ChrisWeigant.com

Lauering The Bar

[ Posted Thursday, September 8th, 2016 – 16:21 UTC ]

One of the risks I regularly take as a blogger is to write and publish my own reactions to major political events (like debates) before I even look at what anyone else is saying. This assures the reader that my opinions and perceptions will be untainted by groupthink, and solely my own. I cannot follow the pack, as it were, if I have no idea where they're headed. But, as with any risk, occasionally it puts me in a position at odds with the political universe.

That's where I largely find myself this morning, after watching an absolute dogpile (is it too early to break out the football metaphors?) of pundits, with the hapless Matt Lauer at the bottom being ground down into the turf. Anyone who read the column I posted last night might now scoff at how easily I let Lauer off, after reading everyone else who is now universally panning his performance. So I thought the subject deserved more attention today, perhaps in a masochistic desire to rub salt in my own wounds, as it were.

I guess my biggest difference of opinion about the non-debate debate that NBC hosted last night was due to my own rather low expectations, after hearing Matt Lauer was going to be the moderator. I mean... Matt Lauer? Really? The guy whose previous big journalistic moment was interviewing Ryan Lochte? Lauer is not exactly known for his depth of knowledge about foreign affairs or politics, so I really didn't expect much. In a world where there was a shred of justice in the political media, whomever made the decision to give Lauer the hosting job would be looking for work this morning. But, of course, that world does not exist, because if it did pundits who regularly get everything they say wrong would also be out of work (Bill Kristol, I am looking in your direction...). Instead, what we get is the trending hashtag "#LauerTheBar" -- which is pretty amusing, I have to admit.

But back to my own reactions. As I said, I didn't exactly have high hopes for Lauer, but I thought he did a reasonable job at the task he was given. Here's what I wrote last night:

For some unfathomable reason, Matt Lauer moderated the event. Lauer is not exactly the first person on the NBC bench I would pick to host the kickoff political event of the campaign season's homestretch, to put it mildly. There are plenty of others with much wider and deeper experience, on both the military and on politics in general. I wasn't expecting much from Lauer, but in the end he did a better job than other moderators I've seen this election cycle, so perhaps I'm being too unfair to him. He was competent, if not exactly noteworthy.

My opinion was shared by exactly no one, this morning, I should point out. But a lot of the people jumping all over Lauer's performance I would rate equally as bad, because few of them have had any noticeable success in holding candidates' feet to the fire this election cycle.

An unrelated story has a lesson worth pointing out here. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was just embarrassed onscreen by not recognizing what Aleppo was, when asked. The condemnation of Johnson's lack of knowledge was notable in a few key instances -- from the New York Times to a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq -- because while chortling over Johnson's ignorance, they painfully exposed their own. It was asserted blithely that Aleppo was the capital of the Islamic State, the capital of Syria, and an Islamic State stronghold -- none of which is true. The Times, in particular, blew it twice in a row before someone explained the real situation in Aleppo to them. When laughing at someone's ignorance in public, it's a good idea to have your facts straight beforehand, in other words. Or, perhaps, let he who is without sin cast the first stone?

This is pretty much how I see all the piling on of Matt Lauer today. OK, sure, he couldn't ask a decent followup question to save his life. But who among his detractors has done a much better job with Donald Trump? There have only been a handful of times throughout the entire campaign when a journalist has forced Trump to admit that he's been baldly lying about something, after all -- a few times during the Republican debates, and a few times during one-on-one interviews. That's it. What should happen on a regular basis just doesn't happen much at all -- which is entirely the fault of those now gleefully badmouthing Lauer. If you can't do a better job yourselves, then how can you point the finger at Lauer for failing to do so?

Asking followups to Trump's falsehoods and bizarre statements is fairly easy to do. Especially with lines he's been using for months and months which make no sense whatsoever. It's the political equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel, really. A lot of people are focusing on Trump's false claim that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning (when he didn't), but there's an even easier example to use: Trump's throwback stance that we should have just "taken the oil" in Iraq. He stated this position again last night, and any one of the following would have been a dandy thing to ask Trump immediately afterwards:

  • You are aware that "taking their oil" would be seen by the entire world -- at best -- as a throwback to the colonialism of the 1800s, and at worst as a modern war crime, aren't you?
  • OK, if American troops took the oil fields as you've suggested, then how would you get the oil out of the ground? Would U.S. troops be running oil rigs and refineries?
  • Even if you got the oil out of the ground, how exactly would you transport it to the world market?
  • Don't you think that pipelines or trucks or tankers carrying this oil might be subject to attacks by Iraqis who would view the United States as stealing their property?
  • In fact, don't you think that Americans taking all the Iraqi oil would give birth to a massive military force determined not to allow us to take their oil? Since this might even include the Iraqi army, wouldn't that actually be worse than the current situation with ISIS?

These questions aren't that hard to come up with, to put it mildly. And that's just on one issue -- all the other bizarre claims Trump spouts are just as easy to rebut. But my point is that while Lauer missed a golden opportunity to ask such followups, so has virtually everyone else who has ever interviewed Trump. When have any of those questions actually been asked? As far as I know, the answer is "never." So maybe those piling on Lauer now shouldn't be quite so smug.

Lauer is being criticized for more than just his lack of followup questions, though. He is indeed guilty of some of these criticisms, but not all. Lauer was hit for the condensed nature of the program, but that wasn't really his fault. The hour-long format was reportedly the only one the candidates themselves would agree to, though, meaning Lauer was off the hook for that particular blame.

Lauer was also hit hard for his own pacing, which he is indeed partially at fault for. I actually thought there were more audience questions than normal at such events, and to get them all in, Lauer had to keep the pace pretty snappy. One valid criticism was that he spent way too much time on Clinton's emails, which is true -- this subject dominated the first 10 minutes or so of her half-hour appearance. Lauer didn't spend that amount of time on any subject with Trump, even though he easily could have. This brings up a more general complaint, that Lauer had hardball questions for Clinton while tossing Trump nothing but softballs. This wasn't entirely true (he did hit Trump once or twice), but it's indisputable that he hit Clinton a lot harder and a lot more often.

Matt Lauer is no more than a political lightweight, and even that's being downright charitable. He is much more about entertainment than he is about journalism. When political lightweights get to host important political events, they try their hardest to appear to be serious hard-hitting journalists, often with cringeworthy results. Lauer fell into a common trap for those who watch too much cable television -- he decided that he'd have a followup question already prepared, and he would pounce with that question before the candidate had a chance to answer his initial question.

Lauer had two big problems with this tactic. The first was that it was pretty obvious that these followups were pre-planned, because when candidates said things that really should have had an obvious (and intelligent) followup question, Lauer ignored virtually every opportunity to do so. The second big problem Lauer had was that his "I'm interrupting you with my pounce question" routine was used almost exclusively with Hillary Clinton. Trump got interrupted once or twice, but Clinton couldn't finish a sentence during the first 20 minutes because Lauer stomped all over her answers. Now, to be extra-charitable, perhaps Clinton forced Lauer to change his overall plan in the midst of it. At one point she refused to let him interrupt her, saying: "Let me finish -- this is important." After that point, Lauer noticeably backed off, even to the point of letting her run out the clock on her final answer. Perhaps Lauer was so chagrined by being taken to task in this fashion that he decided not to use it on Trump (who followed Clinton on the stage). Perhaps. Or perhaps Democrats routinely have to deal with this annoyance on a regular basis, while Republicans don't usually have to (see: any Sunday morning political talk show, on any given Sunday). Or perhaps, as some are now claiming, it is nothing short of sexism, since Clinton is a woman.

Whatever you choose to believe, Lauer's performance was instructive in two ways. First, the network news executives at NBC obviously don't know what the heck they're doing. They keep thinking "entertainment is more important than depth and knowledge." Don't believe me? Well, Lauer reminded me of nothing so much as the long and painful interlude the longest-running television show of all time went through -- the David Gregory era at Meet The Press. Gregory, like Lauer, couldn't ask a decent followup question if his life depended on it. He couldn't think his way out of a paper bag. This was obvious to anyone with a few brain cells to rub together, and yet Gregory stayed on the air for far longer than he should have. Thank you, NBC News programming executives.

The other takeaway from Lauer's performance could wind up being extremely positive, both for Americans interested in politics and for NBC News. Because the first real debate will be moderated by none other than Lester Holt, the current anchor of NBC's evening news. The pressure is now, obviously, on Holt to do a much better job than Lauer. The precision of the complaints about Lauer (the Lauering of the bar, in other words) hopefully will be very helpful to Holt, in a "here's what not to do" kind of way.

If Holt hears what the critics are saying, then he'll strive not to be guilty of all the things Lauer was last night. He will ask hardball questions to both candidates. He will allow them to answer, but he will also follow up on what they actually say, especially if easily-obtainable facts and quotes prove their statements wrong. He will, in short, do his homework and come to the debate prepared. He will also be aware that he might be criticized for the same things Lauer was, so hopefully he'll bend over backwards not to make Lauer's errors (which may actually cause Holt to make new and different errors, but that's the inherent risk involved).

Even after all the condemnation of Matt Lauer, my own reaction remains mostly unchanged. I thought it was sheer idiocy to give him the job to begin with. That hasn't changed. I thought he was a complete political lightweight who is more comfortable interviewing sports and entertainment personalities. I still do. I didn't think of the similarity between Lauer hosting presidential candidates and David Gregory hosting Meet The Press until today, but if I had thought of it yesterday I would have included it in my article. But even having said all of that, Lauer did a similar job as a whole bunch of other reporters have done with both Trump and Clinton for roughly the past year. Trump is very, very hard to pin down on anything, even when the perfect followup question is actually asked. If a journalist tries to nail him down too hard, Trump winds up badmouthing the journalist rather than answering the question. Clinton can be just as hard to pin down, but in a different way. You've got to almost be a lawyer yourself at times to parse a Clinton answer to a tough question, because of the carefully thought out syntax and caveats contained within such answers. Perhaps because of these differing styles, Clinton and Trump have consistently been treated differently both in interviews and in debates. For Clinton, the challenge is wording the question so carefully that she can't use weasel words to escape it. For Trump, the challenge is to get him to say anything definitive on just about any subject. This leads to lowering the bar when talking to Trump, because it's hard to ask him about details when he won't even commit to his big-picture answer. Lauer failed to penetrate both candidates' defense mechanisms last night, it is true, but then again virtually every serious political journalist has also failed to do so for the past year, so it's kind of ironic to see them all pile on Lauer today.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

84 Comments on “Lauering The Bar”

  1. [1] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, after having written this, I am now (*cringe*) going to read the comments to last night's article...

    -CW

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh. Not to worry ... it's all good. :)

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, just finished and answered yesterday's comments:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2016/09/07/my-snap-reactions-to-nbc-candidate-forum/#comment-83757

    You're right, LizM, it was better than I thought it was going to be...

    :-)

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:
  5. [5] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CW,

    I'm with you in that I didn't expect much from Lauer, so I wasn't that surprised when he failed to deliver...although I was disappointed by his letting Trump continue to say things that have been documented as being untrue.

    Question: Am I alone in thinking that whether or not Trump supported the invasion of Iraq is a moot point as that support carried no actual weight to it? It is pathetic that this guy is so dishonest that we just accept that he's going to be lying and move on to the next lie. Clinton was a senator, so her support carried political weight. Granted, I also think that this whole part of history should always have the footnote that we were being lied to by Cheney and team about Iraq having the WMD's. I think that made a lot of people support the invasion, especially since we knew iraq was willing to use chemical weapons.

  6. [6] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Same as it ever was.

  7. [7] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "Am I alone in thinking that whether or not Trump supported the invasion of Iraq is a moot point as that support carried no actual weight to it"

    I don't know if you're a lone, but he's openly admitted donating money to politicians with the expectation that they would do his bidding.

  8. [8] 
    Paula wrote:

    I agree, Chris. I think Lauer is kind of the scapegoat at the the moment for all the journalists who failed to follow-up on a candidate, etc. I think he was put in a losing position, especially given the brevity of the event. If it was his idea to do the email questions, well, "F" for that. And his interrupting Hillary wasn't good -- although her telling him to back-off (essentially) caused him to do so, and I think that was good. It may, as you suggested, also have caused him to not interrupt Trump, which then lead to him being pilloried for being sexist… all in all, a bad day to be Matt Lauer.

    Josh Marshall agrees, btw, too.

    What Lauer's performance did was highlight a number of problems we suffer from re: media coverage, presidential campaigns, etc. I linked in a previous thread to MIchael Tomasky's column today (http://paulawriter.com/should-moderators-fact-check-candidates/%22http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/09/08/it-s-time-for-the-media-to-step-up-and-call-out-donald-trump-s-many-lies.html) that got into fact-checking by debate moderators. He threw out an idea my husband and I have been kicking around for the last few years: the notion of having fact-checkers right there, on-stage or next to the stage, with online access, doing fact-checking in real time. I think the idea, while undoubtedly tricky to implement, has a lot of merit. And I think it would take some rather unfair pressure off the moderators, who really can't be expected to know everything about everything.

  9. [9] 
    Paula wrote:

    [5] Listen: Yes, the emphasis on whether Trump supported the war or not -- who cares? Yes, he lies about that, but there are other lies that would have been more meaningful to go after, I think.

    Although, Chris, I think Lauer DID actually question Trump on the "we should have taken the oil" statement. He pushed back once for sure, maybe twice. Trump just babbled in response and Matt didn't nail him with the fact that "taking the oil" would have been a monstrous crime, etc. But he did say something like: "how would we have taken the oil?" -- I remember that, and Trump said something about leaving troops there.

  10. [10] 
    Paula wrote:
  11. [11] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    JFC [7],

    True, and that is what makes Trump's debt to foreign interests such a risk. Trump said he was so good at business that he would be the first candidate to make a profit from running. We should definitely take him at his word!

  12. [12] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Paula,

    One of the most shocking statements that I ever heard during an election came from Mitt Romney's campaign pollster Neil Newhouse when he said,

    "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

    From that point on, every time Romney gave a speech my brain replayed that comment over and over; before, during, and after he spoke! If you tell me that you aren't going to be honest with me, I am going to take you at your word. I miss the days when liars weren't tolerated or trusted.

  13. [13] 
    Hawk Owl wrote:

    "Lauering the Bar" . . .?!?!
    . . . delicious, just a delicious pun.
    Made my day.
    Hawkowl

  14. [14] 
    apophis wrote:

    We now have a semi-formal, if not official, name for "the act or practice of tossing softballs at an interview subject." "Lauering".

    IMO Lauer was the only choice. Can you imagine if Maddow or Reid would have been chosen. Trump would have hit the roof. So lauer took a hit for the team, picked up his check and went back to his job as an entertainer and cooking show host. We'll see if others take note of his performance and improve on his moderating skills in future encounters with Trump. I hope to see very little Lauering at the debates..

  15. [15] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Having a discussion with a friend who is as perplexed as I am when we learn from otherwise intelligent and well meaning people that they support Trump for President when he offered up what I believe to be a brilliant explanation for this:

    Trump: the Rorschach candidate!

    People see what they want to when they look at him and nothing else.

    I'd never heard that one before, but I like it.

  16. [16] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    I recall asking for comedy for "a taco truck on every corner." Friday TPM, I think.

    Reality is better than fiction: We now have a real thing. A Latino-American GOTV effort called Guac the Vote.

    Way cool.

  17. [17] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [15] ListenWhenYouHear:

    There was a previous "Rorschach candidate":

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101185160

    Yep. Obama in 2008.

    I've been thinking for most of the night about what could account for this unexpected similarity between the two men.

    I finally discarded the premise that there is some innate quality that these men have in common that causes this. The only pertinent similarity the two might have in this regard is probably that each, in his own way, might cause cognitive dissonance within a part of the electorate that might find it hard to accept, or process as a candidate for president, a sophisticated, brilliant black family man, or a billionaire 'champion of the common man'.

    But as I've said, I finally discarded that because it leans heavily on perceptions of the candidates by those who dislike them. The "Rorschach" phenomena, on the other hand, seems to affect mostly the followers of these candidates, folks who become so enamored of their chosen candidate that they project their own hopes and beliefs upon them.

    But, aha! There could be a simple explanation for this that doesn't require a masters degree to figure: in both cases, the candidate comes along after his party had been out of the presidency for eight years. If this is true, then I should be able to find....this:

    http://prospect.org/article/rorschach-candidate

    Yep. Bushlet was also called a rorschach candidate!

    So I'll offer my own non-scientific opinion that what appears at first to be a mysterious quality of the candidates is probably just the desire of partisans to return their party to power, which apparently triggers pronounced rationalization/projection behavior.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    This brings up a more general complaint, that Lauer had hardball questions for Clinton while tossing Trump nothing but softballs. This wasn't entirely true (he did hit Trump once or twice), but it's indisputable that he hit Clinton a lot harder and a lot more often.

    That's because there is a LOT more to hit Clinton hard about..

    But the Left can't see thru the ideological blinders to recognize the..

    The Left's attitude can be summed up by SF Bear's ignorance..

    "The American people don't care about Hillary's emails."

    The American people DO care.. That is why Hillary's trust, honesty and integrity numbers are in the toilet...

    But the Left can't acknowledge the seriousness of the issue...

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    SF Bear,

    The Left's attitude can be summed up by SF Bear's ignorance..

    That was not a slam or personal attack..

    "There is no dishonor in not knowing everything.."
    -SubCommander T'al

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, just for the record..

    NO ONE here (sans one person) has ANY moral or ethical foundation to attack Trump for lying....

    NO... MORAL... FOUNDATION....

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.wnd.com/2016/09/is-tide-going-out-on-hillary/

    Explains perfectly why Hillary got the hard questions...

    And I am constrained to point out that it was more the audience who steered the hard questions to Hillary.

    It was like I said..

    The military is overwhelmingly PRO-Trump and ANTI-Hillary...

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    The other takeaway from Lauer's performance could wind up being extremely positive, both for Americans interested in politics and for NBC News

    I think I saw evidence of that last night on Chris Matthews' show. Chris had Trump supporter Rudy Guliani in the hotseat, and grilled him about Trump's Birtherism. Paraphrasing:

    CM: When is Trump going to apologize for asking Barack Obama for his birth certificate?

    RG: He already did. I think Obama was born in Hawaii.

    CM: No, Trump never apologized for that. I looked it up.

    RG: He must have at some point.

    CM: No, never. Are you authorized to apologize on his behalf?

    RG: Well you know, Hillary raised that first, in 2007 -

    CM: Nope. I had my staff look that up too, since I knew you'd bring it up. Neither Hillary or anyone speaking for her ever said anything like that.

    RG: ARRRG! Snarl! Damn you Matthews!

    Okay, I took some liberty with that last remark. But that's what he wanted to say: I read his body language.

    Both Matthews and O'Donnell presented defenses of Lauer in the course of their programs. And both showed signs that they had done a bit more research than usual to prepare for their interviews and panels.

    A 'Lauer effect' might not last long, but if it hangs around through November, then Matt might own the surprising distinction of 'most influential newsman' of this most unusual election year.

  23. [23] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Giuliani.

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    I think I saw evidence of that last night on Chris Matthews' show. Chris had Trump supporter Rudy Guliani in the hotseat, and grilled him about Trump's Birtherism.

    YOu mean "HILLARY'S Birtherism"...

    It was Hillary Clinton who brought the idea of Obama's birth into the public eye...

    You see, this is EXACTLY what I am talking about.. Ya'all's ideological slavery COMPLETELY blinds you to the facts and reality...

    Okay, I took some liberty with that last remark. But that's what he wanted to say: I read his body language.

    And processed it thru your ideologically enslaved filters and came up with a fantasy that is politically acceptable to you but far removed from reality..

    Like I said... Textbook case...

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    It was Hillary Clinton who brought the idea of Obama's birth into the public eye...

    I'll take Matthews' word that he couldn't find any evidence that Hillary or her spokespeople started that rumor. Have you got any evidence to the contrary?

    And processed it thru your ideologically enslaved filters and came up with a fantasy that is politically acceptable to you but far removed from reality..

    Yeah, that's probably the case with anyone who says they 'read' someone's body language...

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    CM: Nope. I had my staff look that up too, since I knew you'd bring it up. Neither Hillary or anyone speaking for her ever said anything like that.

    Apparently, Matthews is still recovering from his leg tingle..

    Birther row began with Hillary Clinton

    The lie that Barack Obama was not born in the US has been fuelled by fringe Republicans — but supporters of Hillary Clinton, now Mr Obama’s Secretary of State, are largely to blame for starting it.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/8478044/Birther-row-began-with-Hillary-Clinton.html

    Matthews has completely discredited himself as a serious journalist.. He's more of THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER now...

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    As noted elsewhere, you can pony up those Quatloos now...

    Heh.

    Consider them pony'ed :D

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'll take Matthews' word that he couldn't find any evidence that Hillary or her spokespeople started that rumor. Have you got any evidence to the contrary?

    Yes, posted..

    As I said, Matthews lost ALL credibility with his leg tingle...

    But, OF COURSE you would take his word for it... He is saying what you want to hear..

    You are on record as accepting the word of REPUBLICANS vis a vis Trump.... SOLELY because they say what you want to hear...

    Yeah, that's probably the case with anyone who says they 'read' someone's body language...

    At least you admit your bias.. That's an important first step. Kudos..

    I'll have you ripped into shape in no time.. :D

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, in the interests of fairness, allow me to back-pedal ever so slightly..

    While the evidence is NOT conclusive that the Hillary campaign started the Birther rumor, the evidence IS conclusive that the birther rumor was started by Hillary supporters.. Democrats...

    In other words, the Demcorat Party was the origins of the birther movement..

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, in the interests of fairness, allow me to back-pedal ever so slightly..

    That's the difference between me and ya'all..

    With exactly 2 exceptions (in over a decade) NO ONE here can admit when they are wrong...

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    But, in the interests of fairness, allow me to back-pedal ever so slightly.

    Let me know when you've pedaled all the way back, back to the statement that you originally disputed:

    "Matthews' word that he couldn't find any evidence that Hillary or her spokespeople started that rumor"

    In the absence of further evidence, Matthews' statement stands. The only tingle involved might be a bit of deja vu feeling.

    Because this alleged email that was allegedly sent anonymously by alleged Hillary supporters could just as easily have been sent around by righties who, realizing that Obama was about to clinch the nomination, reasoned that it would be easier to repeat this scurrilous lie about Obama if they could "source it" to members of his own party.

    Imagine that.

  32. [32] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Paula (8)-
    Fact checkers would not only be difficult to implement, people wouldn't even pay attention. Maybe they could use the cartoon balloons lime in those pop-up videos to provide fact checking.
    Of course, adding Johnson and Stein to the mix might add more questioning of the positions taken by the bullshitters.

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Because this alleged email that was allegedly sent anonymously by alleged Hillary supporters could just as easily have been sent around by righties who, realizing that Obama was about to clinch the nomination, reasoned that it would be easier to repeat this scurrilous lie about Obama if they could "source it" to members of his own party.

    Any evidence to support that??

    Of course not.. You are doing EXACTLY what you accuse me of.. :D

    The difference is, I admit it..

    You can't...

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    oops. that should be "like in those pop-up videos"

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    DON!!!!!!!

    Yer back!!!! I was afraid these bullies chase you away....

    "Carl!!!! Good ta see ya!!!"
    -Adam Sandler, BILLY MADISON

    :D

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hillary is really in a lose-lose situation..

    If she tries to run out the clock as she has been, she will cede the battlefield to Trump and Trump will win..

    But if she puts herself out there and tries to keep pace with Trump, she will exacerbate her medical issues and runs the very real risk of collapsing in the middle of a speech... Which will cement the idea in the American People's mind that Hillary isn't up to the presidency...

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Hasn't been much worth commenting on so I've just been lurking in the shadows.
    "Do you think that I'm crazy- out of my mind.
    Do you think that I creep in the night and sleep in a phone booth ?"
    Frank Zappa- We are the other people

  38. [38] 
    neilm wrote:

    If Lauer prompts journalists to act like journalists instead of gossip columnists he may have done the country a service. Somebody needs to grill both on real issues (the economy, defense, environment, etc.) instead of email servers, campaign managers comments on schoolkids, and all other distractions that will mean nothing in three months time.

    If an issue has a sell-by date of November 8th, then ignore it. Do you think anybody is going to be talking about email servers or anti-Semitic statements on November 9th?

  39. [39] 
    Paula wrote:

    [31] Don: <em.Fact checkers would not only be difficult to implement, people wouldn't even pay attention.

    People would pay attention if it was happening on the stage; if the candidates were confronted with their mistakes/misstatements/lies on the spot. Also, people pay attention to what they are trained to pay attention to -- that's why allowing lies to go unchallenged is so damaging. Debates and candidate events are symptoms of that larger problem, not the cause, but you have to start somewhere.

  40. [40] 
    Paula wrote:

    sigh. Fact checkers would not only be difficult to implement, people wouldn't even pay attention.

  41. [41] 
    Paula wrote:

    Hey Chris: WordPress has lots of nifties to make life easier for commenters, etc. For instance, here's a link to a plugin that gives commenters a few minutes grace-time to fix mistakes after posting a comment: http://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/allow-users-edit-comments-wordpress/

    FWIW.

  42. [42] 
    Paula wrote:
  43. [43] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [33]: Any evidence to support that?? Of course not.. You are doing EXACTLY what you accuse me of.

    Yep. How's it feel? So I guess we both agree that that line of argument goes nowhere. There is also zero evidence that Hillary or her people originated the birther nonsense.

    But if she puts herself out there and tries to keep pace with Trump, she will exacerbate her medical issues

    You mean that if Trump tries to keep up with Hillary's ramped-up schedule, he could exacerbate his medical issues..

  44. [44] 
    Kick wrote:

    [41] Paula,

    This is funny: http://25logicalreasonstovotefordonaldtrump.com

    Priceless. Thank you :)

  45. [45] 
    Paula wrote:

    [43] Kick: you're welcome!

  46. [46] 
    neilm wrote:

    From 'The Economist':

    TRUMP/PUTIN '16

    (Spotted at a Clinton rally in Tampa)

    BTW: Paula [41] - funny. Thanks.

  47. [47] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    Michale is right. (Boy that was hard to write) I was being overly broad when I said that "nobody" cares about Hillary's e-mails. There are two groups that do care very much. Those folks who believe that Hillary's shoes are a threat to national security, and they are not ever going to change their opinion, or to vote for her. Thank God this group is pretty small. And there is another group I call the Inside the Beltway Crowd, who follow the daily (hourly) twists and turns of the insider chatter about the campaign. The Hillary campaign is a lot like watching a glacier move down a mountain pass, slow, inexorable, all encompassing and boring. So every drop of melting water becomes noteworthy event. Also I doubt if very many understand exactly what she did wrong and so to constantly talk about it creates the impression that they are more enlightened than they really are. But everyone else, the vast majority of Americans, are, as Bernie said; "tired of hearing about Hillary's e-mails". She engaged in inappropriate use of e-mail. Few understand the mechanics of e-mail well enough to know if perhaps they too are guilty of "inappropriate use", I'm pretty sure I am. I predict that when the post mortem's are in, the impact of her e-mail be be about the same as Mr. Trump's hairstyle.

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale is right. (Boy that was hard to write)

    One can imagine. :D

    But everyone else, the vast majority of Americans, are, as Bernie said; "tired of hearing about Hillary's e-mails".

    If that were true, how do you explain the *FACT* that Hillary's trust and honesty numbers plummeted, coinciding with the revelations of her lies and her "extreme carelessness" with national security secrets??

    She engaged in inappropriate use of e-mail.

    Yea.. And Al Qaeda terrorists just made pilot errors.. :^/

    I predict that when the post mortem's are in, the impact of her e-mail be be about the same as Mr. Trump's hairstyle.

    You have already been proven wrong on that assertion, since it's well documented that Hillary's trust and honesty numbers plummeted with the release of the facts regarding her carelessness and her lack of transparency...

    Michale

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    You mean that if Trump tries to keep up with Hillary's ramped-up schedule, he could exacerbate his medical issues..

    What "medical issues" does Trump have??

    {{{chirrrpppp}}} {{{{chirrrrppp}}}}

    Yea... That's what I thought...

    [33]: Any evidence to support that?? Of course not.. You are doing EXACTLY what you accuse me of.

    Yep.

    Exactly.. Glad we agree, Bashi... :D

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    how do you explain the *FACT* that Hillary's trust and honesty numbers plummeted, coinciding with the revelations of her lies and her "extreme carelessness" with national security secrets?

    I thought the Washington Post did a fine job of explaining that just yesterday.

    That "extreme carelessness" quote, for example, that you use is hilarious to me because it's all that the Hillary chasers could get after spending years of staff time and millions of dollars. And that was an opinion thrown in by a Republican who, at the time, was presenting a report that cleared her of all charges.

    And add to that an extra layer of irony: we know that FBI files have been hacked, yet the FBI director, while presenting a document that said that no evidence of her server being hacked had been found, calls HER careless, maybe just so that his country club friends wouldn't stop talking to him, I don't know.

    In the end, even Comey is sick of the story. As he says in a recent memo to his staff, quoted in the Post article: "At the end of the day, the case itself was not a cliffhanger; despite all the chest beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn't a prosecutable case."

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    None of which explains why Hillary's trust, honesty and integrity numbers have plummeted...

    But, thanx for trying... :D

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    What "medical issues" does Trump have?

    Yeah, that's a valid question. Too bad we have no medical record to look at, save a 'letter' from a Gastroenterologist who attempts to prove therein that it's possible to shoot rainbows and unicorns out of one's ass.

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, thanx for trying... :D

    However, credit where credit is due...

    That was a pretty impressive straw-man....

    Actually, no it wasn't.. I was just trying to soothe your wounds from the vicious beating you just got.. :D

    Michale

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yeah, that's a valid question

    Not really, since Trump hasn't manifested any symptoms of health issues..

    You can't say the same about Hillary...

    But why let facts and reality interfere with a good ideological rant.. :D

    Michale

  55. [55] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    None of which explains why Hillary's trust, honesty and integrity numbers have plummeted.

    ..which you explicitly imply is the result of the email investigation. Re-read your post at [48], in which you absurdly compare the mini-scandal to 911.

    There's a 'sell-by' date on bullshit. It lasts only as long as the truth remains obscured by it. We all know that it's easier for ideological operatives to distract the press than for a Magician at a child's party to get the audience to look away from a trick.

    I don't agree with you about the reason for, or importance of, those numbers, by the way.

    For one thing, all of Trump's 'likeability' numbers are worse.

    If you break it down, Republicans have (inexplicably) fallen in line with Trump, and Democrats have done the same for Clinton. That leaves about 30% in the middle, about half of whom lean toward either party at any given time. A percentage of those won't vote for either candidate, and the remainder will decide while standing in the voting booth.

    Which means that the difference between them in the polls is actually a measure of all those swingy folks in the middle plus anyone new that each candidate can pull into the process, minus any of their own followers who lose faith and decide not to vote at all, or switch sides.

    Keeping these constituencies in mind, it's easy to see what the candidates are up to: Hillary is on offense, embarked on a campaign to alienate Trump from some of his base by highlighting his bromance with Putin. In the meantime, she's rhetorically handcuffing him to the worst of his base (the alt-right, white supremacists) to alienate him from the swingy middle.

    Trump has been playing mostly defense, defending his own statements. His supporters have been trying valiantly to get the press to focus on a smorgasbord of Clinton mini-scandals, but that's beginning to backfire, as the press knows a story 'with legs' from one that goes nowhere. Yesterday's Washington Post editorial put a stake in the heart of the email controversy.

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    None of your spewage explains why Hillary's honesty and ingetrity numbers have hit the toilet...

    Your problem is you have no credibility..

    Ya'all have been saying TRUMP IS TOAST for a year now...

    And yet, you have been wrong EVERY TIME..

    Why should anyone believe you now???

    Michale

  57. [57] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Ya'all have been saying TRUMP IS TOAST for a year now..Why should anyone believe you now?

    There is a toasting process that must be allowed to play out, otherwise all you get is warm white bread.

    But I can see Trump's color deepening by the day (wonder what his blood pressure is?) - I wonder if his color usually changes in the fall, like the leaves.

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    There is a toasting process that must be allowed to play out, otherwise all you get is warm white bread.

    That's not what you said..

    Ya'all didn't say, "Trump is in the process of becoming toast and will be toast eventually"...

    Ya'all said "TRUMP IS TOAST" and "TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN IS IMPLODING"..

    Now ya'all are trying to backtrack it, rather than coming right out and admit that you were wrong....

    Why am I the only one here (Nod to JL and STIG) who is willing to admit when they are wrong???

    Michale

  59. [59] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Not really, since Trump hasn't manifested any symptoms of health issues..

    I wouldn't say that. His deep red color indicates a serious blood pressure problem. His erratic behavior, including his self-described (lack of) sleep schedule and lack of impulse control suggest a chemical imbalance of some sort. I know nothing about medicine and I can see that much. The man is nearly seventy, overweight, and apparently extremely stressed. And why is he seeing a gastroenterologist in the first place?

  60. [60] 
    Michale wrote:

    I wouldn't say that. His deep red color indicates a serious blood pressure problem.

    JFC says he is orange.. YOu don't correct him...

    His erratic behavior, including his self-described (lack of) sleep schedule and lack of impulse control suggest a chemical imbalance of some sort.

    There is no evidence of erratic behavior..

    Perhaps to a Left Winger who needs "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings", the behavior would appear "erratic"...

    But to a normal patriotic American who actually LIKES this country??

    No erratic-ness at all....

    The man is nearly seventy, overweight, and apparently extremely stressed.

    He's running a presidential campaign.. Stress is normal...

    He is not coughing up a lung or needing help up and down stairs, or needing help standing at a podium or needing naps...

    Unlike your chosen candidate...

    But thank you for proving my point.. You make up shit about Trump and ignore Hillary's many ailments....

    Complete Political Bigotry.....

    Michale

  61. [61] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Ya'all said "TRUMP IS TOAST" and "TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN IS IMPLODING"..

    Now ya'all are trying to backtrack it, rather than coming right out and admit that you were wrong..

    Because I'm not. If you ask, what's cooking? I'll say, "toast", not 'toasting whitebread'.

    As for the Trump campaign imploding, let's see, he's on his third campaign manager and fifth press secretary, and having to wage a back-fill campaign in deep red states he should have been able to ignore by now. He still, by all reports, has no ground game save for the support provided by the RNC. He just hired on two of the most vociferous political hit men in the business, whose reputations alone are bad enough to cost him votes, and has now brought on Ailes, who won't win him any women's votes anytime soon.

    So yes, it's an implosion in slow-motion. Kinda fascinating to watch, actually.

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya'all didn't say, "Trump is in the process of becoming toast and will be toast eventually"...

    Ya'all said "TRUMP IS TOAST" and "TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN IS IMPLODING"..

    Now ya'all are trying to backtrack it, rather than coming right out and admit that you were wrong....

    Why am I the only one here (Nod to JL and STIG) who is willing to admit when they are wrong???

    Let me help ya out, Balthy...

    Here is what a normal patriotic American would say...

    Ya know, Michale. You're right.. Trump holding on like this is really astounding.. I wouldn't have thought such a crass jerk would have a message that would resonate so well...
    Maybe there IS something to his message that Americans are drawn to....

    But you can't admit that because you are enslaved by Party dogma..

    DEMOCRAT=Pure As The Driven Snow

    REPUBLICAN=Evil Incarnate

    Trying to convince you that Trump might be right is like trying to convince a religious fanatic that there is no god...

    It's impossible due to the fanaticism...

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    So yes, it's an implosion in slow-motion.

    You just CAN'T stop, can you?? :D

    This slow motion "implosion" you are talking about has seen Trump *CLOSING* the gap with Hillary...

    How exactly does that work..

    You claim his campaign is imploding, yet he is overtaking Hillary in many key states....

    You just CAN'T admit the facts, can you..

    Your slavery to Party dogma won't let you....

    Keep in mind ya'all went thru this *EXACT* process during the GOP primary...

    And you were *WRONG* at every turn....

    But *THIS* time yer right, right?? :^/

    I wish you could take a step back and see how pathetic ya'all sound.. :D

    Michale

  64. [64] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    There is no evidence of erratic behavior..

    hahahahaha!

    But to a normal patriotic American who actually LIKES this country?

    ..and describes it as a nightmarish hellhole overrun by gangs of illegal immigrants and lawless BLM supporters, thinks the system is rigged, and thinks it could be better run by a former KGB spymaster. Right.

    No erratic-ness at all.

    So the violent outbursts and contradictory statements and unprovoked attacks are just tactical confusion: fizzbin. We're about to discover that he's actually a quiet, thoughtful fellow who likes chess and historical novels, right? Not banging his friends' imported european teenagers (and maybe his own).

  65. [65] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    I wouldn't have thought such a crass jerk would have a message that would resonate so well.

    Well I was alive to see George Wallace get a sizeable percentage of the vote once, and recently watched the Tea Party win several elections, but nevertheless, I do generally agree with that statement.

  66. [66] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Trying to convince you that Trump might be right is like trying to convince a religious fanatic that there is no god.

    Or rather, a religious fanatic trying to convince me that there is one..

  67. [67] 
    Michale wrote:

    Or rather, a religious fanatic trying to convince me that there is one..

    Yes, exactly like either.. That explains perfectly your fanaticism...

    Michale

  68. [68] 
    Michale wrote:

    So the violent outbursts and contradictory statements and unprovoked attacks are just tactical confusion: fizzbin. We're about to discover that he's actually a quiet, thoughtful fellow who likes chess and historical novels, right? Not banging his friends' imported european teenagers (and maybe his own).

    I'll repeat, since it hasn't sunk in..

    You have been **WRONG** at every turn with regards to Trump..

    WRONG

    WRONG

    WRONG

    EPIC'LY WRONG

    WHY should anyone trust what you say now???

    Michale

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Republican Donald Trump appears to have carved out a wider path to the White House as a number of states including Florida and Ohio are no longer considered likely wins for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project released on Saturday.

    Yea.... Trump is "imploding"... :D

    You just CAN'T admit you frak'ed up.. Yer WRONG, Balthy.... That is all there is to it...

    Michale

  70. [70] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    You have been **WRONG** at every turn with regards to Trump..

    WRONG

    WRONG

    WRONG

    EPIC'LY WRONG

    WHY should anyone trust what you say now?

    I could just repeat WRONG back to you, but then neither of us would have any credibility.

  71. [71] 
    Michale wrote:

    I could just repeat WRONG back to you, but then neither of us would have any credibility.

    Except that you are the only one here who has been WRONG about Trump's campaign....

    I have been dead on ballz accurate EVERY TIME with regards to Trump's campaign...

    So, I guess it sucks to be you.. :D

    Michale

  72. [72] 
    Michale wrote:

    I spose I should thank you...

    You COULD have just admitted that you were wrong and I would have had NOTHING to post about..

    So, thanks.. :D

    Michale

  73. [73] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    You too. I've had a fun afternoon. Thanks.

  74. [74] 
    Michale wrote:

    :D Always a pleasure.. :D

    Michale

  75. [75] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CAH

  76. [76] 
    Michale wrote:

    CAH

    Gesundheit.... :D

    Michale

  77. [77] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That is an ACRONYM.

  78. [78] 
    Michale wrote:

    That is an ACRONYM.

    Cool As Hell

    :D

    Michale

  79. [79] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You have forgotten already?

  80. [80] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Aren't you going to ask me what the acronym stands for, Michale? :)

  81. [81] 
    Michale wrote:

    Aren't you going to ask me what the acronym stands for, Michale? :)

    I just did. "Cool As Hell"... :D

    You have forgotten already?

    Most likely. At my age the memory is the second thing to go.. :D

    Michale

  82. [82] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I thought you might have remembered the new motto for Weigantia ...

  83. [83] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Cuddles And Hugs! :)

  84. [84] 
    Michale wrote:

    Cuddles And Hugs! :)

    Ahhhhhh :D

    Michale

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