The Corner

We Got The Debate We Deserved Tonight

First, Lester Holt did not do the best of jobs on the one thing a moderator is supposed to do — control the allocation of time and prevent the candidates from talking over each other — but he did the right thing in mostly letting them talk and let the voters see them for who they are.

Second, both candidates showed up as . . . themselves. Trump filibustered and blustered and attacked Hillary from the left as well as the right; Hillary went for the wonkish support and the prepared, canned answers, the low-hanging fruit on sexism, and the adult answers on foreign policy that sounded like George W. Bush but ignored the actual facts of the Obama years. As I noted earlier, what Hillary very obviously did not do was to try to explain why Trump is not a normal Republican — yet she also did not really try to hang him around the necks of down-ticket Republicans. Both sides ignored the down-ticket, party-building types of answers.

Was there a winner tonight? Not an obvious one to the informed viewer, but then any informed person would run from these two candidates in horror. Some of Trump’s most effective moments were also his most demagogic, on TPP and Iraq and crime. If this debate moves the needle, it may be for reasons totally unrelated to reason.

Dan McLaughlin is an attorney practicing securities and commercial litigation in New York City, and a contributing columnist at National Review Online.

Most Popular

Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

A Feeble Fox News Attack at the Movies

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Oscar-winning talents to rip the lid off the scandal at NBC News, whose bosses still have suffered no repercussions for their part in the Harvey Weinstein matter and other sleazy deeds — but at least Hollywood has finally let us know how they feel about Fox News ... Read More
Film & TV

A Feeble Fox News Attack at the Movies

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Oscar-winning talents to rip the lid off the scandal at NBC News, whose bosses still have suffered no repercussions for their part in the Harvey Weinstein matter and other sleazy deeds — but at least Hollywood has finally let us know how they feel about Fox News ... Read More