So after a couple days like that, Donald Trump turns up zombified and sniffing.

There is no point to the observation, yet, as we have yet to see if he brought anything other than concussed spite. But the first bit has been, shall we say, strange.

[18:36] Donald Trump just blew up a weird critique one of my Sanders-supporting friends won’t let go of, that only Hillary Clinton’s corruption prevents single-payer, that she needs to be led to it by the nose by the smarter, wiser Bernie Sanders, and all that. Never mind, it’s a personal thing ‘twixt us. Kind of funny, though. Yet, Donald: Repeal and replace … with what?

[18:41] Let us try according to theatre: What is this breathing method? What school of stagecraft prescribes such a technique?

No, seriously, is it a Wharton thing?

[18:55] This really is astounding. That sniffing thing really does seem like a presentation technique. But that’s just it; Donald Trump is putting on the show of a businessman who is trying very hard to show he isn’t rocked or reeling or panicking. This is the look and sound of a businessman trying to wrangle everything back on track by force of sheer will and self-confidence.

[19:00] Sean Nelson of The Stranger suggests (18:53) in the live-slog, “He sniffs on punchlines and conspicuous lies”.

[19:08] Something about the insult to substance ratio in Donald Trump’s performance just … I mean, you know … just doesn’t … er … I mean, come on, really? Just making it up as you go, there, Mr. Trump? Something about Obama something something doesn’t listen? Huh? No, really: What?

[19:11] Something about GOP ticket unity, and something about avoiding the question. Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump’s Aleppo moment.

[19:14] Just out of curiosity, how much a freaking mess do you expect the rush transcripts to be?

[19:22] It’s an uncertain question, but is it possible that, you know, just maybe, some minority voters are going to resent Donald Trump for treating their American experience so blithely while simultaneously either refusing or failing to say anything useful?

[19:33] Did Hillary Clinton just wallop the hell out of Donald Trump with a Chinese steel girder? No, seriously, did she just bludgeon him with a headline?

[19:40] The last question seemed almost emblematic; Hillary Clinton was on point, on theme, and brought her answer around full circle. Donald Trump, for his part, gave his most honest answer of the night, and, yes, wrecked his own bit about how she doesn’t have enough stamina, but yes, I will give him credit for that answer. He’s a prizefighter trying to count the rounds until this is over, and all he can think is that he can’t hit her hard enough, and she just keeps nailing him over and over and over and the only problem is that Donald Trump is simply not smart enough to know when to fall over.

[19:48] Post-debate analysis note: Chris Matthews of msnbc is, of course, a unique presence in Beltway punditry and analysis; his determination to create a narrative at once compelling and equivocating is, on this occasion, nearly hilarious.

[20:12] Post-debate analysis: The bit between Brian Williams and James Carville on msnbc is officially awesome. Williams just threw down on false equivalence like I’m not sure I’ve noticed he’s capable of doing. Good times, good times.

(Time stamps 9 October 2016, Pacific Daylight Time [PDT].)


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