Sunday, October 09, 2016

Sunday Night Fight Preview

I'm sure that's what they're telling the pollsters now, but once they get into the voting booth they'll chicken out and push the straight-party-ticket button.  Because, like most Americans, they're scared to death of what might happen if they don't.

After expressing regret for his remarks, Trump quickly turned his focus to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Trump concluded his statement by hinting very strongly that he will make attacking the Clintons for past sex scandals a centerpiece of his debate appearance on Sunday evening.

“I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims. We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday,” Trump said in the video, which was released shortly after midnight on Saturday.

Trump has toyed publicly on several occasions with bringing up sordid aspects of Bill Clinton’s past. After the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, Trump praised himself for not bringing up President Clinton’s infidelities almost immediately after he walked into the spin room and began talking with reporters. Trump declared that he held back because he knew the Clintons’ daughter, Chelsea, was at the debate.

President Clinton has admitted to conducting multiple affairs during his marriage. He has also been accused of rape and other abusive behavior. The New York Times a week ago published an article chronicling the ways in which Hillary Clinton encouraged and oversaw efforts in the 1990s to sully the reputation of women who publicly claimed to have had affairs with her husband.

You should click on that link, if only to relive the wondrous '90's all over again.  You know: Herbert Walker Bush's Gulf war, Nelson Mandela being freed from prison, the divorce and later tragic death of Princess Diana, the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Olympic assault, the videoptaped beating of Rodney King by LAPD and the riots that followed, the O.J. Simpson trial, Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, the capturing of Unabomber Ted Kazynski, and of course the scandals, impeachment, and subsequent re-election of Hillary Clinton's husband.

Especially that last, as Trump has all but promised us.

Trump’s performance in the first debate was widely panned, and his standing suffered in the polls. Leading up to the second debate, which will take place in St. Louis on Sunday, members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign suggested they thought bringing up the dirty laundry would be a bad move for Trump.

“I don’t think it’s a smart strategy for Donald Trump to come after her with these kinds of personal attacks,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters earlier this week.

Mook was responding to Trump’s prior threat to invite one of President Clinton’s former paramours to the first debate. Mook further said he didn’t believe the real estate tycoon would bring up anything “salacious.”

“We do not necessarily expect him to come with the kind of personal and harsh attacks that he has been threatening,” Mook told reporters again Thursday. “We expect a more focused, prepared Trump at this debate.”

This guy isn't named Mook for nothing.

But if anything could prod Trump into bringing up President Clinton’s sex scandals, it might be the Clinton campaign’s telling him not to, which they have done several times in the past week.
Before the firestorm over Trump’s comments about trying to “f*** and “grab” women, Republican consultant Liz Mair told Yahoo News the Clinton campaign was likely trying to goad Trump.

Taunting a wounded, angry, barking yam with a long history of lashing out at anyone and everyone who offends him in the slightest way.  Sounds like a plan. 

“The Clinton folks probably do think they’re baiting him, or are hoping so, but the reality is that baiting or not, Trump is very likely to walk into this trap anyway,” said Mair, who ran a super-PAC opposing Trump. “Self-immolation on live TV: It’s what he does.”

Conventional wisdom ahead of Trump’s latest controversy was that making sex-scandal-based attacks would be a disastrous tactic, especially given Hillary Clinton’s role as the aggrieved spouse. Trump’s resurfaced remarks would make the move even riskier. But Trump’s inner circle seemed divided about how to proceed.

Last month, Trump came from behind in the polls after adopting what his campaign called a “more disciplined” approach and talking about policy issues. He has since slipped. Following the vice presidential debate last Tuesday, Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway indicated a clear preference for how her candidate should behave.

“I do appreciate when he talks about the issues,” Conway said.

Understated and ironic.

Yet Trump is at his most unpredictable when he is cornered. And so the revelation of the sexually aggressive behavior he bragged about in the 2005 video may have made it more likely that Trump gets down in the mud during the debate.

If you would rather see what a calm, sensible, scandal-free presidential candidate might look like in tonight's debate, Democracy Now! once again will present Jill Stein's response, alongside Trump's and Clinton's, to the various questions they will field.

Whether you're watching, listening, Facebooking, Tweeting -- or not -- much of America will be tuned in with plenty of popcorn on hand.  Lots of DVRs will be whirring; the NFL's ratings are going to suffer again, and even the latest HBO hot drama 'Westworld' could take a hit, as it is repeated throughout the following week and can be skipped for watching later.  It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to follow the Twitter feed, so even if you can't make sense of the medium, watch the top right space here for insights and snark.  And try to find the humor in what should otherwise be a deplorable 90 minutes of townhall-format mudslinging.  The most interesting moment I'll be watching for is how Trump might turn a climate change question into a reference to Monica Lewinsky's soiled blue dress.  "That stain looks like Hurricane Matthew" sort of thing.


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