of his response...

22:39: What do I think about this debate? Splash of Vermouth, jigger of gin, 30 more days of this...

22:43: Mark Shields on PBS: "He doesn't have an embarrassment gene in his body. ... I was amazed he showed up tonight."

Muting the debate

New York Times reporter Jonathan Mahler watched the debate with the sound off. He still had no doubts who won:

It was a little shimmy of her shoulders — cheeky, insouciant — accompanied by a big, toothy grin. Her opponent smirked.

She looked as if she was having fun. He, not so much.

Visually, anyway, there was a discernible arc to the event, with Mr. Trump growing more agitated as the night wore on, and Mrs. Clinton becoming almost giddy with what felt increasingly like genuine pleasure.

Which brings us back to the shimmy. Absent words, it felt like the most telling moment of the evening, a memorable, instinctive reaction to what I imagined must have been a Trump howler.

In that instant, it was clear that the debate had produced a winner, at least to those of us who hadn’t actually heard a word of what the candidates had said: Mrs. Clinton. He had vibrated with anxiety; she had radiated cool confidence. He had seemed to be crawling out of his own skin; she had looked uncharacteristically comfortable in hers.

Meanwhile, attempts to discern from the written transcript what Trump was talking about continue to produce little usable data, NSA and FBI sources tell The Daily Parker.

Manifestly unfit for public office

Not even a full day after the debate and the reactions I'm seeing are across-the-board horrible for Trump. First, the usual suspects:

But the other side of the aisle doesn't seem happy either. Check out:

Of course, it's not Trump's fault he tanked after 15 minutes of inane bluster. It's never his fault when shit goes south.

As Hillary said, "Woo! Okay!"

And finally, looking at Hofstra's photos brings back a lot. My dorm features in a lot of them, having been used as Fox News's backdrop.

Update, 13:49 CDT: I found one guy who thinks Trump did well, Chicago's own John Kass. Kass doesn't think Trump won, mind you; he just thinks Trump didn't get his spine ripped out by Clinton.

Debate live-blogging

The first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is about to begin. I'll be sipping on one or more martinis and making snarky comments. For real live-blogging check out Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan. Oh, and the Times.

I was going to watch PBS, but apparently Bloomberg will be fact-checking in real time.

Let the games begin...

21:04 EDT: Oh, can't do Bloomberg. Moved back to PBS with Gwen Ifill, Mark Shields, David Gergen, and a few other sane people.

21:06: Bad timing! My big New York-style pizza (in honor of my alma mater, Hofstra) just arrived.

21:10: First big lie on his first sentence. Routine opening from Clinton. Trump is pitching directly to people who have been left behind by change.

21:12: "We just have a different view." And "he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we'll be."

21:15: "I want you to be happy, it's very important to me." WTF?

21:17: "That's called business, by the way." She's already getting to him.

21:20: The Times already has one of his tweets up (about China and climate change).

21:23: "I know you're living in your own reality."

21:30: The Times' Nick Confessore: "This is a moment when Trump’s ideas are conflicted. He is now defending companies that offshore their profits and stick them in places like Ireland, and blaming Clinton and other politicians for not letting them bring the money back tax free."

21:32: Ah, tax returns. Coming right after a pile of nonsense on how the Federal Reserve works. And a lie about the audit.

21:36: "Maybe he doesn't want you to know...he hasn't paid any taxes. ... There's something he's hiding. Who does he owe money to?" Well, yeah.

21:39: Well, maybe if you paid your taxes we could have better roads, Donald?

21:42: "Maybe he didn't do a good job." "Maybe you should apologize?" Because, it turns out, he stiffs people all the time. "You call yourself the king of debt."

21:43: One of my Facebook friends just now: "I'll release my tax returns when you release the Kraken." Same friend a moment later: "I can't tell who's winning, rubber or glue."

21:48: "Law and order." Welcome back, 1968.

21:50: Andrew Sullivan: "It’s clear that Trump has no idea what a debate is and has never actually debated an equal. He rants and then shouts over and interrupts his debate partner. This is the performance of a tyrant – someone utterly unsuited to the give and take and reasoned debate that’s integral – essential– to a liberal democracy."

Meanwhile, he's talking about bad people and an against-police judge. Is he six?

21:52: A friend whose opinion I trust just sent me a message that Clinton calling Trump "Donald" seems disrespectful against him calling her "Secretary." Leaving out that she's no longer entitled to that title (so to speak), I'm not sure whether this is a net gain or loss for her. I will ponder this.

21:57: Another friend on Facebook: "You don't learn that much from tax returns?! Um, if that's the case, bro, just turn them over."

21:58: Sullivan again (on the race question): "What he has just said in a presidential debate is indistinguishable from what a drunk at a bar might say before he is thrown out. It’s incredible to me that this ranting, incoherent bigot is actually a nominee of a major party in the U.S."

22:06: Confessore again: "Let’s not skip over this moment, colleagues. Has a presidential candidate ever accused the other of being racist on a debate stage?"

22:07: "I settled that lawsuit with no admission of guilt." My god, talk about being lawyerly.

22:09: And now we come around to Russia. She's almost...almost...linking him to Putin.

22:13: "We need to do cyber better." This from the guy who wants to date his daughter. Urban Dictionary much, Mr. Trump?

22:14: Martini #1 was with a London dry gin from the UK, in honor of the country I hope takes me in if this guy gets elected. Martini #2 is with Death's Door gin, for reasons I trust the reader will infer.

22:16: Not wrong, Donald. Do you not understand how the Internet works? You supported the Iraq war.

22:18: Andrew Borowitz: "The most coherent moments for Trump at this debate were the sniffs."

22:20: So, other than throwing themselves in front of Russian tanks, what has NATO ever done for us?

22:23: "I have a winning temperament." "Woo! Okay!" Snorts and literal rolling on the floor over at IDTWHQ.

22:26: "A man who can be provoked with a tweet should not have his finger anywhere near the button...."

22:28: Sullivan again: "He’s actually doubling down on the war crime of “taking the oil”. Again: no American presidential candidate has ever advocated plunder as a goal in foreign policy. No Western leader has supported such a thing in modern times. The fact that he is still repeating the need for such a war crime is all by itself disqualifying for a Western leader."

22:30: I think Sioux Nation might disagree that the Iran treaty is "the worst deal ever made." Also Poland (1938), Germany (1919), and Lando Calrissian (a long time ago).

22:35: Sometimes a stamina is just a stamina. This time, however, I think he means "penis."

22:38: Awww...it's not nice. Poor Donald.

22:39: Jeffrey Goldberg earlier: "Trump is admitting here that he would open fire on Iranian ships and then see what happens."

22:40: So...any answer other than "yes, I will absolutely respect the results of this election" is just bizarre.

OK. Time to finish my second martini. And then sleep, fitfully...

End of the week

Tonight I've gotten invited to hear Lin-Manuel Miranda speak at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and after that, a masquerade. Then tomorrow is Chicago Gourmet. Then Sunday I'll either plotz or walk 30 kilometers. (Though in truth I'll probably be fine as my cold, tapering though it is, makes me not want to indulge too much.)

Meanwhile, here are some articles that I may read in the next few hours:

If possible, I'll post some photos from Gourmet.

Complex, likable Hillary

Via Deeply Trivial, BoingBoing's Caroline Seide posits the radical notion that Hillary Clinton's likability challenges may be simply because she's a complex woman:

Hillary Clinton is on one hand the most qualified human being to ever run for president of the United States, and, on the other, one of the most disliked presidential candidates of all time. In fact, Donald Trump is the only candidate who is more disliked than Clinton. And he’s not onlyovertly racist, sexist, and Islamophobic, but also unfit and unprepared for office. How can these two fundamentally dissimilar politicians possibly be considered bedfellows when it comes to popular opinion?

I would argue it’s because we don’t yet have cultural touchstones for flawed but sympathetic women. We can recognize Sanders as a fiery activist, Biden as a truth teller, and Kaine as an earnest goof, but we just don’t have an archetype—fictional or otherwise—through which to understand Clinton. As the first female nominee of a major political party, her campaign is in uncharted waters. As Clinton explains in a recent post for Humans Of New York:

It’s hard work to present yourself in the best possible way. You have to communicate in a way that people say: ‘OK, I get her.’ And that can be more difficult for a woman. Because who are your models? If you want to run for the Senate, or run for the Presidency, most of your role models are going to be men. And what works for them won’t work for you. Women are seen through a different lens.

And our entertainment doesn’t help us understand Clinton either. Our movies, books, and TV shows are filled with attractive female love interests, badass female warriors, hissable female villains, and bumbling female leads. But we don’t have very many female protagonists who are allowed to be flawed in ways that are messily realistic not just charmingly endearing. We haven’t been taught to empathize with flawed women the way we have with flawed men.

Maybe because I enjoy stories with complex women (e.g., Orphan Black, which I'd argue has dozens of interesting, complex women, all played by a woman who finally got her Emmy for playing them), I've always liked Hillary. And the subtle, pervasive sexism she faces in this election is absolutely maddening.

Who will win the debates?

James Fallows has a long article in the upcoming Atlantic attempting to answer this question:

The most famous story about modern presidential campaigning now has a quaint old-world tone. It’s about the showdown between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy in the first debate of their 1960 campaign, which was also the very first nationally televised general-election debate in the United States.  

The story is that Kennedy looked great, which is true, and Nixon looked terrible, which is also true—and that this visual difference had an unexpected electoral effect. As Theodore H. White described it in his hugely influential book The Making of the President 1960, which has set the model for campaign coverage ever since, “sample surveys” after the debate found that people who had only heardKennedy and Nixon talking, over the radio, thought that the debate had been a tie. But those who saw the two men on television were much more likely to think that Kennedy—handsome, tanned, non-sweaty, poised—had won.  

Historians who have followed up on this story haven’t found data to back up White’s sight-versus-sound discovery. But from a modern perspective, the only surprising thing about his findings is that they came as a surprise. Today’s electorate has decades of televised politics behind it, from which one assumption is that of course images, and their emotional power, usually matter more than words and whatever logic they might try to convey.

Never has the dominance of the image over the word seemed more significant than this year, as the parties and the public prepare for the three general-election debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that are scheduled to begin September 26 (as it happens, the anniversary of that first Kennedy-Nixon debate) and the one vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, scheduled for October 4.

The whole thing is worth a read. I'm frustrated that I'll be in a rehearsal during the first debate, but I may stay up late after watching it.

Stuff to read later today

It's fascinating how working from home doesn't seem to give me more time to, you know, work. So these have backed up on me, and I hope to read them...someday:

OK, so, that's going to take a few minutes...

What I didn't read while preparing for Monday's demo

Sometimes, when I'm really busy, I click on articles I want to read. Right now I have a lot tabs open:

So, altogether, not entirely about the election.