(Unless YOU don’t vote!)
By Doug Porter
The third debate was by far the best of the three. Not that it was fun to watch. Or that voters were offered substantive policy ideas. As was true with all the debates, questions about climate change were left on the cutting room floor.
Moderator Chris Wallace ran a tight ship for the most part (more on this later). Donald Trump lasted for 30 minutes before his blood sugar crashed. And Hillary Clinton showed some real passion on a woman’s right to choose.
There were quips–“nasty woman”, “bad hombre.” There were slips– can somebody please explain GDP to Trump? And there was the drip, drip, drip of Hillary Clinton making the case that her opponent simply wasn’t fit for the job.
In the end, the debate will be remembered for Trump’s refusal at the end to commit to accepting the results of the election.
The worst part of this admission was the defenders of Trump post-debate trying to deny, deflect or dismiss their candidate’s words said before millions of people. By Monday you can rest assured the false equivalence of “it’s no big deal” will have woven itself into the fabric of election punditry.
A candidate in denial of one of the basic tenets of democracy that Made America Great, may seem shocking to some, but it shouldn’t be surprising. The world according to Donald Trump runs on a different set of facts that can be adjusted to meet any challenge to his Eminence.
UPDATE: Trump has clarified his statement to say he will accept the results “If I win.”
The Pre-Game Warm Up
There was plenty of drama to be had as the candidates lined up their respective cheering sections. And it was easy to tell the differences in the candidates’ priorities.
On Trump guest list, in addition to his family, included:
Malik Obama. Estranged half-brother of President Obama, best known for his hatred of gay marriage and love of Libya’s former dictator.
- Patricia Smith. Benghazi mom who blames Clinton for her son’s death.
- Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor and the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Appeared to be sober. She was ‘disappeared’ from the Trump campaign stump following several bizarre appearances.
- James O’Keefe. The undercover video maker and convicted break-in artist who paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars after his expose of Acorn in the 2008 election proved to be bullshit.
- Lydie Denier. A woman who was apparently engaged to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens for a short time… …back in 1995. She’s been trying to cash in on the lucrative Benghazi mongering market in recent months, despite the request from Stevens’ family to stay away from politicizing his death.
- Marcus Luttrell. Retired Navy Seal who co-authored Lone Survivor and appeared before the GOP convention to blame the Obama administration for tactical failures in the war in Afghanistan.
- The ‘Angel Moms.’ Four women affiliated with the Remembrance Project, which “advocates for families whose loved ones were killed by illegal aliens.”
In Hillary Clinton’s corner were:
- Billionaires Meg Whitman and Mark Cuban. She thinks Trump is a pig to women and he thinks Trump doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to business.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. A basketball great who’s been warning op-ed readers of the Washington Post that the GOP nominee is xenophobic and paranoid.
- Leon Panetta. Former Secretary of Defense secretary and White House chief of staff in the first Clinton era.
Other Clinton guests included:
Karla Ortiz. A Nevada resident whose parents are undocumented and at risk of deportation, Astrid Silva, Dreamer and activist from Nevada, Ofelia Diaz Cardenas, a Mexican immigrant fired by Trump International for wearing pro-union buttons, later reinstated by federal labor officials, Family and friends of Pvt. Damian Lopez-Rodriguez, An undocumented immigrant killed in Iraq while serving in the U.S. Army, Ryan Moore. The man with spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia dwarfism featured in Clinton ads praising her compassion, Pastor Robert E. Fowler Sr. Pastor, Victory Missionary Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Kevin Hooks. President, Las Vegas Urban League, Gene Karpinski. President, League of Conservation Voters, Jonathan Nez. Vice president, Navajo Nation, Arturo Rodriguez. President, United Farm Workers, Stephanie Schriock. President, Emily’s List, D. Taylor. President, UNITE HERE, and Dolores Huerta. Labor leader and civil rights activist; co-founder of the National Farmworkers Assn.
The Debut of Trump TV
Prior to the second debate, Donald Trump hosted a panel featuring women alleging the Clintons had done bad things to them.
This time around, he live streamed what observers believe was a test version of Trump TV on Facebook. There was supposed to be a pre-debate bombshell interview with the “abandoned” Bill Clinton love child (who flunked a DNA test back in 1999), but that didn’t happen.
From Fortune Magazine:
Just after the debate began, Trump’s official Facebook page posted a notice that said the campaign was streaming live using Facebook’s video service.
“If you’re tired of biased, mainstream media reporting (otherwise known as Crooked Hillary’s super PAC), tune into my Facebook Live broadcast,” the message said. “Starts at 8:30 EST/5:30 PST — you won’t want to miss it. Enjoy!”
Two hosts from the conservative Right Side Broadcasting Network did a pre- and post-debate show, according to Politico, in which the mantra often repeated was “the mainstream media is against us.” One of the hosts described the debate as “the greatest Republican debate performance since Abraham Lincoln.”
The Main Event
For those of you interested in the debate’s blow-by-blow, Politifact has published a transcript of the evening, complete with highlighted text linked to fact checks on things said by both candidates.
Here’ something worthwhile from the Toronto Star, which drew on its experiences with former Mayor and crackhead Doug Ford, to catalog inaccuracies in all three debates.
Final fact-check totals for the three presidential debates:
DONALD TRUMP: 104 false claims
HILLARY CLINTON: 13 false claims pic.twitter.com/FqFSPFoCx0
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 20, 2016
And who could forget:
— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) October 20, 2016
Mark Sumner at Daily Kos was effusive in his praise of Clinton:
In the end, Hillary won on every issue. Every. Issue. She didn’t back down. Didn’t dodge. And seized the territory in every instance. This was particularly clear in the case of Wikileaks were, more than just coming up empty trying to convict Hillary via emails, Trump was left mounting a defense of Vladimir Putin, to the point where when Chris Wallace offered him an out, he couldn’t find it, and when Hillary called him a “puppet” of Putin, it hit like a ton of bricks. Trump fumbled on Mosul and ISIS, was caught out on the weakness of his economic plan, and was revealed as beyond shallow on every other point.
When pressed over using Chinese steel in his hotel, and over not paying taxes, Trump’s answer was absolutely astounding—“you should have made me.” It was an amazing admission of selfishness on a grand scale. Far from playing rope-a-dope, Hillary went directly into Trump and landed blow after blow, while barely receiving a tap in return.
Re-reading the transcript, this remains the absolute best part of the 3rd debate: pic.twitter.com/eOahLn3ogK
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) October 20, 2016
As with the first and second debate, there were pundits looking for a way to praise Donald Trump for clearing the lowest bar ever set in a Presidential campaign. Unless they were affiliated with the Trump organization, it was just too far a reach.
From Across The Margin:
By far, last night’s Presidential debate was both candidates best performance and the nominee’s spoke on numerous topics beyond what we just discussed. However, Trump shot himself in the foot several times (“I will look at it at the time, I will keep you in suspense”) throughout the televised ninety minutes despite his improved execution, and Hillary brought her debate A-game once again, draped from head-to-toe in brilliant white, effectively marginalizing any benefits Trump may have gained from his own performance. All in all last night there were nostalgic moments where it felt like we were back in 2008, watching Obama and Romney go at it in a very Presidential manner, intermixed with instances of clarity and rational and well-reasoned thought. But then the harsh cold reality of 2016 came crashing back. Women were suddenly called opportunists or hired accusers and talk of espionage and borders and inner city hellholes and fleeing jobs stuck us in the face like icy rain, rousing us from the warmth of our momentary reminiscence. Add in the fact that Trump called Secretary Clinton a “nasty woman,” a bizarre thing to say when taking into account the swirling controversy surrounding his treatment of women, and then threw in a “lights out” moment in American politics by refusing to say he would accept the will of the people and the Presidential Election’s result, the final nail in Trump’s campaign coffin, and that of the greater Debate Night in America spectacle, seemed finally struck.
The Chris Wallace Agenda
While there were lots of kudos for moderator Chris Wallace’s handling of two strong-willed candidates, there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the agenda baked into some of his questions.
Wallace saved the best for last, falsely claiming that “the biggest driver of our debt is entitlements” and citing the “nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget” as a source of data.
Geez, Louise. The CRFB exists to cut and privatize Social Security and Medicare. Period. They started out as an opposition group to the original Clinton single-payer health plan.
A little history is in order.
In the 1990s, CRFB formed a “Cost Containment Coalition” that objected to the Clinton Health Care reform proposals and any new taxes to pay for health care. CRFB’s opposition was portrayed as a tough, principled stand, but years later, documents were revealed that showed the Tobacco Institute, a now defunct industry lobbying group, funding the coalition while Philip Morris funded CRFB President Carol Cox Wait.
Internal Philip Morris memos found in the Tobacco Library describe how the firm worked with CRFB to set up the coalition to help the company achieve its “overriding objective” of avoiding tobacco excise taxes as part of any health care reform package.
Cox Wait, who is reportedly married to Philip Morris vice president Bob Wait, was doing double duty as a federal budget consultant to the tobacco giant. An internal Philip Morris document explains why this is helpful to them: “Because of her bipartisan Board, ‘Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget,’ and given her ‘neutral’ status, Carol is able to access many people who would be inaccessible to us given our issues.”
More recently, CRFB and its Fix the Debt project have come under fire for fronting for firms pushing for a territorial tax system, a tax break for profits earned offshore (see IPS’ “The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks“) and for fronting for defense industry firms anxious to avoid budget cuts (see Public Accountability Initiative’s “Operation Fiscal Bluff“).
The CRFB receives major funding from former Nixon Commerce Secretary and corporate looter Peter G Peterson.
Lynn Stuart Parramore at Alternet, names Peterson as one of the three biggest oligarchs trying to manipulate the US economy:
Over and over, Peterson & Co. will try to gin up artificial crises so they can force Congress to do their bidding. Whenever you hear the phrase “grand bargain,” somewhere out there a Peterson crony is smacking his chops. And the tasty treat is your pocketbook.
The question Wallace asked had many falsehoods baked into it, starting with calling Social Security an ‘entitlement’.
Social Security and Medicare used to be called insurance, which is what it really is.
The term entitlement came about as Wall Street mouthpieces such as Rep. Paul Ryan, Sen. Pat Toomey and most of the Republican Party began intentionally conveying the idea that older Americans recipients are getting something for nothing.
A thorough debunking of Wallace’s and CRFB’s assumptions and so-called solutions appears over at Media Matters for America.
“…because the program can only spend money from a protected trust fund, “Social Security can’t legally drive the debt.”
Oh, those darned facts.
I hear the bathrooms in Trump Tower are being relabeled “Bad Hombres” and “Nasty Women.”
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 20, 2016
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) October 20, 2016
Tomorrow: The stench of Trump reaches into San Diego contests.
Next Week: I’ll finish up the remaining City of San Diego Measures on the ballot.
On This Day: 1774 – The new Continental Congress, the governing body of America’s colonies, passed an order proclaiming that all citizens of the colonies “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainment.” 1947 – Hollywood came under scrutiny as the House Un-American Activities Committee opened hearings into alleged Communist influence within the motion picture industry. 1980 – Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan writes to PATCO President Robert Poli with this promise: if the union endorses Reagan, “I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.” He got the endorsement. Nine months after the election, he fires the air traffic controllers for engaging in an illegal walkout over staffing levels and working conditions.
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