|NY Times photo by Doug Mills|
"He was dead before the debate; he's dead now," said Mike Murphy, identified as "Republican strategist," during MSNBC's post-debate commentary tonight.
Yet many were praising dt for doing a decent job in the town-hall style debate tonight in St. Louis.
When asked, he addressed some issues: energy policy, Syria, affordable health care, income taxes (though not his own). He lacked knowledge and details on many subjects, such as what to do about the civilians being killed in Aleppo, Syria, quickly changing the subject to Mosul in Iraq.
The praise revealed how low we have set the bar for his public statements: dt sounded neither lewd nor crazy (though his roaming around the stage during Hillary Clinton's speaking time was bizarre).
"It is not a wonder that the dog dances well--the wonder is that it dances at all," as Rt. Honorable Augustine Birrell said in the House of Commons in 1906, loosely quoting Samuel Johnson.
It was a wonder that he stood on the stage at all--and held his head high--after the 2005 audio and videotape was played and after a number of Republican leaders have called on him to resign from the presidential race.
Among the marvels of the evening:
- He said to Hillary "You ought to be ashamed of yourself" three times, yet he showed no shame or remorse for his audio statements about grabbing women by the crotch, about trying to seduce a married woman he names--Nancy O'Dell--and then about insulting her body.
- He failed to apologize to her or to the American women. He claimed not to have grabbed women in that way--just boasted about it.
- He used the word "disaster" so many times I lost count. Seriously limited vocabulary.
- When he claimed "I'm a gentleman," the audience roared with laughter.
- He said, "She has tremendous hate in her heart"--yet he was the angry one with bitter expressions during his non-speaking time.
- He named his goals for a Supreme Court nominee as someone who "respects the Constitution" and supports the 2nd Amendment (right of the people to bear arms in relation to "a well-regulated militia"). Hillary Clinton ticked off five goals: to reverse the Citizens United decision, to improve voting rights, to defend Roe v. Wade, to defend marriage equality, and to stop the defense of corporate interests.
The first question of the night was, "Do you feel you are modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today's youth?'
dt did not answer the question; instead he talked about the trade deficit and police officers who had been killed. When Anderson Cooper tried to call him back to the question, he talked about ISIS.
Again called back to the question by Cooper, dt claimed, "I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do."
Excuse me. Just about anyone has more respect for women than you do. What shameless hyperbole.
To gain votes and hang onto the support of leaders in the Republican party, there was only one thing he needed to do tonight: apologize in a convincing way. He was speaking to his supporters, however, not to other voters or to panicked Republicans.
He didn't even try to strengthen the weak-kneed apology released Friday night.
Thank you, dt, for handing the presidency to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Text of the debate:
Text of Trump boasting to Billy Bush:
Nine best memes of the evening: