Trump at the debate: Too much on the defensive

Somebody evidently forgot to tell Donald Trump that a presidential debate is not unlike a championship boxing match.  And that, whether he likes it or not, he is the challenger, and as such, he needed to take the fight to Hillary, instead of time and again letting her put him on the defensive. 

What might have been his strongest moment was when he characterized Hillary as a "typical politician," who knows how to make statements and promises that sound good but who never actually gets things done.

But his weaker moments were when he disputed her individual statements with "Wrong!" or "That's not so" or "I never said that!"  He would've appeared far stronger had he just shaken his head and smiled sadly when Hillary made untrue statements about him.  He could have acted as if he were the champion, as if he had too much dignity to let petty lies upset him.  He could have looked presidential.  He could even have seemed Reaganesque if he’d grinned and said, "There you go again!"

Then he could have taken on all those untrue statements collectively, in a fashion similar to how Joe Pesci (as "My Cousin Vinny") rebutted his legal adversary's remarks to the jury.

Okay, maybe not in quite the same words.

It was particularly embarrassing to watch Trump continually beg Lester Holt for the time to rebut Hillary's charges.  He shouldn't have lowered himself to that, especially after realizing (if Trump ever actually did realize) that Holt was hardly the "non-partisan" moderator he'd been touted as.  Trump repeatedly addressed Holt directly and by name, as if he somehow thought Holt would be sympathetic, when instead Holt was clearly Hillary’s hatchet man.

In fact, Holt's obvious partisanship was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the whole affair, although, in retrospect, it shouldn't have been at all surprising or unpredictable.  As soon as I figured out which side Holt was actually a cheerleader for, a particular phrase started running through my head as a means to express it. 

The phrase is from a song written by R&B singer and songwriter Titus Turner, a song that was a big hit for Little Milton in 1969 and has been recorded by several others.  "If Lester Holt’s non-partisan," I semi-sang to myself, "then grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry, and Mona Lisa was a man!"

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