Abby's Road: Clinton's advantage? Effort

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 1

The most frustrating aspect of the first presidential debate was the commentary that followed.

Hillary Clinton was criticized for being “over-prepared.” Donald Trump trumpeted that his microphone didn’t work. He reiterated his self-congratulatory theme that he didn’t mention Bill Clinton’s marital “indiscretions” because it wouldn’t have been “nice.”

It was so very middle school.

There was a smart girl in your class. She was nice, she was friendly, and she was somehow removed from the daily dramas of school bus seatmates and check-the-box notes slipped into lockers. She wore glasses because she needed them. She seemed constantly absorbed in thought, but she could snap to at any moment when called upon in class. Her answers were always correct, and impressive.

She took science labs seriously. She studied for the weekly social studies quiz. She even paid attention in music. She didn’t pretend not to care, because her caring was too genuine.

You found ways to get by. You talked on the phone, went to soccer games, hosted sleepovers. You scratched out passable homework responses during lunch. You bragged about cramming for a test five minutes before it was administered.

You laughed at the smart girl. You scoffed when she scored the highest marks, again. You told yourself she was weird for placing her priorities on studying. Sometimes, you even pretended out loud that she had some unfair advantage over you, even though you knew that her only advantage was effort.

Then you grew up.

You realized that begrudging the success of someone who works for it reflects poorly on you, not her. You realized how transparent your whining really sounds. You realized that making excuses is a sign of laziness.

You remembered the poster your mother had hung in the laundry room, the one that embarrassed you when your friends noticed it. The poster read “Triumph is ‘umph’ added to ‘try.’” Now you wonder if you can buy that poster for yourself.

You gained a sincere respect for the successful people you know, whatever the field. The Grammy winner who still takes vocal lessons. The entrepreneur who is the first to arrive at the office. The janitor who put three children through college by teaching himself how to invest wisely in the stock market. You agree: they got where they are because they deserve it. They deserve it because they worked for it.

Clinton was well-spoken, confident, and largely unflappable during the debate because she put in the work. Whether you agree with her message or not, you could at least identify her message. Whether you appreciated her body language or not, you could at least see that she was in control of it.

If she over-prepared, then she prepared the right amount. A game-winning quarterback studies all the defensive coverages. An appellate lawyer tries to predict all the questions a judge might pose. A vacationer to Maine packs for all weather types. A person who wants to be president of the United States thinks about what she’d say in response to a question when her answer will be delivered to approximately 100 million people.

Trump demeans himself, Clinton, and the very process of growing up when he resorts to a blame-the-equipment, I-pulled-punches defense for his meandering performance. It shows that he can’t take responsibility for his actions and will jump on the most convenient excuse at his disposition.

You know, like a teenager.

It attempts to deny Clinton the legitimacy of her performance. No microphone was going to improve the quality of Trump’s interruptions or fix the incomplete sentences he uttered quite audibly. There are few people in the world who don’t know that Bill Clinton cheated on his wife, that his wife stayed married to him anyway, and that she now wants to be president. She was likely as ready for that topic as she was for Trump’s inevitable reference to the 30,000 lost emails. Trump did her no favors.

Perhaps worst of all, Trump’s “dog-ate-my-homework” tactics implicate adulthood more generally. They show that not everyone grows up. They show that some grown men still confuse bullying with authority, braggadocio with substance, and not caring with superiority.

Abby Diaz grew up in Falmouth and lives there again, because that’s how life works. She blogs at Follow Abby on Twitter: @AbbyDiaz1.

  • Aliyah33

    Couldn’t it be possible Hillary Clinton’s advantage was cheating? If the moderator, Lester Holt, is to be unbiased then he should have challenged Hillary on her responses as he’d done with Trump; but as moderator is he even supposed to include himself in the debate? Moreover, Holt was wearing an earpiece: “The Federal Election Commission does not allow moderators to wear earpieces. Holt blatantly violated the rules.” Hillary is also observed wearing an earpiece, and scratching her face not once, but several times, and noticeably Holt responded. Not only are Hillary’s characteristics and history of behaviors indicative of psychopathy, her body language, clearly observable in several videos, shows nonverbal cues of lying. Therefore, cheating, would be entirely probable in Hillary’s case.

    • truther

      Let’s just assume, for sake of argument, that everything you wrote is true.

      So what?

      Hillary didn’t put words in his mouth. You read the debate transcript and some of Trump’s answers honestly sound like they’re coming from a drugged-up psychotic. Then there’s Trump’s bizarre post-debate behavior, including multiple days going after some long-forgotten beauty pageant winner whose only fault was to be an attractive woman who didn’t obey Trump’s orders. Then there’s the revelations about his tax returns, his foundation, his charity BS, his generally unhinged attitude . . . .

      Trump is demonstrably unfit to be president. There can be no reasonable difference of opinion on that matter. I would literally vote for the contents of the nearest port-a-potty before I voted for Trump because at least the port-a-potty wouldn’t actively try to destroy things since, you know, it’s not actually sentient.

      • Aliyah33

        Okay, let’s also assume that everything I’d written about Hillary (including Beem’s last opinion post) is true…including Hillary is a psychopath/sociopath, which means she’s truly dangerous, and unfit to be president.

        What I hear you saying is, you’d gladly be a minion and vote for a psychopath, with a history of being responsible for the deaths of several, who’d also said she’d not hesitate to nuke Iran, and claims her mentor is Kissinger – another psychopath who wants to depopulate the world by 25 million people and calls the elderly “useless eaters”.

        Additionally, it seems you may not have yet read Hillary used the same tax loophole laws as Trump – and didn’t pay taxes on $700,000 for 2015. Re the taxes, these loopholes are legal, therefore, it seems we should be focused on the fact we need to change tax laws. There are numerous people with expertise in tax laws, just because they’re hired to use these current laws to maximize the profits of shareholders (which CEOs and board members are legally obligated to do) doesn’t mean we should malign Trump and not Hillary. Moreover, there are 27 major corporations in the U.S.A. also not paying taxes, legally. I reiterate – we’re in an oligarchical system, and definitely not a democracy, as evidenced by the aforementioned.

        Re foundations, the Clinton Foundation has pulled in approximately $2 billion – do you know what percent goes to the charitable causes? Clinton pulled in money to the Foundation using her position as Secretary of State. Her collusion with Russia to enable Uranium One to mine on BLM land is stealing from all of us, the citizens of the U.S.A.; not only has she actively sought to take resources from other countries, she’s also taking from all of us here in the U.S.A.

        What we’re left with is deciding do we want the psychopath, or the narcissist? What I clearly hear you saying is that you’ll choose the psychopath.

    • Kevin McCarthy

      Your categorical assertion about moderators and earpieces is simply wrong. The Commission on Presidential Debates specifically does allow moderators to use an earpiece so that there is communication with the CPD’s longtime executive producer, Marty Slutsky, who has produced all of the debates since 2000. Slutsky keeps track of time and lets moderators know when they have to wrap up the debate.Hillary Clinton did not wear an earpiece (unless, of course you’re looking at photoshopped pictures on Breitbart). Since your “misunderstanding” formed the whole basis for your argument, virtually everything that follows is nonsense.

      • Aliyah33

        Your prerogative to virtually ignore the whole picture, per usual, and never address all points. But, go ahead, let’s see you try.

        • Kevin McCarthy

          And what, pray tell, is the “whole picture?” According to whom? My whole picture is I agree with Abby.Conspiracy theories or outright displays of willful ignorance are neither particularly compelling nor worthy of much thought. I’d rather deal with the world as it exists.

          • Aliyah33

            Sounds like you’d rather deal with the world the way you think it exists, and not step outside your comfort zone, and that’s willful ignorance. “OK” You’re OK, Kevin – obsequious Kevin.

          • Kevin McCarthy

            Well, here’s the thing: When you claim that Holt was not allowed to wear an earpiece (when he was), or that Hillary was (when she wasn’t), or that she “said she’d not hesitate to nuke Iran” (when she didn’t), or that she “didn’t pay taxes on $700,000 for 2015” (revealing your ignorance of tax law and the Clinton tax returns in general), and launch into an ill-informed and totally irrelevant attempt at explaining the fiduciary obligation of corporate executives, and then completely misrepresent what happened with the so-called Uranium One transaction so that it is somehow “stealing from all of us” (never mind that Uranium one was a publicly held Canadian company) … all of that, taken together, is such pile of misinformation, misunderstanding, conspiracy theories, and fabrications that it safe to say the world as you see it (at least as shown in these comments) is definitely not the one that exists. Capping it off with the obligatory limp attempt at personal insult only solidifies my conclusion that little of what you assert as fact or opinion is worth responding to at all.

          • Aliyah33

            Step away from the pom-poms for a moment. Please. Obviously, you’ve not done your homework; anyone doing so would find that fact.

            FEC doesn’t allow moderators to wear an earpiece. You say it’s necessary to keep time – what about use of the use of the bells, or buzzer? Hillary was, and regularly wears an earpiece, and that’s also easily researched. I will concede it could be necessary for Parkinson’s disease, (and possibly the reason she was videotaped yelling “…why aren’t I fifty points ahead!…” recently, but the long list of doctors’ concerns about Hillary’s health is mostly ignored by MSM.)

            It’s fact Hillary said she’d nuke Iran, look up the video. While you’re at it, Hillary also said, “Can’t we just Drone him?” when talking about Assange; another flag (of many) for psychopathy checklist.

            As far as CEOs and others running companies, I can’t imagine any one of them keeping a well-paying job without looking out for their shareholders. Does it really seem plausible for them to say, Heck, we can pay the very minimum of taxes according to our chief financial officer, but let’s ignore that and go ahead and pay more taxes? Do you have a business background?

            Re Uranium One, you definitely didn’t do your research; the publicly held Canadian company is a front for the Russian company owning it – a subsidiary. You do realize major corporations frequently have subsidiary (and front) companies? Did you know why Obama had to approve Uranium One’s obtaining “mineral rights”, and the BLM land is owned by the U.S. citizens, hence the uranium ore, gold, etc. on these land belong to all of us?

            Your response clearly shows a faked attempt at having done research, when in fact, you’ve done none. Take the time to use your favorite search engine to also ask the question: “Which is more dangerous, the psychopath or the narcissist?” I assure you, it’s the psychopath, but why not look it up yourself to find out why? Therefore, if I have to choose between the two in this crazy election – it’d be the narcissist. Don’t pretend, Kevin, that you never write an personal insults, because that’d be a flat-out lie, too. If it’s, indeed, your conclusion not worth the effort of responding to me, please don’t bother.

          • Kevin McCarthy

            Repeating the same falsehoods ad nauseam doesn’t transform them into actual fact. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which is an independent entity, sets the rules which allow for the use of an earpiece by the moderator so that the Commission’s executive producer can communicate with the moderator.

            Abby’s column was about Hillary’s performance in the debate. You challenged her opinion on the basis of two demonstrably false assertions: (1) “The Federal Election Commission does not allow moderators to wear earpieces” and (2) “Hillary is also observed wearing an earpiece… .” First, the Federal Election Commission has nothing to do with the debates; second, Hillary was not wearing an earpiece – period; and there is no credible proof otherwise.

            Then you randomly make assertions about body language. From all this you conclude that cheating “would be entirely probable in Hillary’s case.” Your conclusion completely lacks any factual basis. Simply put, that should have been the end of the comment thread.

            Not content to limit the scope of your comments to the actual topic, i.e., Hillary’s debate performance, you then engage in some further scattershot recitation of talking points which are easily disprovable as a factual matter. That you choose to hold those as some kind of opinion is up to you, but your “opinions” have either no or a shaky factual basis. For example, in an unsuccessful effort to equate Trump and Clinton, you assert Hillary “didn’t pay taxes on $700,000 for 2015.” Not only is this easily disproven by an examination of her tax returns, it also reveals your ignorance of tax law. Trump’s tax return revealed a Net Operating Loss carry-forward which can be applied to almost all income.
            Clinton’s was a capital loss carry-forward which is restricted to $3,000 per year to reduce gross income or to reduce future capital gains only. You then argue that Trump’s tax return is justified because “CEOs and board members are legally obligated to” minimize tax payments. Putting aside the question of whether or not that is true as a matter of corporate law, it simply doesn’t apply in this case: these were Trump’s personal tax returns, NOT his corporate returns. He has no fiduciary obligation to anyone on his personal tax returns. You also give Clinton 100% of the credit (or blame) for Uranium One and assert that she enabled “stealing from all of us” even though the mineral rights were not owned by “us” but were owned by a Canadian company. Never mind that Clinton herself couldn’t have approved the deal. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved the deal. That Committee consists of the Departments of Treasury (the chairman of the committee), Defense, State, Justice, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security as well as the the heads of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Finally the deal needed the approval of independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as Utah’s nuclear regulator.

            In light of all that, your random ravings about Kissinger or quotes taken out of context, or whatever, are pretty much worthless.

          • Aliyah33

            And I’ll leave you with a bit of advice: Do your homework.