The Bully vs. the Wonk: The Presidential Debates


Hillary and Donald3big

On September 26th Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will appear in the first debate that puts these two in the same venue on a stage together. There will be some rules and there will be moderators but I still think that this is a terrible idea. I am usually all in favor of debates. But I dread this one. I picture it as the bully vs. the wonk. It’s not that Hillary can’t handle herself in just about any situation. If you want to be the President of America you cannot back down from confrontation. And right now the toughest tickets are not people in foreign governments or countries. Foreign leaders try to be polite in their dealings even when they are saying no. These days some of the meanest suits are on people right here in our own country. Hillary is not afraid of these people. She thinks she can even win some of them over to consider compromises that will move our nation forward, and we wish she could do that, although most of us think she is in for the same realities that Obama has faced.

Hillary has taken stands on the issues that are important to Americans in 2016 and she would welcome a chance to stand up and make her points in a public way in front of all of America. But she is unlikely to get to do any such thing. She is much more likely to be the focus of Donald Trump’s degrading attentions and to be beaten over the head by his propaganda cudgels such as name-calling, lying smears, and patently untrue nonsense that nevertheless all have a way of leaving marks on his opponents. How many times will he call her “lyin’ Hillary” and bring up the totally bogus “racist” label he has decided to graffiti on her this time? How many times will he bring up the Clinton Foundation and the pay to play that never happened? Donald Trump has no filter. Apparently truth has fled the political arena for good.

Except that when Hillary discusses the issues she wants to pursue I feel that she is being honest about what she would like to do; that she has spent time and energy designing approaches to these issues. She wants to target the poor and the middle class and stop skewing our economy towards those who are already wealthy. Donald has given us little of substance on the issues except to assure us that whatever little or big thing it is that bothers us, he will fix it (bigly). It is difficult to know what Hillary intends to do to tackle issues in foreign affairs because she has not said what she will do in Afghanistan or in Iraq. She has mentioned a few plans such as a no fly zone to deal with the black hole of sadness, grief and outrage that defines Assad’s refusal to release Syria from his clutches. Donald, however, has offered to cut loose our allies in NATO and either nuke our enemies or give them nukes so they can erase each other from the face of the earth (along with untold numbers of us).

If they could both be held to discussions of policy only, no slurs allowed then this debate might be a real eye-opener for America. Then instead of the bully vs. the wonk; it might be wonk v wonk.  However I am fairly certain that the debate will just devolve into watching the first female candidate with a chance to win a Presidential election bashed continuously, without much of a chance to respond, by a man who has already proven himself to be unfit for the office of the Presidency, in front of a cheering crowd looking for the death blow, thus proving that those Mad Max movies were right. We are the exact same primitive humans who relished watching mayhem at the Roman Coliseum several centuries ago. I will be more than happy to skip this debate which the media is so looking forward to it. I think I will avoid the bloodletting. Perhaps I will wait and catch the clips and commentaries that are sure to follow.

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