A DIFFERENT DONALD TRUMP
EMERGED IN SUNDAY’S DEBATE
Back in 1958, McGraw-Hill introduced an ad that made the case for business-to-business advertising. Titled “The Man in the Chair,” it showed a cranky-looking guy with a skeptical expression — the kind of tough old bird you dreaded running into on your first job interview.
The ad pointed out that potential customers must have some awareness of your company before they consider buying your products or services. It became a classic, running virtually unchanged for more than a decade.
In the 1970s, when I worked for McG-H, a new version was introduced. It featured a hip-looking businessdude in flared pants, wide-lapel sports jacket and longish hair. The updated image was intended to appeal to the young, with-it business crowd then moving into management ranks.
A colleague glanced at the slick male model in the revised ad and commented…
“You could buy off that jerk with a broad or a bottle of booze.”
Throughout the current presidential campaign Donald Trump has looked like that hip ’70s jerk, showy but insubstantial (and eminently corruptible). In Sunday night’s debate, however, he looked like the tough old bird in the chair.
Of course, The Donald being The Donald, he didn’t maintain that image consistently. Indeed there were moments — interrupting Hillary and veering off into his usual Trumpian digressions — when he looked a little like Tim Kaine. But at other times it was clear he was making Hillary squirm.
There were even instances when Trump’s cold facial expression approached the menacing level of Dick Cheney, whose ominous countenance is legendary. You got the feeling that Trump could actually go eyeball-to-eyeball with Vladimir Putin’s frigid, sociopathic stare.
Hillary, wearing her pasted-on grin, looked nervous most of the time.
I suspect someone’s advising her that women politicians have to appear friendly.
That’s bad advice. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir, the two most significant female political leaders of our age, didn’t smile constantly. Their expressions were appropriate to the circumstances at hand. They had what’s called gravitas, and they were taken most seriously.
British politician Nigel Farage, who led the UK’s European Union “Brexit” movement and has been counseling Trump, observed that The Donald resembled…
“a big silverback gorilla prowling the stage. Hillary Clinton was very much on the back foot all evening. I don’t think it was in a particularly aggressive way. He took control. He dominated Hillary Clinton.”
USA TODAY columnist Kirsten Powers saw the prowling somewhat differently…
“Trump paced the stage like an angry lion as Hillary answered questions. One would think a man who has been lambasted for his predatory behavior all week might not lurk around behind his female opponent.”
Granted, there was a bit too much prowling. Trump should have planted his gorilla bottom in the chair a bit more. Nevertheless, the evening was definitely one of those comebacks for which The Donald is famous.
I think we won’t be hearing quite so much about his “locker room” talk now. Especially after the press conference with Bill’s babes and then sitting them right in the debate audience to shoot daggers at Hillary.
Releasing that 11-year-old tape was — I can’t help saying it — a “trumped-up” affair from the start. It was timed to rattle The Donald (at which it didn’t succeed), and to distract from the latest Wikileaks document release (which it did, at least partially).
But then, everybody already knows The Donald is a crude son-of-a-you-know-what. So what was new?
Sunday showed that this race is far from over. All those ass-covering Republican politicians who so flamboyantly abandoned the GOP standard bearer may be regretting their self-righteous theatrics.
In or out of the chair, Trump showed himself to be a tough old bird. Maybe he really does know the art of the deal.
Dick Cheney, eat your heart out.
Nigel Farage’s thoughts about the debate can be found in The Telegraph…
While Kirsten Powers vents in USA TODAY…
“He was bullying and incoherent, and yet the insta-analysis following the debate seemed to be settling on the notion that it was either a draw or a slight Trump advantage. This is the soft bigotry of low expectations. Let’s stop grading Trump on a curve. By any measure Hillary won tonight.”
Wlady Pleszczynski, editorial director for The American Spectator, reflects on some of the media reaction, and sums up Trump’s finish nicely…
“unlike his opponent he saved his best for last, when asked to say something nice about the rival candidate. It sounded totally honest when he said he can admire her doggedness and persistence. He’s capable of sounding and being human…”
FYI — here’s the original McGraw-Hill “Man in the Chair” ad…