Election diary: Trump’s nose, Clinton’s quips, and a night at the opera

David Smith chronicles a busy week in a bizarre election year, as a Trump hotel serves Amerrica beer and Gary Johnson has a brain freeze

One of the intriguing points of Monday nights blockbuster debate was Donald Trumps nose. He repeatedly sniffled (and drank water), which seemed pretty rich given his assertion that Hillary Clinton lacks stamina. Was he ill? The candidate insisted on Fox News the next day: No sniffles, no. You know, the mic was very bad. Maybe it was good enough to hear breathing. There was no sniffles. I have no allergies. No cold. Every once in a while, but no cold.

Perhaps Darth Vader was merely a misunderstood guy because the mic picked up his heavy breathing. These things can matter, as Al Gore knows. The vice-presidents highly audible sigh in the 2000 presidential debate was just possibly the domino that led to the election of George W Bush, which led to the Iraq war, which led to the current mess, which led to Donald Trump. Thus can a sigh or a sniffle sink civilisation.

Hitler is having a moment. Making comparisons to the Nazis is often the sign of a losing argument. But credit to the New York Times for its review of a Hitler biography that contains some unnerving points without ever mentioning Donald Trumps name and is all the more powerful for that (after all, the pigs in Animal Farm are not called Stalin and Trotsky).

Highlights include: Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who only loved himself a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatisation and a characteristic fondness for superlatives; Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a bottomless mendacity that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message; Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness, though he was typically vague about his actual plans; Early on, revulsion at Hitlers style and appearance led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating evenings entertainment.

Just coincidence, then, that Barack Obama should make a Hitler reference of his own at a White House ceremony for the US Olympic and Paralympic teams. Noting the presence of relatives of Jesse Owens and 17 other African American athletes who competed at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the outgoing president said: It wasnt just Jesse. It was other African American athletes in the middle of Nazi Germany under the gaze of Adolf Hitler that put a lie to notions of racial superiority whupped them and taught them a thing or two about democracy and taught them a thing or two about the American character.

Trump: come 8 November, beware a whupping.

Spotted on the menu at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington: The Benjamin beer silver bucket, unlimited Amerrica beer.

Make Amerrica great again.

Newt Gingrich, former House speaker and Clinton foe, was at the Kennedy Center with his wife, Callista a chorister to watch Mozarts opera The Marriage of Figaro last weekend. Asked how his friend Donald Trumps debate homework was going, and who was playing the role of Clinton in mock debates, Gingrich replied airily: No one. He doesnt need that. But you cant rehearse too much, in opera or in life. The nights performance made a false start when the curtain got stuck due to a technical hitch. As the orchestra trailed off into silence, the hapless conductor turned to the audience and wailed: They should be singing now!

Newt

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figcaption class=”caption” caption–img caption caption–img” itemprop=”description”> Newt Gingrich replied to a question on who was playing Clinton in mock debates with Trump: No one. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Marriage of Figaro features a philandering count with distinctly 18th-century attitudes towards women. Presumably, thrice-married Gingrich gave thrice-married Trump a full report.

Trump is the first candidate in recent memory who doesnt travel with reporters on his campaign plane. Instead, he employs a second chase plane for the media. Time magazines Zeke Miller has anointed it First Amendment One, a reference to the US constitutional measure that protects freedom of the press.

The arrangement enables Trump to continue to enjoy his own private plane, which he flies largely at taxpayer expense since it transports his secret service detail. On at least one occasion, it has kept reporters from making it to a Trump rally in time to hear him start speaking. The Republican nominee used the absence of the reporters, many of whom have been following him for more than a year, as an opportunity to mock them.

Not all reporters on First Amendment One relish the nickname. However, none has yet come up with a catchier one.

The cast of The West Wing was out in force campaigning for Clinton in Ohio last weekend. But not the president himself, Jed Bartlet, aka Martin Sheen. Not because hes a secret Trump supporter, we trust. That really would be the liberal apocalypse.

Remarkable as it seems, there really is a presidential candidate who knows less about foreign policy than Donald Trump. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, running third in the polls, was asked on TV recently about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria. What is Aleppo? he asked, sending jaws to the ground. This week, he was at it again. Johnson was asked to name his favourite foreign leader. As the candidate fumbled, host Chris Matthews pressed: You gotta do this. Johnson replied: I guess Im having an Aleppo moment.

Matthews said: But Im giving you the whole world. Anybody in the world you like. Anybody. Pick any leader.

The best Johnson could muster was: The former president of Mexico.

Which one?

Johnson confessed: Im having a brain freeze.

On Thursday, Johnson wrote on Twitter: Its been almost 24 hours and I still cant come up with a foreign leader I look up to.

At least its better than saying Robert Mugabe. Marginally.

Zinger

I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think thats a good thing.

Hillary Clinton

Tweet

Word from inside the debate hall is Melania just left with Bill Clinton. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StillGotIt?src=hash” data-link-name=”in” body link” class=”u-underline”>#StillGotIt

Bill Maher

Number

73 false or misleading statements made by Trump in Monday nights 90-minute debate, according to a compilation of fact checks by the Clinton campaign.

Photo

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/01/election-campaign-diary-trump-clinton-johnson

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