The first debate is in the books and our long national nightmare is finally over.
Unfortunately that’s not the case, as we have around 45 more days of these shenanigans, plus another four years of the lowest common denominator in the White House.
But I digress.
After the first debate, I can definitively make the statement about the candidates so prominently echoed by the late Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green after a 2006 game: “They are who we thought they were.”
Did anyone think Donald Trump was going to be civil? DId anyone think Hillary Clinton was going to veer from all of her prepared remarks into super attack dog mode and shock all of us? The answer to both of those questions unfortunately was no.
It was the usual fare from Trump- saying big adverbs that really didn’t have any meaning, using China and Mexico interchangeably when talking about foreign affairs and not really articulating anything of relevance, including the artful dodge on why he has yet to release his taxes. Thought I do have to applaud him for being the first presidential candidate ever to name drop Howard Stern in a debate. Man, pop culture has come far in politics.
I didn’t really expect anything more or less from Hillary either. I feel like she mentioned every single policy in her opening monologue, and spent much of the night on the defensive, where she was constantly interrupted by Trump. She clearly has a much better understanding of the issues, but I can see why some voters tire of her (“Look at what my husband did in the ‘90s, I did this back in the ‘90s!). She also appeared to be a little full and proud of herself- there’s a reason she doesn’t relate well to some voting blocks.
To be honest, this first debate really showed how low the bar has been set when it comes to politics. Nothing substantial was really discussed (much of that was due to Mr. Trump), there were constant interruptions (mostly by Mr. Trump) and Lester Holt was nowhere to be found half the time.
Two issues I was surprised that weren’t brought up were Clinton’s Benghazi episodes and “The Wall.” I get that you have to stick to the themes- but how could you not bring up two of the most talked about issues on the 2016 campaign trail? I guess it’s all semantics.
Here are my top 5 moments, ridiculous or not, of the debate:
1) Hillary Clinton, in response to Donald Trump saying she lacks stamina: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease fire… Or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”
2) Trump mentioning Rosie O’Donnell for no reason whatsoever. Seriously?
3) “I have much better judgment than she does… I also have a much better temperament than she does… I think my strongest asset maybe by far is my temperament. I have a winning temperament.”- Trump, with the most ironic quote of the campaign.
4) After Trump said he’d been everywhere and joked about Clinton staying home she said, “”You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president and I think that’s a good thing.”
5) Trump saying Clinton’s been fighting ISIS for 30 years. Seriously?
I got the chance to see both the Libertarian candidate for President, Gary Johnson, and the Independent (though conservative in policy) candidate Evan McMullin this past weekend at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. Both were articulate and relatively sincere on their policy ideas and accomplishments. While Hillary was the queen of comebacks tonight, it’s pretty easy to do against a lying demagogue. If I wanted to be educated and have any hope for America, I urge you to consider what happened in this debate, and pray that we have an undercard debate before the second presidential debate happens.
As an aside, who else is looking forward to more Tim Kaine dad jokes at the VP debate next week?
This story "5 Best Moments of the First Presidential Debate" was written by Adam Rosenfield.