August 30, 2016

I was just going to lambaste the NYT for this headline, but it's changed.

I'm looking at something my son John put up on Facebook 9 hours ago...



... and I'm snarking over there...
So the "research" is into how to needle him. It's positively professorial....

The headline makes HC look good and DT look bad, but why isn't it the opposite? This isn't about who's studying the policy issues more deeply.
... and thinking I need to blog it. But I click through... and the headline is...
Hillary Clinton Piles Up Research in Bid to Needle Donald Trump at First Debate
... and I've got no problem with that.
As Mrs. Clinton pores over this voluminous research with her debate team, most recently for several hours on Friday, and her aides continue searching for someone who can rattle her as a Trump stand-in during mock debates, Mr. Trump is taking the opposite tack. Though he spent hours with his debate team the last two Sundays, the sessions were more freewheeling than focused, and he can barely conceal his disdain for laborious and theatrical practice sessions.

“I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Mr. Trump said in an interview last week. “It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony — like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”
I don't think we really know who's doing what and who thinks what. I think we only know what the NYT chooses to say about how 2 campaigns choose to frame their candidate's attitude toward debates. Both the NYT and the campaigns are trying to influence how we think about the candidates. Hillary's people want you to think she's a thorough and hard worker and that Trump has flaws that she's going to skillfully extract and display for us when the debate finally happens. And Trump's people want you to think he's efficient and direct and doesn't need to develop a special show for the occasion, like Hillary, so get ready to see honest, capable Trump and big phony Hillary.

Let me collect 2 things that are spaced apart in the article (boldface added):
Mrs. Clinton, a deeply competitive debater, wants to crush Mr. Trump on live television, but not with an avalanche of policy details; she is searching for ways to bait him into making blunders....

Mr. Trump’s certitude — “I know how to handle Hillary,” he said — reflects his belief that the debates will be won or lost not on policy points and mastery of details, which are Mrs. Clinton’s strengths, but on the authenticity, boldness and leadership that the nominees demonstrate onstage....
So "his belief" is the same as her belief.
These Clinton advisers agree with Mr. Trump’s belief that the debate will not be remembered as pitting a policy expert against a Washington outsider. Instead, her campaign is preparing ways for her to unnerve Mr. Trump and provoke him to rant and rave.

The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman, and those are the areas they are working with Mrs. Clinton to target.
Hmm. I don't think Trump is insecure about any of those things. But maybe those are just the areas they want him to think they are targeting, and they're really targeting something else. Or maybe provoking him to "rant and rave" is not the idea at all. Maybe they're trying to lure him into toning everything down, being boring, and not riveting the audience with the kind of attacks on Hillary that we haven't seen yet and that she can't predict and prepare for.

So, who will play the role of Donald Trump in Hillary's practice debates? What friend of the Clintons will confront her with — for example — Bill's sexual offenses and her lies and enabling in the way that approximates what Trump might do?
Mrs. Clinton’s allies have floated several options: Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, who is from Queens, where Mr. Trump grew up; James Carville, Mr. Clinton’s chief strategist in 1992, who has a gift for lacerating banter; or Mark Cuban, another billionaire businessman... At least a few old Clinton hands have suggested enlisting professional entertainers, like Jon Stewart or Alec Baldwin.
It's easy to ape Trump's bluster, but these sessions are not a comedy show for the public. And Trump has the advantage of knowing what they think of him and how they'll portray him. And he's flexible — or so he says — and likes to surprise. But Hillary's people know that, and they can try to get a step ahead. Still, Hillary is Hillary, and how can she change? What is she going to do but plant herself on the stage, maintain a steely but smiling demeanor, and deliver long flat lines that will wear most of us down to the grim realization that this is what we've going to get for the next 4 years?

61 comments:

Tim said...

Clinton is slime and it oozes over every thing in its path. the Press is and has been in bed with the Clintons since 1992.

Kevin said...

"What is she going to do but plant herself on the stage, maintain a steely but smiling demeanor, and deliver long flat lines that will wear most of down to the grim realization that this is what we've going to get for the next 4 years."

She could have a coughing fit that forces the network to abruptly cut to commercial.

AprilApple said...

Trump has all the real ammunition against corrupt money grubbing Hillary.

Will HE use it to full advantage?

Trump is not only facing Hillary, he's up against moderators who are in her corner.

Fernandinande said...

It's easy to ape

Doggist race-whistle.

EMD said...

At first, I was kind of flummoxed about Cuban being so in the tank for Clinton as he has shown previous Libertarian leanings. However, I realized he probably is into crony capitalism big time as a way to stave off competitors, and Hillary is the croniest capitalist in the race.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Not planning to watch. You couldn't pay me to watch. Well, maybe.....how much? I might be persuaded to watch. I won't listen though. Hillary's screeching harpy voice is enough to make you want to poke your eardrums out. If Chris Wallace is one of the moderators, I will want to jump through the TV screen and punch him in the throat. Smug sanctimonious prick.

These debates are not debates in any way shape or form. A debate is where the participants raise points about a topic, present facts or opinions and try to persuade the judges/voters to their viewpoint. Each topic is addressed in turn by all debaters. Instead these are just dog and pony shows with separate gotcha questions for some and fluff balls for others. Stupid questions and they aren't even addressed by both debaters.

The moderators make speeches before each question and place words in the candidates mouth to try to persuade us before the candidates get to speak for about 20 seconds. We are supposed to make a monumental decision on a 20 second sound bite?

Debates my @ss. What a joke. Nope. Not interested in watching.

Brando said...

"Hmm. I don't think Trump is insecure about any of those things."

Er, he absolutely is insecure about his wealth, intelligence, and just about everything else. If you don't see that you've been "master persuaded".

Whether Trump is dumb enough to fall for Hillary needling him at the debate, I doubt it. He knows she's going to go there (she's basically announced she's going there) so he's going to brush it off with a quip and just keep the heat on. She won't win by playing that game.

What Trump wants to avoid is a long debate, because he tends to flag if it goes long enough and he runs out of steam. A policy debate that gets in the weeds is not his strong suit. What he needs is a short (less than 2 hours preferably) debate, preferably with one of the third party candidates present, and broad enough subject matter that he can stick to general comments. Any pressing for details (e.g., an explanation of how the wall will be financed without Congressional support) is something he needs to avoid. And if Hillary is foolish enough to try and "out-Trump Trump" then all the better.

AllenS said...

Sorry, Brando, but Hillary couldn't stand in one place for 2 hours.

Brando said...

"Trump is not only facing Hillary, he's up against moderators who are in her corner."

He's also up against his own inability to stay on target. I wouldn't be surprised to see him waste debate time complaining about someone who is not on the stage.

"Debates my @ss. What a joke. Nope. Not interested in watching."

I would have said the same with almost any other pair of candidates. But watching these two former friends and complete creeps get nasty with each other makes me not want to miss it.

They do run late though, and on a work night...might be more of a youtube the next day thing.

Brando said...

"Sorry, Brando, but Hillary couldn't stand in one place for 2 hours."

Oh come on, they can prop her up against something and have her mimic human activity. And if she can't, they can just play the video in a loop.

Original Mike said...

Hillary stood during the Dem debates, didn't she?

rehajm said...

The way to beat Hillary in the debates is to playing to her weakness by putting her off balance. Literally off balance. Trump should be looking for guidance from the Cameron Crazies and the other student groups that sit behind the backboard at games.

AprilApple said...

Trump needs to sit there an hammer her on her corruption. Just. Hammer. Her.

AprilApple said...

(stand not sit)

khesanh0802 said...

I must admit that Trump"debating" scares me to death. Hillary will successful bore us to death. Donald - who knows?

There is no question Trump is a smart guy and I guess we will find out during the debates how much his "wildness" is an act and how much is so ingrained he can't control it. I will make a fearless prediction that he will control himself, that he will show more knowledge than anyone gives him credit for and given the slightest opportunity will skewer Bill's sexual misbehavior, Hillary's "extreme carelessness" handling government secrets and, of course, the Clinton Criminal Foundation.

Brando said...

"Trump needs to sit there an hammer her on her corruption. Just. Hammer. Her."

Every answer, no matter what the question is, should be "someone please explain how the Clinton Foundation wasn't a bribery scheme." And when they say it's getting repetitive, respond "yes, it is, isn't it? And yet no one can explain how it is not bribery."

rehajm said...

Trump should insist for at least one debate there be high stools without a podium or other means of additional support.

traditionalguy said...

Trump will use There you go again, Hillary. And he will talk about that Clinton Foundation Cash flows.

Her best strategy is to divide and conquer GOP women voters. So she will hit David Duke and Mexican immigrants being driven out by a Trump gestapo.

rehajm said...

Trump could offer to drop out of the race if she successfully walks a low balance beam.

Limited blogger said...

Who will 'portray' Hillary during Trump's practice sessions? Megyn Kelly?

Hagar said...

But it is a comedy show for the public.

Brando said...

Meanwhile, Obamacare continues to unravel and every news article on it has been negative. This should be a prime issue to put the Dems on the defensive this election cycle, with big GOP gains up and down the ballot. Instead we're hearing lamentations about whether Trump was ever serious about mass deportations.

Well, there's always 2020.

damikesc said...

Hillary is a terrible debater. Obama eviscerated her without trying. She was helped by having a clown like Sanders doing all he could do to not hurt her.

Who will 'portray' Hillary during Trump's practice sessions? Megyn Kelly?

A Roomba.

Balfegor said...

The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman, and those are the areas they are working with Mrs. Clinton to target.

Misdirection. She is actually going to attack the size of his hands.

That said, while Trump blusters an awful lot about his intelligence, his net worth, and his business success (The lady doth protest too much, methinks), I think Clinton's team may be falling into the trap of believing the TV special tripe about strength and insecurity. You know the stuff -- how a strength is really cowardice, true courage lies in running away, war is peace, freedom is slavery, etc. etc. And bullies are all secretly insecure and have low self-esteem:

Forget the stereotype of the dumb, insecure hulk who resorts to bullying because other kids don't like him (or her). Bullies tend to be popular with their peers and with adults, and studies have consistently demonstrated that they have a healthy, if not inflated, self-regard. Olweus noted that bullies "had unusually little anxiety or insecurity"; for boys especially, bullying is associated with being popular. Bullies do appear to have a strong need to control other people coupled with an impaired sense of empathy.

"If you give bullies self-esteem training," noted Mullin-Rindler, "all you'll get are better bullies."


I'm not sure quite how to articulate this, but I think a lot of progressives have genuinely internalised these hackneyed morality play tropes, so that they misread aggression as weakness, and weakness as strength, with unfortunate consequences, particularly in international relations. Not saying there's no misdirection at all, of course:

故能而示之不能
用而示之不用
近而示之遠
遠而示之近

But we don't live in the topsy-turvy mirror world:

守則不足
攻則有餘

Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength.

Birches said...

Agree with Brandon, Trump loses it when you talk about his wealth disparagingly. The problem for Hillary! is that they've painted him as an American oligarch, not a grifter.

rhhardin said...

They're not debates. They're traps set or not set by lefty moderators.

rhhardin said...

The traps are to get Trump to say something correct that will get him in trouble with this or that group without time to explain it.

There is no time to explain it. It's on to the next trap.

rhhardin said...

A pithy explanation might work. Feminism doesn't want a castrated male, it wants a castrated female.

Good reply to Megyn Kelly.

AprilApple said...

Of course it's all a trap. That is why the GOP - (any GOP candidate) must realize that fact, internalize that fact, and fight that fact at every opportunity by pointing it out.

AprilApple said...

@ Brando

Every answer, no matter what the question is, should be "someone please explain how the Clinton Foundation wasn't a bribery scheme." And when they say it's getting repetitive, respond "yes, it is, isn't it? And yet no one can explain how it is not bribery."

It would be so awesome.


I'm not hopeful that Trump can pull it off. His fans insist he will defeat her easily - I'm not so sure. He needs to break free of the traditional debate paradigm and his own paradigm. A tall order.

David Begley said...

AprilApple

She will respond by citing its charitable works. He better have a good reply.

AprilApple said...

David Begley -

Sure.
Where are the positive results from the Clinton Foundation charities?

Haiti is still poverty stricken. With all those hundreds of millions of dollars - something should be fixed at this point. right?

The Clinton Foundation doesn't leave money - it TAKES money, and it takes money from the dictators who rule the poorest nations on earth. That is not charity.

Erin D said...

"...deliver long flat lines that will wear most of us down to the grim realization that this is what we've going to get for the next 4 years?

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CrCdZL3UsAEXXb0.jpg

Forget about the long flat lines. I have been hit with the grim realization that this fashion is what we're going to get for the next 4 years.

Balfegor said...

Re: Erin D:

Forget about the long flat lines. I have been hit with the grim realization that this fashion is what we're going to get for the next 4 years.

I liked it better when she was wearing her dictator suit.

William said...

Trump should try gentle, whimsical humor. Every time Hillary laughs out loud, she loses another thousand votes.......Win, lose, or draw--all the commentators will say that Hillary's performance was masterful and a resounding victory. If she has a seizure and loses control of her bowels and bladder, they will point out how this solidifies her lead among the older, college educated demographic.

eric said...

I'm surprised so few people know the history of Mark Cuban and Donald Trump.

Many years ago Trump started doing the apprentice. It was a huge hit in the days when reality TV was new and up and coming. Trump was already a big name, but this just made him a household name. Trump has been rich all of his life. He comes from wealth. Mark Cuban got rich during the dot com bubble and is considered "new money".

So, Trump is doing the apprentice and Mark Cuban says to himself, anything Trump can do, I can do better. So he gets his own reality show called the benefactor. It was terrible. Just an awful show. My wife and I enjoyed it because it was so awful it was a train wreck. Sorta like watching Paris Hilton flail around in her show.

Anyway, Cuban tells a story about Trump. If my memory serves, he told the story on the show. And when he tells the story, you can see how hurt he is. He says he went to a party that Trump was hosting after he became rich. He was excited to meet Trump. But when he met Trump at the party, he scorned Mark Cuban as "new money" and treated him with disrespect.

Whatever happened between those two, in Cubans mind, Trump disrespected him and Cuban has been looking for revenge ever sense. An enterprising reporter could do a story on it. Watch the 2004 season (one and only season) of the benefactor and that'll explain Cubans views and animosity toward Trump.

Brando said...

"I'm not hopeful that Trump can pull it off. His fans insist he will defeat her easily - I'm not so sure. He needs to break free of the traditional debate paradigm and his own paradigm. A tall order."

The false confidence of his fans puzzles me--when I root for someone I want as realistic a picture as possible, so as not to get my hopes dashed (and if I'm actually involved, I want to know what it is we need to work on).

If he can stay focused and act like he wants to defeat her rather than build his post-election "brand", it's doable--this is a very vulnerable opponent! And there is plenty of material to use against generic Dems this year (ACA fallout, entitlement spending, etc.). It'd be one thing to throw away an election that couldn't have been won (I think even a more competent McCain campaign would have had a long shot against Obama) but this is just not right.

Brando said...

"She will respond by citing its charitable works. He better have a good reply."

The key would be to launch a detailed attack on it weeks before the debate, so that specific lines of attack are teed up for the debate and the public is aware of them. I can't picture Trump getting into a detailed breakdown of the Foundation's finances and ties to unsavory donors, but if this was aired out in advance he'd be able to hit it broadly throughout the debate. Make it so that it's the only thing people can talk about the next day.

Comanche Voter said...

A deeply competitive debater? Well maybe. A deeply competent debater? My bleeding tookus.


When you start from the realization that every word that comes out of Hillary's mouth is a lie, including the word's "and" and "the", it's hard to see her as a competent debater. She won't even hold a press conference for fear of having to answer an unscripted question.

eric said...

I think we are going to see a lot of laughing at trump during the debates.

My theory, soon to be proved or disproved, is that they want to make Trump into a laughingstock. They will do this by having the audience and even the moderators in on the joke. Whether it's a policy issue that trump mangles, or a tease about his hands or his hair, or something else, the whole point will be the laughter. To get everyone laughing at trump.

And it won't just be the audience and the moderators in on it either. There will be a giant, left wing conspiracy, in news rooms across the county, who will all be laughing, or saying we are all laughing, to push the narrative and make him a joke.

Will trump be able to avoid this?

Can't wait to see.

AprilApple said...

Brando -

If he can stay focused and act like he wants to defeat her rather than build his post-election "brand", it's doable--this is a very vulnerable opponent! ...

Yeah - If Trump doesn't prove he's in it to win it, to hell with him. I knew in my bones he would hand it to Hillary from the get-go. I sure wish he'd prove me wrong.

Mike said...

The "confidence" I have in Trump's debate chances rests entirely on his, and his alone, ability to go there versus Hillary. He will indict Bill's predatory behavior, her long history of lying about everything, her association with radical Muslims, her obeisance to misogynist dictators and of course the grand plum, the Global Clinton Crime Syndicates. Yes plural.

He will make the putative "fact checkers" work overtime post-debate to try and protect and prop up the dowager empress of Chase-Sachs-BofA and they will fail doing so.

Rusty said...

I think they're underestimating Trump. Once he gets the upper hand the debate will go his way.

Mike said...

The key would be to launch a detailed attack on it weeks before the debate, so that specific lines of attack are teed up for the debate and the public is aware of them.

One might say he has been doing that the last week or so, working up to the specifics that Brando's comment above bring to mind. First up is a general indictment of the Democratic party, much in the way he began his run to the Republican nomination by exposing the hypocrisy and timidness of our side.

Brando said...

"My theory, soon to be proved or disproved, is that they want to make Trump into a laughingstock. They will do this by having the audience and even the moderators in on the joke. Whether it's a policy issue that trump mangles, or a tease about his hands or his hair, or something else, the whole point will be the laughter. To get everyone laughing at trump."

They also want everyone to fear him. I don't know if that's incompatible with laughing at him. Unless what we're supposed to fear is a laughable man as president.

Before Trump even announced last year, I remember mentioning that the only way Hillary could get elected (when so many even on the left don't like her) would be to make everyone fear the Republican nominee (even if it were Jeb!) enough so she could win by default. I think that still stands--her debate strategy is to get viewers walking away thinking "Trump as president? Scary!" so they aren't thinking "Hillary as president? Awful!"

Brando said...

One thing about these debates though--they really don't matter at this point unless someone completely lays an egg on stage. After every debate, the GOP supporters always think the GOP candidate won and vice versa with the Dems--even where Obama did a poor performance in his first debate last cycle, it moved the needle only within the margin of error and the reaction of most Dems wasn't "I should consider voting for Romney" but "why didn't Obama get more aggressive?" So chances are, we'll be hearing from the left how great and poised Hillary was (and what a fighter!) and from the right about how Trump beat expectations and hit her hard. But barring a big meltdown, I don't think much will change in the horse race.

eric said...

Blogger Mike said...
The "confidence" I have in Trump's debate chances rests entirely on his, and his alone, ability to go there versus Hillary.


This will cause several reactions.

1) Boos from the planted audience.
2) tut tutting from the media afterward.

It'll be the focus of the media with the spin of how evil Trump is for going there. Full court defense of Hillary.

buwaya said...

I wonder if Trump is going to let them engineer the venue.

Audience, moderators, cameras, editing.

If I were Trump I would do my worst, be as overbearing and threatening as possible on these matters.

The media will do its "but of course it has to be this way" disingenuous act.

eric said...

Buwaya

Did you watch the Republican debates? Trump did a terrible job of having allies in the audience. Maybe he didn't know better and has learned? But during the primaries, the audience was against him.

Yancey Ward said...

Eric,

Yes, I watched those debates, and I agree with you. And yet he won the nomination anyway.

I like your theory about what the Clinton camp wants to do with the debate, I just don't it is going to work to get her elected, or even succeed in the actual goal. There are two things here that mitigate against it: the audience during the Republican debates was only about 1/10th his at best. I think the audience in the presidential debates is going to be 1/2 his- he simply won't allow it otherwise. I also don't expect any give on who gets to moderate (Romney's mistake).

Yancey Ward said...

As for who can stand in for Trump in Clinton's practice debates- James Carville is the best choice- he is only one listed who has the balls to actually deliver the attacks in Clinton's face that Trump is going to deliver.

traditionalguy said...

This is just hot air pushing the false narrative that Hillary is well prepared and spends her MIA days doing WORK. And what's more, Trump is too lazy to learn and therefore he has No Policies...well, except the myriad of his detailed policies that we attacked as wrong policies every hour of the day.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

The Donald will gut HRC on live TV. Debate audiences don't give a shit about what the debaters say, only how they say it. Trump is completely comfortable speaking off the cuff, and he is an experienced entertainer. Hillary is just awful in front of a camera. Her manner is strained and unnatural. When she makes the ad hominem attacks she seems to be planning, she will come off as a nagging bitch. I'm planning to go out and buy a DVR just so I can record the debacle.

Theranter said...

All I can say is I'm shocked daily at the MSM bias and contortions of facts--and it's even reached fever pitch on the stinkin' local news.

Even if you don't support Trump, it's revolting.

JaimeRoberto said...

Is it still racist to call someone a hard worker? I'm having a hard time keeping up with this.

tim in vermont said...

Hillary is drinking her own Kool Aide.

Drago said...

Tyrone Slothrop: "The Donald will gut HRC on live TV. Debate audiences don't give a shit about what the debaters say, only how they say it."

We live in an era where a couple of typical lefty Presidents (Shavez & Maduro) could create massive shortages of everything essential and still get reelected.

The US is already well on its way to achieving the same sort of leftist economic "miracle".

Drago said...

Chavez

AprilApple said...

That's why I call her the She-Chavez.

Hillary is the perfect corrupt South American dictator.

Sadly, our corrupt media are in on it.

Brando said...

"We live in an era where a couple of typical lefty Presidents (Shavez & Maduro) could create massive shortages of everything essential and still get reelected."

I don't know if I'd call Venezuela's elections legit--there's been a lot of thuggery towards political opponents and the state-run media. I'm guessing that now that they ran out of oil-subsidized freebies to hand out and people are literally being forced to work for free, the Chavesistas wouldn't win a fair election in that country.

mikee said...

Trump's opening statement: Hillary Clinton is a lifelong government leach, a corrupt person who sold every office she ever inhabited, trading access and favors to those who paid her and those she favored, while using the powers of her office to hurt those whom she did not like. She should be no closer to a position of authority, responsibility, and trust than the defendant's chair in a federal courtroom, based upon her lifelong criminal government office-holding. She lies publicly without stop, and without regret that the lies gain her a moment of relief from the criminality she has performed. She is worse than a corrupt politician, she is a corrupt politician who has led an entire party into her corrupt practices, which belong in a third world dictatorship, not the greatest country on earth. Send her packing to live off her hundreds of millions in bribes, not to the White House.