Dershowitz... said he is well-suited for the role “if they were looking for a loudmouth New Yorker. Of course I would do it if asked — I think I could do a pretty good Donald Trump impression....”It's not like casting the role for a movie! I should think the key would be making the kinds of statements and arguments that might come up. I suppose part of it is creating the feeling of the opponent's presence, especially if there was concern that your candidate could be intimidated or provoked. But I have the feeling Hillary Clinton is so used to standing her ground and making her points and keeping her standard expression that imitating Trump's bluster is not very important.
And it could even backfire. Let's say you take somebody — Dershowitz, perhaps — who hates Trump and is disgusted by him. Now, he thinks he can embody that object of his contempt. Is he really going to create the effect that the real Trump will present on stage at that debate or will he give Hillary a false sense of her opponent as someone who can be fought in ways that won't look right when the real event happens? She might get the idea that tilting her head back and smirking and occasionally shaking her head or laughing will get us viewers on her side. But he's going to have a fake Hillary to practice with and he'll have worked out some strategies. Can Dershowitz — through the fog of contempt — perceive what these will be and provide her with an opportunity to work out an effective style?
A couple days ago, I said "Watch out for Nice Trump. What will Hillary do if Nice Trump arrives on the scene?" And in the comments Left Bank of the Charles said: "As for Hillary, I'm sure she'd love it if Nice Trump shows up for the debates. But I'd advise her to expect the rope-a-dope."
So... she might prepare for the blustery jackass of the Trump hater's fever dreams, then be surprised by a kinder, gentler Trump. But if Nice Trump arrives on the debate set, it may be a trick to lure her into debating the wrong way, and late in the debate — perhaps when she's tired (or getting too comfortable) — he may surprise her in some unpredictable way.
On CNN's "State of the Union" yesterday, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook said they haven't come up with someone to play Donald Trump in the mock debates. The moderator Dana Bash tried to get him to talk about the "incredibly delicate task" — which I think referred to confronting Hillary with very negative material, such as her lying and her husband's treatment of women. But Mook just used the question as an opportunity to attack Trump:
It's very hard to find someone to mimic the reckless temperament and the hateful instincts and divisive instincts of Donald Trump.... The challenge is finding someone who -- who can recreate the kind of reckless temperament, the kind of hateful language and divisive language that's become Trump's hallmark.But it's funny that Dershowitz is eagerly waving his hand and saying me! me!
Dershowitz has a new book, "Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for Unaroused Voters." And if you enjoy that pun, let me guess: You are over 70 and not a woman. But if you are under 50 and a Hillary supporter, it might be just the thing to trigger you into thinking yes, this is the jerk who can play Trump.
ADDED: There's no reason to do a mock debate with someone acting like the Trump people won't like. If that's the Trump who shows up for the real thing, he'll hurt himself. Imagine the best Trump, the one who can win the election. That's what he's trying to do right now. You don't want to get caught flat-footed, like Obama in the first debate in 2012.