Well, I was wrong to worry that the dirty tricksters would find a way to "Muskie" Joe Biden. He did fine -- as well as could be expected, given the person with whom he shared a stage.
I did not, and will not, see the entire debate. Fifteen minutes is enough. I'd rather have my balls electrocuted than witness the rest.
Last night, Trump transcended mere Trumpiness. Like the Roman emperors of old, he became a deity. He is now the divus Trumpus, God of Obnoxiousness, and his name shall be invoked every time a hyper-macho asshole quaffs a couple of six-packs and punches his wife.
I see no need for any further debates. Politico has it right:
In some ways it can be entertaining to see politicians drop all pretense and start hurling their own waste at each other like primates at the zoo. But the intensity and unrelenting nature of the rudeness quickly ceased to be interesting and became simply depressing.
Republicans think we hate Trump due to his policies. It ain't policy; it's personality. Not so long ago, Donald Trump was a Clinton supporter -- and even then we hated him, due to his vulgarity and egomania and craziness and all-around ickiness.
Since Trump has yet to start a needless war, one may prefer his policies to Dubya's. But at least the Bush family knows how to behave in public. Give them that.
This is your president on drugs. One undecided voter compared the debate to trying to “win an argument with a crackhead.” That insight has the profundity of the unspoken obvious. I've never used illegal drugs, but I've met a number of substance abusers. It was clear to me that the president was on...something.
Adderall seems a likely guess. Methamphetamine. Have you ever had to deal with a crazed meth-head? It can be terrifying.
That's what I saw last night: Not only was Trump a motor-mouthed maniac, he fidgeted uncontrollably when Chris Wallace tried to admonish him. Excess currents of electricity zoomed through Trump's system, causing his face to jerk and his muscles to spasm. The dude was wired. And weird.
Yet he also reminded me of the conspiracy buffs I knew back in the '90s. Specifically, he seemed very reminiscent of Milton William Cooper, the paranoia maestro whom historians will list as Trump's direct spiritual ancestor. Cooper -- who shot a cop and died in a volley of return fire -- has been described by his own daughter as a "violent alcoholic" and "mentally ill." Yet even Cooper knew more about civilized behavior than does the current president of the United States. I guess winos are more civilized than speed freaks.
Cooper ALWAYS SPOKE IN ALL CAPS and never let anyone else utter more than ten consecutive words. Being in his sick presence filled one with a queasy, uneasy sense of horror; one writer compared the experience to watching a wasp saunter across an infant's cheek.
That's the feeling we all got from last night's debate.
Of course, Coop wasn't the only one who acted like that. Insane paranoia-pushers of his ilk invariably think that they've won a verbal joust if they bellow and bully and prevent all others from completing a sentence. They think that acting like assholes makes them alpha.
But assholes are not alpha. God put assholes in back. An asshole does not emit wisdom; it emits farts and feces.
When I hobnobbed with all of those noted paranoids back in the 1990s, I got to know their secrets. The number one secret: Drugs. Dealers have plenty of free time to track the Illuminati.
Today, Trump's most fervent followers live in areas where meth and opiates have become massive problems. West Virginians adore both dillies and Donnie, both O bombs and Q drops. Not a coincidence.
Although I've seen no academic research on the topic, instinct and experience tell me that there must be a connection between conspiracism and substance abuse. I've often argued that paranoia is a form of addiction. One form may rise from another.
"Calling all Nazis!" The most terrifying moment came when Trump clearly signaled the Proud Boys and other white supremacists to enforce his illegal re-election through street violence. Trump has never been so explicit in his fascism.
Although the Proud Boys pretend not to be Nazis, the truth is obvious to anyone who looks:
“Let’s not bullshit,” Brian Brathovd, aka Caeralus Rex, told his co-hosts on the antisemitic The Daily Shoah — one of the most popular alt-right podcasts. If the Proud Boys “were pressed on the issue, I guarantee you that like 90% of them would tell you something along the lines of ‘Hitler was right. Gas the Jews.’”
Bloomberg's ads team should publicize that quote, along with QAnon's revival of the blood libel, The Protocols and other examples of anti-Semitism. Ads linking Trumpism to Nazism should become ubiquitous in Florida.
The Trumpers think that braying their support for Israel protects them against the charge of anti-Semitism. I believe that they mis-read the feelings of American Jews, who like the idea of Israel as an emergency bolt-hole if the shit hits the fan. But they don't want the shit to hit the fan, and they don't want to bolt. Although they may not like to admit it out loud, American Jews know the truth: If the virus of Hitlerism infects the United States, relocation to a small scrap of easily-nuked real estate on the Mediterranean will offer no protection whatsoever.
When speaking to American Jews, Trump keeps referring to Israel as "Your country." That's code. It's another way of saying Juden raus.
This just in. The brilliant D-Jay sent in his debate observations. The words below the asterisks are his; I shall return after he has his say.
* * *
Phew! Depending on how it’s said, it’s an expression that can have two different meanings.
Said with a long exhale of breath and a rub of the brow, it means something like, “Thank God! We dodged a bullet on that one.”
Said in a more questioning way, however, it can stand in for, “What the f--k was that?!”
After last night’s debate, both apply.
Thank God that Joe didn’t blow it. None of our worst hand-wringing liberal fears were realized. He didn’t make any stupid gaffs. He didn’t get overly flustered (especially in light of the unrelenting shitstorm thrown his way.) He might have looked a bit tired at times, but never exhausted. He was coherent, made some excellent points and threw a few good counterpunches of his own.
None of Trump’s attempted smears stuck – and no sign yet of Joseph’s “Great Smear.”
Trump being Trump. What a maniac! If he isn’t the most odious and obnoxious man ever to appear on a TV screen, I can’t imagine who is.
He might have made big points with the Proud Boys and his other white supremacist fans, but he certainly didn’t win any votes among undecided white suburban women and other citizens he is allegedly courting.
Clearly, he wasn’t electioneering. No, he was continuing to set things up for a post ballot theft of the presidency (his second – IMHO.)
That scares the bejesus out of me and, as Joseph has suggested, we all need to think long and hard about this and keep on planning our countermeasures.
My take on that will be the topic of another posting, however.
For now, let’s focus on debates.
They can changes some votes, and for now, the best way to pry Trump out of the White House is for Joe to have a truly overwhelming victory – one so large it is undeniable on the night of Nov. 3rd and deprives Donald of the chance to move against the mail-in ballots to be counted later.
With that in mind, Joe did okay, but I for one thought that he could have hit back harder with some short, very sharp retorts on the many occasions when Trump got too far off the rails.
A few humble suggestions, in the event that any future debates do go forward:
$750! $750! $750! That’s what HE paid in federal income tax. What did YOU pay?
This is a PRESIDENTIAL debate! If you’re finished with your Mussolini imitation, why don’t you act like an AMERICAN president for once in your life.
Okay, Mr. Alpha Monkey. If you’re finished overcompensating for whatever it is you’re so insecure about, can we get back to the PRESIDENTIAL debate?
200,000 Americans dead, and this is how you act! What a disgrace!
You want to talk about MY college record? At least I didn’t have to pay anyone to take my tests for me.
Fake news? That term was invented to describe YOUR constant stream of lies and BS. And it still applies perfectly to YOU!
Again? Another one of Vladimir Putin’s talking points. I’m sure your master in Moscow is delighted with your performance.
Nothing’s coming out of your mouth tonight but Putin talking points. Is he the one you owe that $400 million to? No wonder you’re always kissing his behind!
* * *
In the words of others. Cannon again. Charles Pierce offers some quotable words on the debate:
It was pure fascism, right down to the set of his chin that he stole from Mussolini, but it was fascism at the behest of a career failure who was sending out a call for anyone else with a sense of failure and a long gun. Continuing to treat this man as a president*, to grant him the privilege of two more debates and, therefore, two more opportunities to gather his forces, is to betray the very idea of democracy. He wants a race war. He wants a civil war. He wants to bring it all down and get rich selling off the wreckage.
There are already patches being sold to the cultists.
No more debates. Call off these freak shows before everything dies.
Let's look at a few other observations. Seth Abramson:
I don't have much interest in criticizing Biden's debate performance, as he was in the impossible spot of trying to debate an insufferable monster. But it's certainly amazing how much was left on the table and unsaid. Afghan bounties. "Losers and suckers." Tax evasion. Much more.
The key isn't just to raise these topics, but to raise them in an organized, clear, forceful way. That didn't happen, largely because of Trump's conduct. There *have* to be *significant* changes in the debate format—which Trump violated—or Biden should not continue debating.This cry has been heard:
The Commission on Presidential Debates speaks: pic.twitter.com/rhaf0SaPZ5— Francesca Chambers (@fran_chambers) September 30, 2020
“Biden won because no person whose judgment isn’t warped by hate and fear could watch Trump and see a normal person they would want for a neighbor, coworker, or friend—let alone as a president to whom they’d entrust w/the future of their family or country”David Corn has the perfect riposte to journalists playing the "both sides" game:
To all those newspapers with headlines proclaiming the debate was chaotic and disorderly without tying that to Trump: If a man runs into a house, throws gasoline everywhere, and lights a match, the headline should be "Arsonist Attacks Home," not "Fire Breaks Out."Louise Mensch:
Republicans ought to be the Ashamed BoysGeorge Conway:
Imagine debating a monkey that just makes noises and throws poop.Responses: "We don't have to imagine" and "monkeys run out of poop."