That Is, the Very Opposite of a “Change Agenda.” Clinton Should Quote Her On That.
“His last tweet last night was how excited he was, how proud of him he was. They talked last night. I talked to Mr. Trump during the debate several times,” [Kellyanne] Conway said of Trump’s response to Pence’s debate performance. “I think the one thing to remember is that, as Ronald Reagan always said, personnel is policy. And Donald Trump has promised as president to surround himself with the best people. You saw last night who the best people are.”
— Clinton’s camp insists Kaine walloped Pence on substance, Louis Nelson, Politico, today
So, isn’t it time that Clinton apprise the public of what this particular personnel choice indicates about what would be Trump’s … policy?
When I read yesterday morning (I can’t remember where) that the Clinton campaign had told the reporter that Kaine would be focusing on the Clinton campaign’s slogan “Stronger Together,” I said to myself: Here we go again. God.
I, of course, had hoped, and until I read that article actually thought, that Kaine would, like, focus on the differences between the two campaign’s, y’know, fiscal and regulatory policy proposals. But, silly me, it was after all the Clinton campaign whose debate plans we were talking about. So of course the plan was to focus on the “Stronger Together” theme of Trump’s xenophobic, racist, misogynist, anti-“fat”, nuttiness. Since these are things that have received so little attention that the public surely had forgotten them and needed reminding.
Eh. I feel like a broken record on this. The Clinton campaign is really, really, really clueless.
And I’m by no means the only one who desperately wants Clinton to just dump her campaign consultants and strategists. Or, if the problem is Clinton herself, then … I don’t know …allow herself to be hypnotized and indoctrinated by Jeff Weaver.
Last night while feeling not The Bern but just plain burned—really saddened—and skimming the internet for something that would make me feel a little bit better, I came upon something that did. Sort of. Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley’s instant-debate-analysis post was titled “We Are Begging the Hillary Clinton Campaign: Stop It With These Terrible, Terrible One-Liners.” He wrote:*
Early in the Sept. 26 presidential debate, Hillary Clinton rolled out what seemed to be a rehearsed line about Donald Trump’s economic plan, calling it “Trumped-up trickle down economics.” She delivered the phrase with the pleased demeanor of someone who believes they are laying down a devastating burn, then repeated it later. Fact-check: It wasn’t a devastating burn. It was a zero out of 10 on the burn scale.
Tuesday night at the vice presidential debate, Tim Kaine also tried some zingers, and they were also bad. You can see them above. The first:
“Mike Pence: But there’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton and that’s because they’re paying attention. The reality is when she was secretary of state, senator, she had the Clinton Foundation accepting contributions from foreign governments—
“Tim Kaine: You are Donald Trump’s apprentice!”
Woooooooooooof. The second:
“Kaine: On the economy, there’s a fundamental choice for the American electorate. Do you want a you’re hired president in Hillary Clinton or a you’re fired president in Donald Trump? I don’t think that’s such a hard choice.”
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine need to Pokémon Go Fire Whoever Thinks It’s a Good Idea to Use Time Preparing for Debates by Coming Up With These Lines, Which Are Terrible.
Why didn’t he just respond to the substantive allegation regarding the Foundation—as he did, quite well, I thought, later in the debate, but with insufficient precision given the time limitation?
And why the HELL didn’t he tell the public what Trump’s actual fiscal/economic plan is, to the extent that time allowed? Sorta like, why the HELL didn’t he make clear that Trump’s WILDLY LARGE INCREASE IN MILITARY EXPENDITURES, COUPLED WITH YUUUGE DECREASES IN TAX REVENUE, is not exactly a formula for jobs growth. And why did he not tell the public at the outset, and with specifics, that TRUMP’S TAX PLAN WILL INCREASE TAXES ON THE MIDDLE CLASS TO PAY FOR THAT MILITARY BUILDUP, while dramatically cutting the income taxes and other taxes of the wealthy?
And why didn’t he tell the public that killing financial-industry reform—the increased oversight and regulation—wouldn’t be, y’know, an economic boon?
His entire debate preparation apparently involved the xenophobia, racism, misogyny, fat-ism, and sheer meanness of Trump.
But Pence had memorized a few imbecilic lines, too—most, um, memorably, that the Clinton campaign is a campaign based on insults. Of Trump, and of some of his supporters. A tack that, I’ll guess, most viewers at first were puzzled by and then after Pence repeated for the 16th time, finally got, and found strikingly laughable. This, I assume—and hope—will become a focus of a Clinton ad. Along with that “You keep dragging out that Mexican’s” line—or whatever the precise words were.
But, what a missed opportunity last night was to educate the public about Trump’s actual fiscal and regulatory proposals, which Clinton—and Sanders, and Warren, please—need to say, again and again, Pence hardily approves of because it’s the Republican mantra, and has been for 35 years.
Which Kaine failed to say, even in response to Pence’s “Trump’s the change candidate.” Really? That’s change? In the direction the public has in mind when it urges change?
Yes, Kellyanne Conway thinks the one thing to remember is that, as Ronald Reagan always said, personnel is policy. And that Donald Trump has promised as president to surround himself with the best people. You that you saw last night who the best people are. An extremely rightwing, standard-issue Conservative Movement, very Republican Establishment, 12-year former member of that absolutely awesome Congress.
The public might like to know this, Hillary Clinton. Tell them.
*Excerpt format-corrected, 10/5 at 3:28 p.m.