ANN ALTHOUSE POSES THE QUESTION OF THE AGE: â€œDid Donald Trump make that happen or did he just sit back coolly and let it happen or â€” if such a thing is possible â€” is this not even about Donald Trump?â€
Ann Althouse was actually referring to Megyn Kelly losing negotiating power with Fox News due to her performance interviewing Donald Trump, but when I first read it, I thought she was referring to the mania for Trump that swept over “Reagan democrats” and Low-Information Voter Republicans.
I still think Trump made a big mistake by chickening out of appearing at last night’s debate, but I suppose I agree with him at least in thinking that Megyn Kelly goes way too far in an adversarial direction at times.
In this episode from last night’s debate, she went after Ted Cruz, armed with a prepared gotcha video, in which she tries to damage Cruz by attacking his record on illegal immigration.
Watching this, I thought that she was much, much too pleased with herself and that she was behaving unfairly as a debate moderator by singling out the front runner present for a specially elaborate attack. The tone of her questioning was too avid. Her appetite for Cruz’s destruction too clear. She was too obviously trying to promote herself professionally by moving beyond the proper level of neutrality to take on, only in one special case, the role of attack dog. I think Cruz handled her perfectly well, and I expect poor little Donald Trump could have managed as well, had he be possessed of sufficient fortitude to show up.
Watch the exchange. The gloating “Yes, it would!” at 0:10 I thought was particularly inappropriate.
The enthusiasm for Brave, Brave Sir Donald has, astonishingly survived in numerous quarters his cutting and running, his skulking away and buggering off, his funking last night’s debate.
This morning, Trump is winning Matt Drudge’s Poll (63.51%) and The Blaze’s Poll (54% – “by not being there”!). Go figure.
Yesterday, enthusiastic Trumpkins were all over the Internet explaining just how brilliant The Donald’s missing-the-debate strategy really was. It wasn’t about Megyn Kelly and her mean questioning back last August about misogynist remarks, no, no, no. Trump was dignifiedly boycotting the debate because he was righteously offended by being mocked in a press release issued by some of Roger Ailes’ subordinates.
FOX NEWS: â€œWe learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president. A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.â€
Some conservative commentators and their friends on Facebook yesterday were assuring me that I was clueless because I had failed to do the research necessary in order to learn that Fox News had nefariously arranged to invite “a Muslim and an illegal alien” to participate in the debate questioning, thereby ambushing Trump. I watched (most of) the debate last night and never saw either of them. Their appearance must have been cancelled at the last minute when that political genius Trump craftily avoided the ambush, or maybe not, too.
Donald Trump was always looked upon as a dubious presidential candidate, seemingly lacking in judgement, depth, and gravitas. But Trump decidedly surprised everyone by demonstrating unexpected abilities to debate effectively, to address issues, and to create a case for his candidacy based on opposition to conventional American politics, professional politicians, and political correctness.
He surged in the (very, very early) polls, by being entertaining, and –more importantly– by cleverly framing himself as the opponent of the same political establishment which much of America absolutely loathes and detests.
Serious conservative commentators and the GOP establishment were appalled, but people like me thought Trump was making some good points. He never really seemed all that likely to won the nomination, but in the meantime he did seem to be driving Republican politics in the right kind of anti-Washington, anti-business-as-usual direction. And, heck! if by some miracle, Trump actually won, he’d be bound to be better than Obama.
Well, lo and behold, all it took was the first official GOP debate on Fox News to do in the Trump candidacy. Curiously, Trump really actually did do just fine in the debate itself. But he began to self-destruct as soon as it was over.
The moderators are professional journalists. No one should have been surprised that they acquitted themselves as such. The leftist slander of Fox journalists as Republican toadies is so entrenched that people are surprised when they act professionally. No one should be.
Some conservative commentators criticized the Fox moderators for their tough questioning, but nearly all of the candidates were prepared to address them. The overall quality of the Republican candidates is exceptional; unfortunately, they are, for now, being overshadowed by Trump.
In New York Magazine Gabriel Sherman wrote about the conflict between Trump and Fox News:
Having spent the past six weeks rhetorically slashing at his Republican rivals, it makes perfect sense that Donald Trump would eventually run out of targets and find himself in a war with the partyâ€™s media arm: Fox News. At the GOP primary debate Thursday night in Cleveland, Trumpâ€™s on-stage clashes with the Fox moderators, and his post-debate complaints about the networkâ€™s treatment of him, were among the most talked about storylines to emerge from the Quicken Loans Arena.
If your take-away from the debate is that the moderators were not very nice to you, you do not look like a winner. You look like a whiner.
Megyn Kellyâ€™s first question in Thursdayâ€™s debate ostensibly addressed Trumpâ€™s insulting remarks about women. …
Kelly was asking whether Trump had the temperament to be president. Did he have the strength of character to be calm and collected under fire? Could he handle a crisis without flying off on a rant? Could he deal with foreign leaders when he could not impose his will on them?
The answer did not lie in his words, but in his behavior. Especially, in his continuing post-debate attacks on Megyn Kelly.
Now we know that the great Donald became undone when faced with big, bad Megyn Kelly. Keep in mind, as long as Trump is leading the Republican candidates in the polls, whatever he says reflects on the Republican Party.
Clearly, Kelly got to him. She got under his skin. She provoked an appalling rant, which did not subside after Trump got some rest.
But, certainly, I donâ€™t have a lot of respect for Megyn Kelly, sheâ€™s a lightweight. And she came out there reading her little script, and trying to be tough and be sharp. And when you meet her, you realize sheâ€™s not very tough, and sheâ€™s not very sharp. Sheâ€™s zippo.
Kelly might not have been very tough, but she was tough enough to threaten the Donald. If he cannot deal with someone who is a “zippo”–presumably, he was talking about the lighters– how could he deal with someone of substance. He was so threatened and so disarmed that he started lashing out, irrationally. I suspect that no woman has ever addressed him with such disrespect. As is his wont, Trump responded with a disgracefully indecent remark:
And you know, you can see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever, but she was, in my opinion, she was off base.
When you canâ€™t answer the question, you attack the messenger. It is not a sign of toughness or of strength. It signals weakness. It shows that Trump can be easily manipulated. Those who think that Trump is a tower of strength should revise their opinions. Trump is more bluster than strength; more boasting than leadership. One should be able to tell the difference.
Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, collects negative conclusions on Trump’s potential presidential performance from conservatives.
[Roger Simon thinks foreign adversaries would easily roll The Donald:]
Hereâ€™s how I would imagine they would handle Trump. They would love him to death, treat him like the king of the world, the genius at deal-making, ask him for advice on everything from golf courses to hospital maintenance, and if he got suspicious, love him even more, say great things about how rich he is, what a wonderful plane he has, ask for a tour, get pictures with him for People and Der Spiegelâ€¦ then, after he feels like heâ€™s been just the perfect president and has settled everything, thatâ€™s maybe six months, snatch the Baltic states (Russia), explode your bomb (Iran), move in on practically everything west of Honolulu (China) and look the other way when ISIS blows up three shopping malls in Dallas.
What would Donald do about it? Say â€œYouâ€™re firedâ€? Brag about his money? Iâ€™m not optimistic.
And when it comes to domestic matters, as libertarian blogger â€œPopehatâ€ tweets, â€œConsider the way Trump and his supporters speak of perceived enemies. Now, give them control of the IRS and Justice Department.â€
The Obama Campaign responded to the release of the WBEZ 2001 Obama “redistribution” radio broadcast by issuing a statement blaming “the all too common alliance of Fox News, the Drudge Report and John McCain.”
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly responded by inviting Barack Obama’s National Press Secretary Bill Burton onto Fox News’ America’s Election Headquarters.