A Children's Treasury Of Post-Debate Turd Polishing
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) October 20, 2016
You have to admit that when it comes to spin, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has a very pleasant smile. When CNN's Dana Bash tried to get Conway to comment on Donald Trump's refusal to say whether he'd accept the outcome of the election, Conway smiled and said that of course he would, “because he’s going to win the election.” Silly ol' reporter! Besides, Kellyanne hears things!
CNN's post-debate analysis got straight to Conway's essential dilemma as a spin doctor: Van Jones said that there was simply "no way to polish this turd" -- after which Anderson Cooper helpfully added, "Technically you cannot polish any turd."
Oh yeah? As Slate helpfully pointed out, Mythbusters proved way back in 2008 you actually can polish a turd. But not necessarily Donald Trump's debate performance, which was especially noxious and drippy.
CNN's resident Trump-felcher, Jeffrey Lord, Gringosplained to fellow panelist Patti Solis Doyle there was nothing at all offensive about Trump's "Bad Hombres" remark, which admittedly was probably more WTF than racist, but sure isn't going to win him any Latino votes. Maybe he was reaching out to the Old West Sheriff Vote and promising to send those Bad Hombres to the Hoosegow.
LORD: Oh come on Patti. Patti, you're an American. I’m an American. I've heard that phrase all my life. That has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
DOYLE: Where do you hear that phrase? Where do you hear it?
LORD: American television westerns in the 1950s. “He’s a bad hombre."
ANDERSON COOPER: By the way, I'm not sure a 1950s American television is the best benchmark for what is good language and not offensive.
LORD: Because it's colloquial, its in the American language.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: No one says that, no one says that Jeffrey.
LORD: You don't know enough people.
Lindsey Graham, sitting comfortably home and, we hope, drinking heavily, was Not Pleased with Trump's shenanigans:
You want a tough review? Try Matt Yglesias at Vox. After acknowledging that Clinton didn't have anything all that earth-shattering, or any "amazing zingers" (though we thought one of her rare interruptions of Trump -- when he talked about sitting in his hotel room looking out at Las Vegas, and she added "Surrounded by all that Chinese steel" -- was a good 'un), Yglesias said Clinton won simply by doing her homework and being ready: "She’s a well-qualified candidate who showed up well-prepared for an important job interview." Sounds almost like faint praise, but look at the alternative; we've got a choice between Lisa Simpson and a rich Nelson Muntz:
Trump, by contrast, lacks any kind of conventional qualification for office. And rather than make up for it by showing that he has a surprising grasp of policy and public affairs given his lack of relevant background, he yet again delivered a clueless, rambling performance that was long on bluster and short on real information. Over the course of the series of presidential debates, he’s shown that he’s tall, he’s pretty good on television, and he carries himself with the distinctive confidence of a mediocre white man.
Beyond that, he’s got nothing.
Yglesias also offers a lovely takedown of Trump's incoherent answer to a question about what's supposed to be his signature issue, immigration. It was nonsense word salad, as usual, and Yglesias points out that what Trump said in the debate doesn't even match up with the "official" immigration plan on his own website, which he appears not to have read.
If you're into polls, a CNN/ORC poll of debate viewers -- a real poll, not the kind you can vote in 40 times -- found Hillary Clinton won by a 13-point margin, 52% for Clinton to 39% for Trump, although as usual with debate polls, the majority of viewers said the debate didn't change their mind about who they'd vote for.
And finally, in case you're wondering how Donald Trump felt about the debate, there's this:
Never mind what he Tweets. He knows.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.