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DIANE MEDVED: Trump vs. Hillary Debate: You Shoulda Watched Til the End

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Like ten million others, you tuned in to the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton presidential debate. Maybe you got a couple beers beforehand; maybe you went to a party where everybody got a few beers before, during and after.

Gathered around the 60-inch TV, you watched in expectation as the candidates went at it, Trump unloading his characteristic smirks, head-cocks, grimaces and generalizations about the way he’s gonna fix taxes and bring business back to the US, believe me, with a tax on goods coming in. Hillary struck you as smart, with her early comment that put “abyss” in the same sentence as “precipice.”

But pretty soon Hillary was back to yada-yada-yada, and Trump just kept on with his negative platitudes about how we’re in such debt, and jobs are going away, and, well, you asked your friend how her weekend in Cabo went.

Chatting or snacking or looking at the mail became interesting. Hillary smiled at Donald’s insults, and spoke in complete sentences. And if you kept watching, you might have noticed Donald slowly melting down. He repeated himself. He started babbling. He got defensive, insisting for far too long that he never supported the war in Iraq, and you can ask this one and then the next one…same with his waffling on the Birther issue–when he claimed his accomplishment was to get Obama to release his birth certificate, and then got tangled in whether or not he really cared about the subject all the years he’s been blathering about it.

He crashed on his twice-corrected insistence that he couldn’t reveal his tax returns, and fell splat on questions of his inheritance and stiffing workers of their pay. His answers on racism weren’t much different from Hillary’s except his repetition of “law and order.”

If your friend’s trip to Cabo hadn’t been so interesting, you might have kept watching to see these Trump pratfalls, but after the first half hour, the exercise got so yawn-worthy, well, you felt you’d been there, done that.

That’s the thing: anyone for Hillary came away from the TV feeling smug. Anyone for Donald was unmoved, because it’s not really what he says that earns support, it’s the way he says it. And he stayed the course with his “it’s a disaster” message about everything in the US, and even insisting that paying no taxes was ‘good business’ earned the cheers of those eager to snub the sensible yada-yada-yada of politics as usual–which Hillary so capably represents.

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