Reviews are in and Hillary Clinton was declared the clear winner in her first Presidential debate against Donald Trump. A lot was riding on her performance last night. No one has yet been able to stop the rise of unpredictable demagogue Trump, a man so comfortable lying that it’s hard to keep track of each falsehood. But Hillary is best under pressure, when her back is to the wall. It’s called grit. Her poise, experience, sensible policy prescriptions, the respect she enjoys from colleagues on both sides of the aisle and world leaders were all on display. Trump was outmatched and outclassed. Clinton did what 16 other Republican candidates couldn’t do — Hillary reduced Trump to sputtering, sniffling and sucking down water like a sieve. That this result would surprise naysayers speaks to a mistake they make daily – underestimating Hillary Clinton, and by extension, all women.
Sexist men and the women who enable them (NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, we’re talking to you) live in an incestuous bubble, repeating their own falsehoods about caricature Hillary for so long, they actually start to believe them. Then the real Hillary shows up and they get their asses handed to them.
Clinton is an experienced debater, and her performance last night also telegraphed something Vox’s Ezra Klein discussed in a piece about her leadership style – she listens. She was smart enough to listen to Trump, endure his many interruptions and wade patiently through the topics until he dug himself a trap he couldn’t escape. She bided her time, allowing him to show his true character to the American people. Unlike his Republican primary opponents who all took the bait, Clinton never allowed herself to sink to his level.
Clinton deftly revealed Trump as a rich plutocrat and xenophobe who delights in cheating the little guy, who desires only to benefit himself and his rich friends, a man reckless about foreign policy and nuclear proliferation and finally, a misogynist who insults and demeans women. She was given an able assist by Trump, who stumbled into nearly every pothole. Trump did start out okay, but as predicted, his ego got the better of him.
This is the first time anyone laid a glove on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton did it with ease.
It’s called leadership;
To Chuck Todd of Meet the Press, desperate to excuse Trump’s dismal performance by saying Hillary was “over-prepared,” Hillary delivered the line of the night when she said,
“Yes, I prepared for this debate. You know what else I’m prepared to do?
I’m prepared to be president. And that is a good thing.”
Having endured a ridiculous bias throughout this entire campaign season (a painful repeat of her media treatment 8 years ago), Hillary stepped up to the plate as she always does, showing the American people that she cares enough to earn their votes, not a perfect messenger, but a respectful and thoughtful one who wouldn’t act like a schoolyard bully or petulant teenager, excusing failure on a lack of preparation.
Yes, women have a different way of doing things that doesn’t involve empty bluster. To those media types like Chuck Todd who cannot see the value in thoughtful, prepared leadership, please get out of everybody’s way. Your sexism, bias and privilege are not needed. This election is too important for feckless media commentary, candidate’s who bully and dissemble or think they can hold women to arcane double standards.
Hillary Clinton had an opportunity to show she knows what she’s doing and she took it.
And she’s right. That is a good thing.