Recently I wrote about Weltschmerz, a German word that translates, essentially, as “world hurt.” Although that word has been around a while and describes a general feeling, it seems especially appropriate in this election cycle. Many, for their own reasons, feel a sharp dissonance between ought and is these days.
This past week, since Monday night, a different, perhaps more well-known, German word has been running through my mind: Schadenfreude. It describes the pleasure one can feel over the misery of another — a feeling that isn’t very nice. Decent people reserve it for people who aren’t nice having a bad day.
People like The Donald having a bad day for a whole week!
So, speaking as a generally decent person (or so my press releases claim), bear with me for a moment — let me indulge in a moment of Schadenfreude — while I just say: Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
The debate was awesome. Hillary Clinton cleaned his clock.
I thought it was evident in the first 15 minutes. That’s about how long it took me to start laughing my ass off. That’s all the time it took to be clear this was no contest, this was a smart experienced grade school teacher versus an unruly fidgeting ignorant boorish first-grader.
Donnie Boy got schooled. Class was very much in session.
Some claim The Orange One won the first 20 (some say 30) minutes, but it was clear the contest was over in the first 15. (You could tell this even with the sound turned off just by watching them.)
The truth is more that he just managed to seem like a sane, nearly adult, person in that first bit.
Then he descended into increasing incoherence and childishness. (And made some potentially huge political gaffes, such as implying he pays no Federal taxes.) His replies on nuclear weapons and cyberspace security were particularly incoherent — essentially pure babble.
Hillary Clinton won on just about every issue of substance. She has some vulnerability on trade, especially her early support of TPP, and possibly on her early support for the war.
But that’s just a bit of crap on an otherwise solid substantial sculpture. Her opponent — as was very evident — has nothing, he’s just a big bag of empty.
One complaint even Trump’s supporters acknowledge is that he failed to attack Clinton on trade, except briefly in that first (let’s call it) 30 minutes. He also failed to do other than briefly mention those damned emails or the Clinton Foundation (or even Benghazi).
But those other issues are more smoke than fire. The emails were about techno-ignorance and government incompetence (remember Hanlon’s Razor), there’s no meat on the Clinton Foundation bone, and the Benghazi bone is dry as. These are just GOP distractions.
There is also the matter of her husband’s philandering, which is another huge distraction.
The idea that anything Hillary Clinton did with regard to specific individuals who threatened her marriage is anything like a lifetime of systemic misogyny is a false equivalence of staggering proportion.
Something we’ve seen a lot of this election cycle.
And this is a big problem for the National Embarrassment. Pretty much very line of attack is blocked by his own misdeeds:
¶ While the Clinton Foundation did take foreign money, it doesn’t appear that money bought those foreign interests much of anything. And their Foundation has done a lot of visible good work.
Compare that to the Trump Foundation, which appears to be mostly a scam. Recently it appears it lacks special registration required in New York, and it appears to be a front for tax-free payments to Trump. Stay tuned.
¶ Hillary Clinton was a Secretary of State when Benghazi happened and she worked to accomplish certain deals that some might contest, but her service was generally without fault. The Benghazi well is dry.
Compare that to recent news that Trump may have violated the Cuba embargo back in the late 1990s. It would be a federal crime, if proven. (Compare that to his business dealings in general.) Stay tuned.
¶ If you watch NCIS, you know Gibbs is a bit of a technophobe. His people struggle to keep up with broken phones and his lack of willingness to learn about social media. Turns out Hillary Clinton is kinda like that. She didn’t even like the iPad they forced on her.
That’s what lead to the emails thing. It’s unfortunate, and it speaks to a certain failing, but it’s a blemish. And — most importantly — not criminal or even dishonest. Hillary Clinton is your awesome mom who just doesn’t get technology.
Compare that to Trump’s failure to post his taxes, his implication that he doesn’t pay any, or that it’s “smart” of him not to. Compare that to Trump University or his failed ventures ending in bankruptcy.
¶ Did Hillary Clinton “attack” women her husband philandered with? We can figure that whatever the GOP claims she did is, at best, perhaps 10% true (and at worst, completely made up).
Perhaps she did participate in discrediting, let’s even say attacking, women who were sexually involved with her husband — a man, by all accounts, she genuinely loves to this day.
Let’s say she used every legal dirty trick she could… Can you really blame her?
Do you think it would be different if those other people were men? This has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with reacting to adultery. Further, Hillary Clinton has a lifetime on record of helping women.
Compare all that to Trump’s lifetime disdain for women and his treatment of them as objects and possessions. Compare his marital record with Hillary Clinton’s.
There is no comparison.
It was that last topic that led to one of the best parts of the debate.
Trump, asked to defend a statement that Clinton didn’t have the “look” to be President, walked into a trap involving a former Miss Universe winner.
It offered a golden opportunity, a true fork in the road.
A decent human being would have repudiated their former self, would have apologized for crass comments, would have said what Hillary Clinton has about the emails: It’s on me; I blew it. My bad. Won’t happen again.
That would have ended it.
Not only did Trump take the road you mustn’t travel, he spent the week doubling down on it. Along with his band of bat-shit crazies, Newt and Rudy. (And the delicious irony of three over-weight thrice-married philandering men trying to body-shame a former Miss Universe… priceless!)
And it all seems to be having an effect:
It’s hard to say how much any of these issues matter to voters. Those firmly in either camp aren’t likely to be swayed by much of anything. Those undecided, or uncertain, may have found the debate compelling.
I really don’t see how anyone could still support Trump after his performance, though.
As I said, there was a clear — and huuuge — difference in how they looked and acted on camera. (Bless the choice of split screen!)
There is the idea that debates are more about comportment than issues. Hillary Clinton certainly won on issues, but she obliterated him on comportment.
He nervously sipped water; she didn’t touch a drop. He snorted and sniffled; she didn’t cough (even once). He made faces like a child; she smiled. He fidgeted and adjusted his mike; she eyed him like a cobra.
It was magnificent to see. All faith in Hillary Clinton restored; Donald Trump shown for the ignorant hateful con man he truly is. Perhaps most importantly, he was very visibly shown to be a loser.
And maybe, in the end, that will be the take away.