March 3, 2016

About tonight's debate, Chris Wallace likens his moderator role to that of a referee at a boxing match.

"I’m a fight fan, and when you watch a referee in a match, even if the fighters are tangled up, if they’ve each got a free arm and are still punching, the ref will let them keep fighting. It’s only when they get completely tangled up that he makes them break the clinch and start again. That’s my feeling about it."

And, referring to the last debate: "I thought that if you could see someone acting like a president on the stage, you have better eyesight than I do. Having said that, in the end, if the candidates want to act like damn fools, I’m not going to stop them."

That's quoted in the NYT article "Fox Moderators to Face Donald Trump in Thursday’s Debate." (Ha! Funny headline. The vector of who's facing whom is reversed. It's the moderators who have to face Trump, not Trump facing them.)

It should be noted that Megyn Kelly is back, and Trump seems ready to take questions from the woman he may have accused of menstruating.

I wanted to link to my old post discussing Trump's enigmatic old wisecrack "blood coming out of her wherever" — at the time, I just said "He went menstrual on her" — and my search of the archive, using the terms "megyn" and "blood," caused me to discover something that perhaps no one has yet noticed. Trump's mind went to "blood" the day after the debate, but during the debate itself, the word "blood" appeared in a very vivid context.

Megyn Kelly said she wanted to know if any of the candidates had "received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first." She asked Ted Cruz and then Kasich and finally turned to Scott Walker, who said:
I'm certainly an imperfect man. And it's only by the blood of Jesus Christ that I've been redeemed from my sins. So I know that God doesn't call me to do a specific thing, God hasn't given me a list, a Ten Commandments, if you will, of things to act on the first day. What God calls us to do is follow his will. And ultimately that's what I'm going to try to do.
At the time, I said:
Nicely done, I think. Sincerely religious, complete with "the blood of Jesus Christ," but manifested in public life in ways that are not noticeably different from being a kind, decent person in a way that works for people of any religion or no religion.
Words stick in your mind and recirculate into new contexts. It occurs to me now that Trump's striking use of "blood" the next day came not from thoughts of women on their period but the dramatic image of blood that was Scott Walker's go-to reaction when asked about religion. I wonder what Trump thought about the man who stood right next to him that night last August and spoke so directly and openly in the kind of stark religious words that Trump — for all his blunt speech — decorously eschews.

But Scott Walker is long gone and we're many debates down the road from that night last August...



... and there will be far fewer men on the stage tonight. We're not down to 2, so it's not quite the boxing match that the metaphorical mind of Chris Wallace envisioned, but there will be blood.

And by the way, what is the origin of the phrase "there will be blood"? Who said it first? Was it Daniel Day-Lewis?



Oh, no! It was GOD:
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'"

40 comments:

David Begley said...

Expect references to Trump's awesome Vietnam experience.

Cruz, Rubio and Kelly will cut Trump to ribbons tonight. He will lash out.

AprilApple said...

I wonder if Trump can act like an adult? I doubt it. I wonder if he can signal that he is willing to study up on, you know, actual subjects. The last debate was an embarrassment for him. He was a repetitive dear-in-the-headlights robot on the issue of heath care. Of course on the issue of heath care, Trump has been on every side of the issue, including pro-single payer.

David Hampton said...

My money is on Trump. You can't street fight Trump when the opposition is more worried about their hair styles, Ferragamo shoes, and custom suits from Men's Wear House. They don't have a taste for blood...Trump does with beer not Pinot.

tim in vermont said...

So how racist is it that we don't have a Dr Ben what's his name dropped out thread?

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Yes. And FOX is the fight promoter. Nothing to be proud of.

Laslo Spatula said...

"I thought that if you could see someone acting like a president on the stage, you have better eyesight than I do."

Maybe they can try asking questions worthy of those for a President.

It's not debate anymore, it is hazing.

I am Laslo.

Meade said...

Black dropouts don't matter?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone...

...and in vessels of female debate moderators...

Tank said...

Kelly should show integrity and recuse herself as a distraction from the important business of selecting a President.

Romney only had to deal with Crowley and Zero.

Trump will have Cruz, Rubio, Kasich and three Fox Establishment prostitutes all against him. Interesting. In how many ways will each of them try to "catch" the Donald.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

If the Swedes promise Trump the next Nobel Peace Prize, would he just quit and go away?

Tank said...

First question: Raise your hand if you will support Donald Trump if he is the nominee.

Ann Althouse said...

"I wonder if Trump can act like an adult?"

He can. The question is whether he decides that tonight is the night for him to play Adult in the Room (a role John Kasich chose for himself in the last debate). Trump still must squelch Rubio and Cruz and he hasn't yet seen whether either of them or both will decide on the Adult in the Room gambit. I think perhaps all 4 men will go for an elevated presidential demeanor. If so, it will be funny to see how it looks on each of them.

Writ Small said...

We're not down to 2, so it's not quite the boxing match that the metaphorical mind of Chris Wallace envisioned. . .

Until we're down to two, it is difficult to imagine an event, much less a debate, that is going to change the vote dynamics. It is simple math. To stop Trump, Cruz or Rubio must exit. Given that there are far more cross-over voters between Cruz and Trump than Rubio and Trump, Rubio stepping aside is the logical if counter-intuitive choice.

Brando said...

""I wonder if Trump can act like an adult?"

He can. "

Er--he can, if everyone is nice to him and sufficiently shows deference to him as alpha male. When have you ever seen him show grace when slighted?

Brando said...

"First question: Raise your hand if you will support Donald Trump if he is the nominee. "

No chance they will not ask that.

traditionalguy said...

Was that from Gangs of New York? Great movie.

Scripture says the life is in the blood, but blood needs to stay inside of the living. When blood is shed, then a death has likely occurred, and call it's time to in the blood spatter Forensic File experts.

Borders/ walls are like skin that keeps our blood inside of us where it belongs.

And female blood does not belong in Combat Units. It is better used creating new men.

Incidentally, the Donald values blood shed by USA's Veterans over the Megyn Kelly slaughter house fake blood put on by Ailes at Fox. NO other candidate did that at all. No, Santorum and Huckaby showed up.

Bobby said...

AprilApple,

"I wonder if [Trump] can signal that he is willing to study up on, you know, actual subjects."

^This.

I know most voters don't care about the nuances of foreign policy and national security in large part because they know that they themselves don't know the subject material very well. But for me, the clock is ticking on Trump's promise to be "so good at the military thing" that he'll "make [our] heads spin" and his assertion that he "knows more about ISIS than the Generals do."

I mean, I get it- he's a successful businessman and reality television star, so we can't expect him to have a grasp on these particular details that we would expect from others on the stage who are more intimately involved with the craft. But if he's serious about running our national security and foreign policy, I'd expect him to, you know, crack open some books, bring onboard some knowledgeable advisors, maybe learn about some of the basics (like, you should at least be able to define the nuclear triad).

Most Americans can't identify Syria or the Spratly Islands on the map, so I know they don't really care much about US policy there and are easily seduced by candidates who simply promise they'll be "strong" or they will "win" (whatever that means). I'm neither a conservative nor a liberal- Trump can win my vote more easily than any of the others still left in the race- but he's going to have to show me that he's at least willing to try and learn some of the important subject material.

I imagine health care policy wonks, legal wonks, etc. etc., are going to want to see something similar in their particular spheres of influence.

Phil 3:14 said...

Trump has drunk many of his opponents milkshakes.

Laslo Spatula said...

Ron Jeremy, Presidential Debate Moderator:

"How many of you have had a threesome? No one? Really? I've had hundreds, myself. Cruz, I get: religious man. And -- well -- there are his looks. Not threesome bait. And Rubio: I get you might not want to answer that, especially if the threesome was all men and all. But not even you, Donald? With THAT money? I find THAT hard to believe..."

"How many here can suck their own cock? Again: no one? Because I can suck my own cock. Have done it on film, even. Have any of you even TRIED to suck your own cock? C'mon: what teenage boy hasn't tried to suck their own cock, just once? No one, really...?"

"Who here has slept with an underage girl? I mean, not on purpose: like, I fucked this girl for a film, then I found out she was only seventeen. How was I to know? Has that happened to any of you? You bang the chick, and it turns out she lied about being eighteen? Or, Marco: you can count a sixteen-year-old boy in this scenario, that's all right. C'mon, you can admit it: none of you are Mitt Romney, am I right...?"

"How many here have had an STD? Because, when you work in the porn industry, it comes with the territory. How about on the campaign trail? Are there skanky girls -- or boys, Marco, it can be boys -- with cold sores on the trail, waiting in hotel rooms, who leave you with a burning sensation? Any of you itching right now, desperate to keep from scratching..."

"No one? If no one here is going to answer any of my questions I might as well be President, myself..."

I am Laslo.

Birkel said...

traditionalguy just tries so damned hard, to no avail.

Give me Laslo or give me death by hard-on.

M Jordan said...

Shakespeare has a line about blood similar: Macbeth says, "It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood." William Goldman, in "The Princess Bride," has this from his beloved character Inido Montoya: "There will be blood tonight."

Brando said...

"I know most voters don't care about the nuances of foreign policy and national security in large part because they know that they themselves don't know the subject material very well. But for me, the clock is ticking on Trump's promise to be "so good at the military thing" that he'll "make [our] heads spin" and his assertion that he "knows more about ISIS than the Generals do.""

He's staying vague so that he can make any pivot necessary in the general election (and of course not be held to any standard if he gets elected). I mean, who is against winning? Who is against "beating" ISIS? But once you have to say whether you'll send up to 100K troops to the Mid-east, or once you have to explain how high tariffs on foreign goods won't wreck our economy, well that's just not convenient.

Keep in mind this is a man whose success is based on leasing out his name to any venture willing to pay him. It's smart, in the same way Paris Hilton or the Kardashians are smart. It does suggest a lot about his understanding of business and his scruples, though.

Bobby said...

Brando,

I don't disagree with you, and perhaps I'm being too much of a nihilist here, but I don't think that voters themselves can get very passionate about things for which they themselves are not at least minimally informed. Trump's lack of foreign policy or national security understanding means very little to them because they know so little (and can't be interrupted from their television to learn) about it themselves. For some of them, it's actually a positive - his ignorance is a celebration of their own ignorance.

And so their stock answer tends to be "our current national security is a joke!" or "our foreign policy has been a disaster for decades!"... Because, you know, apparently that's a good answer.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

The blood of the firstborn or selected children terminated during abortion rites and cannibalistic trials. Out, damned spot.

Paddy O said...

I imagine health care policy wonks, legal wonks, etc. etc., are going to want to see something similar in their particular spheres of influence.

Trouble is there's not enough of these people who care, and when they mention issues they get dismissed about how Trump really is an expert on these things because he's a smart real estate developer.

Bobby said...

Paddy O,

Agreed. But I don't know if there's any way to change that. I feel like we're reaping precisely the results of the electorate that we have sown.

Fernandinande said...

Oh, no! It was GOD:

God doesn't speak English.

"there will be blood" has one of the the strangest ngrams I've seen.

Browndog said...

It's easy to see a scenario where Trump implodes tonight, and his candidacy spirals into oblivion.

It's easier, for me, to see a scenario where he bucks conventional wisdom, and pulls it off yet again...still.

Dan Hossley said...

I guess I missed Megyn Kelly's question about candidates hearing directly from God. No wonder Trump went after her. Her question in loaded with assumptions (mostly bad) about Christians.

Someone should have taken her apart on that slur.

BrianE said...

I watched part of the last debate (on CNN) and it was disgraceful. CNN for their part were cheering on the lunchroom food fight, since it added one more talking point about all the R candidates not being fit for the presidency.

Wallace needs to do a better job as referee. When the three are talking over each other, that is the clinch and he needs to forcefully step in and restore order.

This isn't a boxing match and his analogy is flawed and the RNC should come up with a new format. This one isn't helping.

Larry J said...

If the moderators did their real job, no one would even know their names. They'd just be people who asked the candidates questions. Any time a moderator makes themselves part of the news story, they've failed.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

Big fight at CPAC between Rubio and Trump.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid loves Ted Cruz!

What is going on in the secret war?

Will outsider #2 join outsider #1 as they struggle to become insiders? Or will underdog Rubio upset the applecart?

Who will unite this fractured party? And why is Harry Reid so mad at Marco Rubio?

jr565 said...

Megan Kelly should ask Trump the same exact question she did the first time about his constant attacks on bimbos. It seems to be his go to attack whenever someone questions him on explaining where he's coming from. They are losers. Or bimbos. Or stupid. But never answering the question.
Meghyn, ask him the question again. Add to it all the other times he reacted out of anger and insulted the questioner rather than address the point. It might mean that he is not so much a sexist so much as a boor. But still, he either learned from it or will act in kind again.
He is going to have to answer the questions at some point, especially in the general. Even if Trumpbots want us to gloss over anything he says and simp,y give him the nomination.

Show us that he can actually build bridges by doing something as simple as acting like all the other candidates and address his argument.

jr565 said...

Harry Reid had the following to say:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday he’s “kind of pulling” for Donald Trump to win the GOP’s presidential nomination, agreeing with the billionaire businessman that they used to work well together.

The Nevada Democrat said Mr. Trump even held “a fundraiser or two for me” in previous years, and said they’ve “gotten along fine.”

yeah there is that. Not just ONE fundraiser, but a few fundraisers. Including one for Harry Reid when he was being attacked by a tea party candidate. And trump put his money behind Reid. It's not true that he is just a business man and so puts his money behind everyone, since he didn't in fact back the Tea Prtier. But never you mind, Trumbots. They should in no way influence our support of Trump over other candidates. Is this what he means by doing some really great deals?
Also, let's consider the source. Do you think Reid is not salivating at the idea that trump might actually be the nominee so that he can ping him with trump university scam stories all day long? Or play endless race cards because trump hates all Mexicans and Muslims. And loves white supremacists. Even if none of that is true, that is the attack that Reid and the democrats will bring. So consider the source, when he says he's kind of pulling for trump.
If Reid says Rubio is the worst, I'd go Rubio simply because Reid is saying he's the worst. Reid doesn't want the repub to win. If he has kind words for trump it's because he knows trump is is in the toilet nationally. And will get clobbered. He's giving trump the rope since he assumes trump will hang himself with it. And hang the rest of the republicans while he's at it.

FullMoon said...

Brando said...

....Keep in mind this is a man whose success is based on leasing out his name to any venture willing to pay him. It's smart, in the same way Paris Hilton or the Kardashians are smart. It does suggest a lot about his understanding of business and his scruples, though.


That's right. And, from what I hear, flipping houses or building hotels with million dollar penthouses and a golf course or something trivial like resorts or something.Employing thousands of people.
But, mainly, from licensing his name, like you said. Like Paris Hilton, or the Kardashians.

Chris N said...

I saw There Will Be Blood with a girl who'd been involved with a guy who'd worked with Paul Thomas Anderson on production.

Word is he grew up in the Valley with a kind of movie-centric, Hollywood's-eye view.

Might help in explaining the Capitalist Oil-Man Milkshake-Drinker vs the wormy, disingenuous Preacher looking for redemption in a Manichean, Manifest Destiny struggle across the Continent at each other's throats.

Messed-up family stuff, redemption, ambition, greed and lots of biblical references etc...

Weirdly California, bro.

Chris N said...

As a child, one-time in the car, on the way to a funeral, I remember the wife of a pretty important lawyer talking about her side-work and abiding interest in healing crystal energies.

California!

Nowadays, it's probably gluten.

Chris N said...

Me, I prefer watching puffed-up NYC real-estate barons with QVC-level, gilt-leafed brand recognition schlonging their ways through a party which may be undergoing a fundamental re-org.

Throw-in a failed-bid, older-chool, Michigan-born, Big-Three raised, Massachussetts-based Mormon getting back into the scrap, a Florida-born and based 2nd-generation little-too-slick speechifying son of Cubans, a Canadian-born, Texas-based deeply religious Constitutionalist son of Cubans....

And it's kind of a clusterf**k right now.