The first major GOP debate to help determine the Republican nominee for president has come and gone. I didn't see the debate, and I probably wouldn't have wanted to watch it, anyway. I have, however, been desultorily reading both lefty and righty commentary on the debate, noting the de rigueur gap in perception. It's that very gap that I'd like to point out now. On the left, the New York Times, in an editorial by Frank Bruni, gushed that the Fox News moderators of the debate did a splendid job of grilling the candidates, keeping them off-balance by bringing up their flaws and inconsistencies. Later on, Bruni wrote:
And the questions that the moderators asked weren’t just discomfiting, humiliating ones. They were the right ones, starting with a brilliant opener: Was there any candidate who was unwilling to pledge support to the eventual Republican nominee and swear off a third-party run?
Trump alone wouldn’t make those promises, even though the moderator who asked that question, Bret Baier, pointed out that such a third-party run would likely hand the presidency to the Democratic nominee.
And thus, in the first minute of the debate, Trump was undressed and unmasked, and he stood there as the unprincipled, naked egomaniac that he is. He never quite recovered. His admission of political infidelity was the prism through which all of his subsequent bluster had to be viewed.
So Bruni's view is that Trump "never quite recovered" after failing to promise not to go rogue as a third-party candidate. But according to the righty hoi polloi, who won the debate? Drudge ran a poll, and here are the results as of this writing:
Assuming the poll's voters are mostly conservatives (and, who knows? the voters might all be Democrat pranksters!), the righty perception was that Trump trumped them all. A majority of poll voters—52 percent—saw Trump as the winner.
I'm at a loss to explain this. Intermittently humorous conservative commenter Andrew Klavan is no fan of Trump. "When I see Republicans following after Donald Trump, I despair. I mean, it really makes me upset, you know," he opined on a recent video. "This guy—he has been pro-abortion; now he says he's anti-abortion. He's pro-amnesty—he's always been pro-amnesty; he's pro-government health care—he believes there should be universal health care; he's a big Hillary Cl—he's given over a hundred thousand dollars to the Clinton Foundation; he supported Democrat candidates all over the place; and Republicans are going, 'Yeah! He said something nasty about Mexicans! I'm gonna vote for him!' That's depressing."
Klavan may be touching on a topic near and dear to the dark, cynical heart of people like Canadian conservative MJ Sheppard: the topic of the stupidity of the American voter. It's not just Sheppard, either: other bloggers in my circuit, like Malcolm Pollack, have been known to quote HL Mencken's line that "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." We elect the leaders we deserve, and we deserve the leaders that we elect.
Donald Trump is our dildo in the ass, and some of us seem determined to shove that sucker as far up as possible.