Liveblogging Clinton v. Godzilla

Standing by.Eleven minutes to go.

Really too bad that the Commission insisted on questions from a moderator rather than mano-a-mano, Lincoln-Douglas style.

A friend today said what I think is true: Trump is the logical conclusion of a generation of the Republicans telling the voters that (1) everything is crooked; (2) intermediaries and experts are not to be trusted; and (3) there’s no actual distinction between truth and falsehood, merely “our side” and “their side” Let me leave that as the overture to tonight’s opera.

Holt tells the evening’s first whopper: that the Commission is “non-partisan.” It’s actually bi-partisan, which is not at all the same thing.

Clinton comes out with a broad smile, Trump with a nasty smirk. They shake hands. Clinton does not try to embarrass him by forcing him to withdraw first.

First question: a dim nothingburger about “jobs.” Clinton mostly reframes it into her laundry list. Trump apparently isn’t aware he’s on split-screen, looks astoundingly sour.

Trump: Mexico, China: “our jobs are fleeing the country.” Clinton looks reasonably serene. Trump claims to agree with Clinton on child care. Tax cuts.

Trump has the sniffles.  Doing lines to get coked up to debate might not have been a good idea.

[Update: Howard Dean came up with the same joke, only he wasn’t joking. There are obvious follow-up jokes: How do you know it wasn’t meth he’d been snorting? Did the Trump Foundation pay for the blow? But in fact I’m aware of no reason to think that Trump indulges or has indulged in forbidden chemicals, and saw no behavioral evidence he’d done so last night. He was just being Trump. He was even more Trump this morning, denying on Fox that the sniffling – which went on, very noticeably, all evening – had even happened.

Hillary has decided it’s going to be “Donald” and “Hillary.” Mistake?

[Update: Mistake obviously mine. She was baiting him by referring to him as if he were a naughty child, and it worked. If you’re running for President and planning a debate, don’t hire me as a coach.]

Clinton gets in the first zinger: “Trumped-up trickle-down.” Contrasts her small-businessman father with Trump’s background of wealth. Seems to be doing well so far.

Hold asks Trump for specifics.

Trump gabbles about Mexico’s VAT. Point not clear to me; I doubt the voters got it. “We are twenty billion dollars.” Not clear what that means. $20B in debt? Trump says he can stop companies from leaving the country; I think he’s threatening punitive tariffs on companies that outsource.

Clinton confident, in charge of the facts.

Trump interrupts Clinton to deny that he said that global warming is a Chinese hoax. Pretty sure he’s lying.

[Update: Yes, he was lying.]

Trump says Obama has doubled the debt. Sounds to me like a fast-talking salesman. I don’t think this is working for him. Another sniffle.

Trump says Clinton has been at this for thirty years. Clinton asserts the prosperity of the 1990s. Trump interrupting again.

Trump yelling and interrupting about NAFTA.

“Donald, I know you live in your own reality.”

Trump tries to get Clinton to criticize Obama. Fails.

One of these candidates seems capable.

One of these candidates seems personable.

The other has orange hair.

Trump yelling again.

Clinton invites viewers to go to the fact-check on her website.

Trump is now interrupting Holt. Not great tactics.

Basic impression so far: Trump is ignorantly angry. Clinton is serenely competent.

Trump is talking about repatriating overseas earnings, but you’d have to know about that to understand what’s he’s saying, and if you do know about it you’d know he’s full of it.

Trump keeps interrupting. Holt eventually shushes him. Clinton laughing at Trump as Trump scowls.

Holt calls out Trump on taxes. Trump uses the “audit’ dodge. Holt calls him on it. Trump brings up the emails. Trumpeters in the audience cheer, against the rules.

Clinton came loaded for bear, gives Trump both barrels.

Trump still sniffling. Cllinton’s mike going in and out.

Clinton gives a reasoned answer on race. Trump rants about “law and order,” demands “stop and frisk.” Paints minority communities as war zones. Clinton ready with numbers on the great crime decline.

Trump gets the history of stop and frisk wrong; cut back 95% under Bloomberg. Also claims murder is up in NYC under deBlasio. That’s simply false.

Holt hammers Trump on birtherism. Trump tells the lie about the Clinton campaign starting it. Imagines that a McClatchey reporter has the last name “McClatchey.” Hillary is just laughing at him. Nails him with his old race-discrimination suit.Trump brags that he opened a golf club that didn’t discriminate. Does he want a medal?

Holt raises the cyber question, Clinton tries to nail Trump on inviting Putin’s hacking. Doesn’t do so especially skilfully, but Trump mostly babbles in reply.

Q on ISIS. Trump does “take the oil.” Clinton explains why withdrawing from Iraq was made necessary by the Iraqi refusal to continue the SOFA. Sounds, again, as if she knows what she’s talking about.

Clinton’s betting  odds are up 5% since this started; Trump is down 5%. I think the cake is baked. Unless something startling happens, I’m going to end this here, and finally get a decent night’s sleep for the first time in three weeks.

After-action report  Trump and his supporters have decided to double down on delusion by pretending he won the debate, but in fact – as predictedhe got schlonged. There was blood coming out of his whatever.

So that leaves a question: If HRC sends Donald Trump a bill for cleaning his clock, will Trump just stiff her, or pay it out of Foundation funds?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

12 thoughts on “Liveblogging Clinton v. Godzilla”

  1. My fantasy debate goes like this. Each candidate would have 30 minutes to respond to each question. Not exactly expecting this to come to pass on Monday:

    Moderator: This question is for you first, Mr. Trump, and then to Secretary Clinton. It concerns the role of President as Commander in Chief, and the quote you are to comment on comes from a letter James Madison wrote in 1793, beginning with a direct quote from Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution:

    "The president shall be commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia when called into the actual service of the United States."

    "There can be no relation worth examining between this power and the general power of making treaties. And instead of being analogous to the power of declaring war, it affords a striking illustration of the incompatibility of the two powers in the same hands. Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded. They are barred from the latter functions by a great principle in free government, analogous to that which separates the sword from the purse, or the power of executing from the power of enacting laws."

    It is apparent from this letter that Madison thought that the President, who is to conduct a war, cannot be a proper or safe judge whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded. As Commander in Chief, would you be willing to cede those powers back to the Congress, which the framers of the Constitution considered to be vested in the legislature? If not, how would you justify your departure from the original intent of the framers?

    Followup question, this time for Secretary Clinton first and then for Mr. Trump: in a separate letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1798, Madison wrote:

    "The Constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, & most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature. "

    How will you, as President, defer the question of war to the Legislature?

    (In case anyone wonders, the quotes are from these sources:… )

  2. Lincoln-Douglas style today would result in an endless stream of questions along the lines of "When are you going to stop beating your wife?"

  3. "Trump gabbles about Mexico’s VAT" Both Hillary and Trump seem to think that the answer to other countries screwing their consumers is for us to screw our consumers. For me, this simply disqualifies both of them, if not the whole nation-state concept itself. Only nations operate this way. States and provinces do not restrict trade with other states or provinces. Cities do not restrict trade with other cities. Trade pacifies the world. The state is an artifact of war and a cause of war because war strengthens the state apparatus and the elite who get to run it and feed off of it.

  4. We all saw his awesome negotiating skills in action. He will soon have the Chinese eating out of his hand when he is president.

  5. Trump mentioned Douglas MacArthur during the debate; clearly this is his idea of an ideal military man. Too bad that hardly anyone would have understood the contrast if Hillary had come back with praise for General of the Army George C. Marshall, who, during WW2, wore on his uniform none of the ribbons and decorations he had earned during WW1. He did not think it fitting to display honors he thought should be given to the men he was sending into combat. The vain and preening MacArthur, who was all set to launch WW3 before Truman fired him, represents Trump's values rather well. Joe McCarthy attacked Marshall, who was Eisenhower's hero, with the help of Roy Cohn, Trump's idea of what a lawyer should be all about. Most fitting.

    1. MacArthur had some Trump scale disasters on his record, like the defense of the Philippines and his total disregard for Australian casualties trying to get over the Owen-Stanley Mountains, and he certainly allowed his vanity to get the best of him on numerous occasions, especially during the reconquest of the Philippines. On the other hand, he had campaigns of brilliance that Trump can't even begin to aspire to: the operations along the north coast of New Guinea kept the Japanese constantly wrong-footed, and the assault at Inchon completely changed the Korean War. On the whole, as narcissistic and dangerous to democracy as he was, MacArthur deserves better than to be compared to Trump.

      1. Ah. I did not intend to say that MacArthur was like Trump; I was trying to say that Trump is unlike Eisenhower. Our choice of heroes is a reflection of our own value system.

        Coulda been worse. He might have mentioned Curtis LeMay!

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