The two gladiators approached the stage slowly, like animals crouching, circling each other, ready to pounce.
Donald and Hillary were engaged in the biggest game of chicken in their lives. For the viewers, it was almost like watching mutually assured destruction in the making. He — as a fast-moving businessman with a rapidly approaching past. She — as an expert enabler of a possible rapist husband who sat caged nearby.
Both had already hit the nuclear button, and the countdown to obliteration was underway. This was going to be full scorched-earth.
We have to give Donald the win on the debate and not just because moderator Martha Raddatz started debating him halfway through. Donald did not allow the moderators to walk all over him in the way they did to Mitt Romney.
Hillary had already pulled the trigger on Friday by releasing the audio on Donald’s discussion of his boorish exploits. It was a calculated move to allow the visceral reaction to develop in the public, and to knock Donald off his game. It didn’t work: Donald brought his A game.
FIRST RAPIST? The debate Sunday night was a chance for Hillary to come clean about the actual abuse of women by her husband, and her absolute unyielding defense of him. She didn’t come clean. It was all lies, she said.
Twenty-five years ago, on national television Hillary defended her husband, saying this on 60 Minutes: “I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette.”
Last night, she was in full Tammy Wynette mode, standing by her predatory man, and the subtext of the entire debate was Bill Clinton on trial.
Donald produced a Facebook broadcast prior to the main event, accompanied by women who accuse Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, er, rape.
The women, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Kathy Shelton, then sat in the audience during the debates, not far from the man they accused. It was awkward.
This writer is reminded that while Donald has been in the real estate and international beauty pageant businesses (dare we say land and cattle?) and has led an admittedly hedonistic private life, Bill and Hillary Clinton chose the path of public trust.
The Clinton Machine has abused that trust badly — separately and together, as the first couple of Arkansas and the first couple of the free world, which they plundered through their fake influence-buying foundation. They’re America’s version of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos: Corrupt, powerful, unrepentant.
Juanita Broaddrick said last night, “Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me and Hillary Clinton threatened me. I don’t think there’s anything worse.”
Donald appeared on the debate stage under more pressure than perhaps any candidate in history. He didn’t melt down, and he certainly didn’t back down. Instead, he showed just what kind of leader he would be if put up against someone like, say, Vladimir Putin.
In June, Hillary questioned Donald’s temperament: “This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes. It’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.”
Last night, he proved her wrong. As it turns out, he’s got more than mettle. He’s got every bit of nerve it takes to lead.
One Alaskan Trump supporter wrote to Must Read over the weekend with this view:
“In battle, the leaders are up front. This election is a battle. Those Republicans who turn tail and run to the back in fright over Trump’s locker room talk are more shameful than anything Trump could say. Turn tails who renounce their support for our Republican candidate need to rethink. Please, Republicans, get back on track and support the strongest, most determined candidate. Talk is cheap. Trump is a builder. Give him support. Do not suggest a turn tail to take his place.”
TAKEAWAY: Bedwetters who prematurely called the election for Hillary just had their nether regions handed to them. It’s not over. The Republican base is still on board.
OUCH! FASHION STATEMENT: The blouse worn by Melania Trump during last night’s debate? Here it is on Net-a-Porter’s website. Yes, it’s called a pussy-bow. Now you know: