This “historic” event was one of the most anticipated (hyped) political/media events in memory for many and recent memory for others of my era. I do remember the JFK/Nixon first televised one, so “historic” might be a subjective term at best.
Back to this history making event. Like many viewers I too was wondering which Donald Trump might show up. Would Hillary Clinton last 90-minutes without a coughing spell or get one of those blanked-out moments where a large black man comes out to her and utters whatever hypnotically induced safe-word is downloaded into her 4-year old brain nano-bot. Just a reminder that in 2012 the Secretary fell, hit her head, got a severe intracranial blood clot.
First my initial gut feeling about this “debate.” Lester Holt did alright. Under the tight restraints placed on him by his colleagues as some kind of role model for all future moderators and pressure from both political camps as well as his big-wig media bosses I’d give Mr. Holt a B for effort.
Secretary Clinton was just as everyone expected her to be. Short, clip, loaded with information - factual or not is yet to be determined - and most importantly, she didn’t pass out. One thing became very obvious early on. Clinton was using some sort of teleprompter/info device from her insisted upon “special podium.” Her eye movement during her longer discourses were evident of reading prepared text. Her speech was well practiced as Mrs. Clinton is a well known debater who always comes prepared for every possible outcome, which is an excellent quality for any possible presidential candidate. Problem is her 30-year track record of using that positive quality for questionable self-serving ends is staggering. In the end she did as many thought she would. She held her own. Didn’t lose her cool and stayed upright.
Donald J. Trump was a different kettle of fish at this all-important debate. He wasn’t his really bombastic self. He didn’t do or say anything so blatantly absurd as to give the press, pundits or us online spillers of personal opinion any juicy meat to digest and spew out later distorted and maligned pool of vomit. And, one has to ask why?
I am a firm believer that Howard Stern is not the master of all media. That title is held tightly in-hand by one Donald J. Trump, Republican nominee for the office of President of the United States of America. Too much? Okay, moving on. What Mr. Trump did tonight was nothing short of mass media manipulation at its finest while at the same time reaching those he needs the most without making a big issue out of it. Mr. Trump already knows there are two groups whose votes for and against him are guaranteed. His supporters will vote for and follow him no matter what. He is their choice for the Oval Office. The other are those who will not vote for Trump even if he were to walk on water, heal the sick, allow himself to be killed by them and then rise from the dead. Trump will not spend one ounce of energy or one cent of money to win over this group. Most will go to Hillary Clinton, the remainder will stay home or vote for the remaining two candidates — who are they again?
The group Trump needed to win over at this first debate were those thin layer of non-committed independents and moderates (what use to be called Blue Dog or Reagan Democrats). As I watched him my emotional side was itching for him to tear into all the lies that Clinton was spewing on that very stage right in front of him, the world, god and …. well you get my drift. Emotionally I was upset that he passed on more than one open-ended opportunity to go after Clinton on her email server and cyber-security. Her trustworthiness factor. When she went after him over false allegations of racism and families devastated by his real estate dealings; why didn’t he mention the long line of loved ones that are fatherless, husbandless, motherless and childless because of those disastrous Obama/Clinton foreign policies while she was Secretary of State. I saw these and a couple of other more minor elements as missed opportunities and I felt he kind of blew it. But then I remembered who I was dealing with here. Mr. Donald J. Trump the Master and King of All Media and like a revelatory light it came to me in a vision. Again - too much?
In order to aid the uncommitted and undecided from those Independent and more moderate-to-right leaning Democrats he could not come across as too bombastic. He allowed himself to stand firm on the issues that really will mean a lot in his first term: trade deals, returning commerce, manufacturing and industry back to American soil, building the wall - no mention of Mexico paying for it at this debate - tax relief for all income levels, immigration, the military, veterans and fighting ISIS and terrorism at home and abroad. He remained firm and at times argumentative in Donald-style on those issues. However, for most of the debate he was respectful of Mrs. Clinton (even when being wrongly attacked by her), eventually he counter-punched but each swing was calculated to appeal to his target voter. He looked like a Commander and Chief. Smiled, frowned appropriately without coming across like a Dukakis deer-in-the-headlight guy.
The best term to describe Donald Trump in this first debate was MEASURED. He weighed his words and responses for the most part. Kept on script without the need for Hillary’s computer/teleprompter enhanced podium and remained relatively calm, cool and collected which is exactly what he needed to be and do to assure those Independents and undecided Democrats that he is the right kind of leader and Commander and Chief for them. He landed one or two good punches just as Clinton achieved against him. For those supporting Trump - he won. For those who support Clinton - she won. In a few days we will know if either won over those all important undecided voters who watched the debate.
If Donald J. Trump is the Master and King of All Media I think him to be then on November 8, 2016 those Independents and undecided Dems will pull the lever for Trump.