Tag Archives: debate


Vote! pic:R.T.

By Steven R. Maher

While the debate performance of Donald J. Trump had clearly improved since the first two debates, Trump manifestly failed to change the trajectory of the presidential race, and reverse the historical tide flowing in favor of Hillary Clinton during the third Presidential debate. Trump needed a big win at the October 19, 2016, debate to expand his voter base. Trump didn’t get one.

The biggest winner of the night was Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Unlike the moderators overseeing the previous debates, Wallace didn’t abet Clinton. Rather than be drawn into disputing what either candidate said, Wallace went silent when he saw Trump or Clinton were determined to have their say. He adroitly pivoted to questions on new subjects without being either overbearing or unsubtle. It was a bravura performance by Wallace, one both Wallace and Fox News could take pride in.

Unanimous agreement

Both liberal and conservative pundits were in unanimous agreement on one point: Trump did enormous damage to himself by stating that he would decide after the election, whether or not to accept the legitimacy of the election results.

“I will look at it at the time,” said Trump. “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

On this, Andrew Breitbart, Brit Hume, Megyn Kelly, and Laura Ingraham of Fox News concurred with Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and James Carville of MSNBC that this was an egregious gaffe that undermined Trump’s entire debate performance.

This showed extremely poor preparation on the part of either Trump or his handlers. Whether Trump would accept the legitimacy of the electorate’s decision had been the subject of widespread speculation before the debate. Indeed, InCity Times published prior to the debate an online article disputing Trump’s assertion that widespread voter identification fraud would result in a “rigged” election. A question on the subject was inevitable.

One pundit pointed that Trump could have avoided this controversy by stating that he, like Al Gore in 2000, would feel free to call for a recount if the margin of defeat in a swing state like Florida was infinitesimal. No one could have objected to such a response. Instead, Trump gave the response Clinton was probably praying for.

Shoring up base

Trump, as happened in the first two debates, started out strong, and made his major blunders in the last half of the debate. His objection to the horrendous procedure known as “partial birth abortion” and 2nd Amendment rights likely shored up Trump’s dissipating base of Republican religious voters and gun advocates. Clinton did the same among pro-choice voters, stressing the torment felt by women who made the extraordinarily difficult decision to have an abortion. Clinton reiterated that she was not against the 2nd Amendment, but wanted to work to stop guns from getting into the hands of mass murderers who commit atrocities, like the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando Florida.

Clinton baited Trump, calling him Vladimir Putin’s “puppet,” and making other comments clearly intended to provoke Trump into making one of his thought-purging diatribes. In this Clinton was wildly successful, as Trump repeatedly spoke angrily, evoking the image of man lacking the necessary temperament to be President. Watching the debate, this writer half expected Trump to pull off one of his shoes and begin banging the podium in a fury, a la Nikita Khrushchev at the United Nations.

Trump spoke several times without thinking, as he demonstrated once again his ingrained prejudices towards women and Hispanics. Trump’s response to a question about immigration included this aside: “We have some bad hombres here and we will have to get them out.” When Clinton criticized Trump, the Donald snarled, “Such a nasty woman.”

The optics favored Clinton. She was more assertive than at the previous debate, smiling like Ronald Reagan when Trump verbally attacked her. Someone apparently forgot to tell Trump that the broadcast would show his face while Clinton spoke. He looked like the Saturday Night Live caricature by Alex Baldwin, grumpily grimacing as Clinton spoke, repeatedly blurting out the word “Wrong.”

In recent weeks Trump in his stump speeches criticized Clinton for spending so much time preparing for this debate. Clinton spent the time well, and was much better prepared for this debate than Trump.

Clinton’s to lose

This election is now Hillary Clinton’s to lose. As it stands now, Clinton – unless there is a massive hidden Brexit-like vote for Trump – will win with long coattails, likely carrying with her into office a Democratic Senate and possibly a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Unless she makes a stupendous gaffe, or a WikiLeaks download reveals something enormously destructive about her, Hillary Clinton will be elected President of the United States in less than three weeks.

Hoffman on FIRST presidential debate

Vote! Our future depends on it! (Downtown Worcester mural) pic: R.T.

Hillary ran away with it!

By Jack Hoffman

Just about every pundit had some metaphor or analogous characterization of the (presidential) race to the finish line. Mine is very simple: If you have ever seen a horse race, the flower garland prize for the race in this case goes to Hill … . A five-furlong horse
usually starts in the starting gate and barely goes from the starting gate to the finish.

But a horse that has the “stamina” can go the distance, usually a mile or more and can wipe out that five furlong sprinter. That’s exactly what happened at the first Hillary-Trump presidential debate.

I remember in my Worcester Academy debating class 101 – we participated in several debates. We were usually graded on several things. Most important – our preparation. Donald flunked the course!
I got very nervous in the first 20 or more minutes of this race to the finish line. As we got going Donald seemed not to adhere to his advisors’ advice to lay off the name calling and act presidential. But it some how leaked out that he was absent from the set ups, where with one of his advisors pretending to act out Hillary and what she might say to him during the debate.

At the 1/2 mile post Hillary pounced on Trump. First, it was one of his many lies. Too numerous to mention here, but she wanted to start getting under that thin skin of his. So she hit him in the gut about his inheritance lie.

He did, in fact, get more than $14 million from his father. He never talks about the loan his father gave him for his casinos in New Jersey. That was before Donald actually stiffed his own father on the loan package when it went belly up. Donald’s father was already dead – “a stiff “! – when Donald stiffed so many. That’s not counting the $3.5 million buy his father made in chips to help the failing casino. Undoubtedly daddy Trump Fred was just trying to recoup some of his original loan money.

I wonder if some of Trump’s advisors told him it would be a split screen tv debate and he should keep his arrogant smiles, belying looks and more to himself? But most of all his constant interruptions. Now that was class?

Then came his taxes that he has lied about, and when Hillary raised the issue that he probably paid zero in taxes, just as he did in the latter 1970s, he responded,  “That was just being smart.”

Followed by his woman comments about fat, ugly and more.

He said: That was directed at Rosie O’Donnel.

Rosie called him “an orange asshole.”

Imagine Donny at a conference table discussing NATO with all its members?!!
Donny breaks away from the substantive issues that he doesn’t  understand and looks at Angie Merkel (Prime Minister of Germany) and comments on her weight.

Lisa Machado, who was a Miss Universe contestant at one of Donald’s beauty pageants, commented on what the Don said at the end of the event. He said to Lisa: “You looked like a fat pig” “and you better get a job as a hotel housekeeper.”

She is a native Mexican and a naturalized citizen of the U.S.

Maybe Donald couldn’t screw
her like he did so many…

I spent most of the day asking all kinds of people what they thought of the debate.

One volunteer said she doesn’t know how any self respecting woman could ever vote for him. I responded there are plenty of women out there who are truly subordinate to their husbands and their opinions, especially re: voting.

In this day and age that’s sad. I remember election days past in Worcester when I was growing up: My mother was handed a piece of paper with the names of all the Republican candidates on it that she was supposed to vote for. Ma couldn’t wait to get into her car and rip up that slip of paper on the way to the voting booth! She was a true woman – liberated long before it was fashionable.

Now I didn’t watch Fox, but I heard they were not that positiveabout the Donald. Probably Roger Ailes’ departure has changed Fox around the edges.

Interestingly, Ailes couldn’t get laid either!

He is now an aide to Donald.

I guess the birds all fly together…

I’m begging to hear from you Trump supporters! I dare you!


Let’s be done with this shit parade!!! pic: R.T.

By Steven R. Maher

Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton both claimed victory in the second Presidential debate on October 9. Clinton didn’t score a knock out that ended the campaign that night. Trump didn’t hit a grand slam that would make his campaign unstoppable. This observer’s opinion is that the debate itself was a draw, but Trump, by shoring up his base, gained more from the encounter than Clinton did.

It looked like Clinton’s goal was to avoid a catastrophic error, not score a knockout. Trump’s performance was so superior to his first debate performance that by comparison he looked better. By throwing red meat to his followers (“You’d be in jail”), Trump shored up his base.

Debate backdrop

The debate took place against a backdrop of Trump’s campaign imploding. Three days earlier the Washington Post put online on a video of Trump, unaware he was being recorded, talking about how he groped women without permission, and was entitled to grabbing women’s sex organs uninvited by virtue of Trump’s celebrity.

Dozens of Republican Senators and Congressmen bailed out like rats on a sinking ship from Trump’s Titanic, tweeting out criticisms of Trump or calling on him to withdraw from the race. It almost looked like the party’s establishment had been waiting for this moment to withdraw their support from the embattled Trump, just when he needed it most. One was reminded of Franklin Roosevelt’s observation during World War II that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had stabbed France in the back, after the Nazis had defeated the French Army, and Mussolini only then declared war on a beleaguered France.

This unseeming sight was such that Fox News’ conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly, a self-described “traditionalist“, derided the Republican deserters as “weasels.” Monday morning O’Reilly stated that Trump won the first third of the debate of the 90-minute debate, no one won the second third, and Clinton won the last third.

What Trump did right

What did Trump do right? He resorted to the politically incorrect excessive rhetoric that reminded his Republican base of the reasons they voted for Trump in the first place. He hauled in four victims of Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual peccadillos for photographing by the media prior to the debate, and then seated them prominently in the front row of the debate audience. He called Clinton the “devil”, said she would be in jail if he were President, and denouncing Bill Clinton’s philandering as worse than Trump’s “locker room talk”.

It was raw red meat for Trump’s supporters. They ate it up. Trump also showed leadership by saying before, during, and after the debate that he would under no circumstances withdraw from the race. This was enough to staunch the bleeding. Suddenly, the rainstorm of public defections of Republican Congressmen dried up. Knowing that hordes of Trump’s followers will materialize in large numbers on Election Day, Republican candidates undoubtedly did not want to antagonize potential Republican votes. They will probably await the next Trump blunder – a 3:00 AM tweet or embarrassing tape of Trump saying something best left unsaid – to abandon the GOP nominee.

The one discordant note the day after the debate came from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. In a telephone call to GOP Representatives, Ryan told the Congressman participating that each one could take a public stance on Trump that would best benefit their campaign without fear of retaliation, and that he would neither defend Trump in public nor campaign for Trump. But Ryan was emphatic that he would not withdraw his endorsement of Trump. If Trump had performed as disastrously at the second debate as he did at the first, Ryan would have thrown Trump overboard without any further ado, sending Trump off to sleep with the fishes.

Clinton apparently went into the debate with a more subtle agenda. With Trump’s campaign imploding, it looks like she decided to judiciously say as little as possible, letting Trump damage himself by his own statements.

With her polls and popularity growing by the day, with Democrats solidly behind her, and the Republican establishment turning on Trump with a vengeance, Clinton may have decided to go for a stalemate and not risk her hard won frontrunner status. After what Clinton has been through in the last year and a half, Hillary may have concluded the safest thing was to get through the last two debates with a stalemate after her stellar performance in the first round.

On one point, this has proven an excellent approach. Clinton skillfully evaded having the post-debate news cycle being dominated by her husband’s sexual adventures by reminding everyone present about Michelle Obama’s advice to take the high road, and not commenting on the often troubled Clinton marriage. It was superb piece of maneuvering on Clinton’s part.

The parallax view

The word parallax is defined in various dictionaries as an event or object, which seen from different viewpoints, being interpreted totally differently depending on the vantage point of the observer. This phenomena was noted American sociologists by the dissimilar reactions of white Americans and Afro-Americans to the OJ Simpson verdict, or the contrasting responses to the tragic police shootings of African-American males. How events are perceived differently by Afro-Americans has sometimes astonished white Americans.

Men and women, due to their inherent differences and experiences, may have experienced the parallax phenomena regarding this second debate. During the debate Trump paced around the room, stood gripping a chair, or lurking immediately behind Clinton as she answered questions. It looked like Trump was invading Clinton’s personal space. Some of the female commentators stated they were creeped out by Trump’s lurking behind Clinton.

Indeed, Trump’s own campaign manager, Kelly Ann Conway stated in a post-debate interview with Chris Matthews, that she would know if Clinton had a bad night, if the media criticized Trump for standing so close to Clinton. Trump would have been well advised to return to his seat and sit until the next question. After all, Al Gore had done this once in 2000 to George W. Bush during a debate, and was widely perceived as trying to bully Bush, losing many votes in the process.

The key to this election will be the suburban woman voter. The same type of blowback Gore experienced may hit Trump for his behavior on stage, and if current polls are accurate, Clinton will win by a massive margin among this electoral cross-section. Seem from their perspective, Trump supporters saw a man who heroically threatened to put Clinton in jail, called her the Devil, lurked behind her in a threatening manner and saw Trump drag out her husband’s alleged sexual victims for public display like trophies. Seen from the perspective of female voters, with a lifetime of being discriminated against and being disrespected by the male chauvinists of this world, this might have looked like something completely different.

Dozens of Medicaid recipients, providers and advocates demand answers from Senator Scott Brown

editor’s note: Scott Brown needs to be dumped by the voters this fall. Brown is nothing more than a smooth-talking opportunist. He puts his finger in the wind and decides how to vote based on: WILL THIS GET ME RE-ELECTED? No character. No moral code. No beliefs worth fighting for – so unlike our late, great Teddy Kennedy. Brown is just an empty vessel wearing a barn jacket.

We miss Kennedy now more than ever. He would be the voice of reason, the voice of compassion, the wind beneath our wings.

– R. Tirella

Dozens of Medicaid recipients, providers and advocates demand answers from the commonwealth’s junior senator as national debt deadline looms!

BOSTON – As politicians continued their high-stakes horse trading over the national debt in Washington, dozens of Massachusetts residents directly affected by the negotiations rallied Thursday to demand answers from their own US Senator, Scott Brown. The broad coalition of local Medicaid recipients, service providers and independent living advocates gathered to ask Brown: “Will you choose Medicaid or Millionaires?”

“Because of my disability, I depend on Medicaid funds to live and work independently,” said David Sandison, a local Medicaid recipient who relies on in-home assistance. “So I have a question for Scott Brown: will you vote to save Medicaid, or will you support tax breaks for oil companies and billionaires?”

Questions from constituents and journalists on debt-related Medicaid cuts have gone unanswered for weeks, as Brown and his staff continue to avoid taking a position on more than $500 billion in proposed cuts to federal health care programs.

Stacy Hart, a consumer advocate with the Boston Center for Independent Living, explained that for many families – including her own – the funding of Medicaid programs is a matter of life and death. “Medicaid saved my husband’s life. He was in a coma for several months until the doctors could address a very serious medical condition,” said Hart. “Without Medicaid, my husband never would have woken up, rejoined his family, or come back to work as a member of the community. We need to know where Scott Brown stands on these cuts.”

Joseph Rotella, a successful business owner from Waltham, called on Brown to do the right thing for the most vulnerable in Massachusetts – even if that means raising taxes.

“I’m a beneficiary of the Bush-era tax cuts. But as someone fortunate enough to be in the top income bracket, I’m fully able and willing to make my contribution to society,” said Rotella. “So I have to ask Scott Brown to take a hard look at where his priorities lie. Will he stand up and protect Medicaid funding for those who need it most? Or will he cut those funds to protect tax breaks that aren’t really necessary?”

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care for All, put the decision before Brown in the starkest of terms, calling on the senator to set partisanship aside and take a stand in support of his constituents.

“I know it’s tough for Senator Brown to balance serving his party and serving the people of Massachusetts – but there should be no choice between maintaining the health of our state’s elderly and disabled residents and cutting taxes for the most wealthy among us,” said Whitcomb Slemmer. “Hundreds of billions of dollars in health care cuts, and millions of lives, are at stake. We call on Senator Brown to show leadership by supporting health care for our state’s most vulnerable populations.”

As of press time, Brown has offered no additional clarity on his potential support of the $500 billion health care cut – or tax breaks for the wealthiest of Americans – that remain at the center of ongoing debt negotiations.