Trump/Clinton Debate – Deja Vu of 2012

Donald Trump in Miami Town Hall (Damon Winter/NYT)

Donald Trump in Miami Town Hall (Damon Winter/NYT)

Unlike the 84 million viewers of Monday night’s debate, this individual listened to the debate while driving home from an all day conference.  Into the first half hour of the debate, I knew I heard too much prepared Hillary, and not enough prepared Donald.  If anything, Trump learned a major lesson from last night’s debate — Hillary Clinton is in it to win it.  She was prepared and she sounded like it.  She laid out an offensive that was straight out of Sun Tzu, and Donald Trump paid the price for his hubris.

Trump was a resounding disappointment.  While Clinton sounded too wordy to this author’s ears, she was articulate and got off some zingers, such as her reply to the “stamina” remark.  Trump was either an idiot or never saw it coming (or both.)  This speaks to his naiveté when the real politicians put on their ‘big girl’ pants because the stakes are higher than a Monte Carlo roulette wheel.  Afterwards, Trump commented he “was also holding back — I didn’t want to do anything to embarrass her,”  and because her daughter, Chelsea, was in the audience.   Stuff it, Donald, you were unprepared.  You were the 2016 version of the 2012 Obama in his first debate when he severely underestimated Mitt Romney.  But to Obama’s credit, it never happened again.  Another debate performance like this one, DT, and you’ll go down in the annals of Republican presidential ignominy.

When Clinton played the income taxes card a la Harry Reid, Trump could have responded by asking her about her comments upon leaving the White House “flat broke” and now is worth over $150 million.  How did that happen?  Released foundation tax filings indicate less than six percent of the money collected went to any charities.

Then Clinton played the “woman” card, and called Trump out for his past comments on women, naming one in particular.  Trump’s response should have been akin to ‘don’t talk to me about my treatment of women, when your husband is sitting in the audience.”  The next debate we should be waiting for a Jennifer Flowers and Paula Jones’ appearance.

There were some opening moments, which I didn’t hear, where Trump was strong.  However, those must have been moments, because on a car radio, Trump sounded weak and unprepared.  Listening, I couldn’t help but ask, who were his debate coaches.  Or were they over-ruled by Trump, who knows it all.  Clearly, from Monday night, he was overwhelmed by Hillary’s version of Xena Warrior Princess.

If the first debate of 2016 is a redux of 2012, then we should hope that Trump learns from watching Obama, who didn’t make the same mistake twice.  Just as Trump under-estimated the severity of the Clinton attack machine, Obama was caught off-guard and unprepared as well, by Romney.  But that mistake never happened again.

For the second and third debates, it will take more than having Flowers sit front and center in the audience.  Trump has already acknowledged that he needs to hit her harder, but Hillary, too, knows that the next debates will be tougher and she’ll also be ready with more ammunition.

Hillary really wants the Presidency, Donald.  The question is, do you?



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