LIONEL PODCAST: The Birth & Death of Ragtime Donald Trump

“She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and, you know, you can see there’s blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her … wherever. But in my opinion, she was off-base.”

Debates, what are they good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again. The first point to be made is that they are not even debates. Debates are defined as formal discussions on a particular topic in a public meeting or arguments about a particular subject in a formal manner. What televised POTUS debates are are an amalgam of professional wrestling meeting a reality housewives show meeting a nescient mainstream media whose sole focus and thrust is ratings. The crowd waits for zingers and gotchas and the rebarbative riposte and touché! moment. That’s it. It has nothing to do with issues, clarity or substance. But I know you knew that.

Who won, who lost? The clear loser was Donald Trump. And the reason for that is that the hype that had been promised throughout the weeks preceding this event could never have materialized. You could also notice immediately the palpable dislike that network higher-ups had for Mr. Trump by virtue of the first question which exposed Trump as a political opportunist who would jump ship and go independent if need be. What Trump must do today and from now is is make himself the Washington outsider, the one the ruling class fears. The only one who can turn the economy around. But, remember, DT doesn’t want to win. he never did. That’s why he actually loved the first question as to going indy. He should have said how the GOP is not the party of Reagan and that if it means saving the country, he’ll embrace any vehicle necessary to bolster American power and burnish her image. This race isn’t about the GOP, it’s about our country, everyone’s country. Dems and Republicans alike. Blah, blah, blah, blah blah.

Hill killed. The clear winner was Hillary Clinton, who was mentioned more last night than Obama – at least that’s the impression. Hill’s fundraising folks love that. She was targeted to the world as the anointed leader of the Dems. Hear that, Biden? Did you catch that, Bernie and Lizzie Warren? Hill’s not out yet. But she will be. Trust me.

The double standard. If ever you had any doubt as to the double standard that we have for equality in this country especially anent women, let the Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly confrontation serve as Exhibit A.

If Trump made a statement that could in any way be interpreted as racist or dismissive of African-Americans or people of color he would have been pilloried and dismissed instanter. The media would have railed against him without surcease and every commentator and politician of note would come out of the woodwork to bury him once and for all.

But if the statement that he made was about women and clearly sexist and misogynistic, which his history of statements are and were, that gets a pass. That’s not as problematic. And it’s showing you again that women are at the bottom of the sensitivity ladder. You can say anything you want about a woman with impunity. You can make fun of her looks, her age or weight and get away with it. When a woman is forthright and ambitious and strong she’s a bitch. When a woman is perceived by a man to be acting temperamentally she’s accused of being in mid-menses. What does Trump’s daughter think of this?

But if you so much as even hint that a person is ineligible from serious consideration based on a factor other than gender, you will be destroyed. And do conservative and Republican women and his supporters ever question for a moment what Donald Trump would do as chief executive when it came to crafting social policy for reproductive rights, women’s work equity and issues that directly apply to being a woman in one of the most sexist countries on the planet. Remember, whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, her biggest obstacle will be that of being a woman. Other countries have expressed not a moment’s hesitation in electing a woman as their leader. Golda Meier, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Angela Merkel, even Benazir Bhutto in a country like Pakistan that has not been known for its gender equality, these women were elected without incessant references to looks, fat thighs or a penchant for pantsuits. Your country had to pass the 19th Amendment to allow women to vote. An afterthought to the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery. Think about that one.

No, make no mistake about it, had Megyn Kelly been an African-American man and Donald Trump either Tweeted or made an off-the-cuff statement as to anything that could be remotely construed as racist, he would have been indicted. But it’s open season on women. They simply don’t count. And if there is one reason to reject Donald Trump for even theoretical consideration as the leader of the free world and commander-in-chief it would be this incredible blind spot. A self-inflicted blind spot.

WTF, indeed. If you would’ve told me a year ago that something as trivial and ridiculous as this subject matter would captivate the media, especially when coming from a publicity magnet, who has no intention of either seriously running or winning the presidency, of course I would have believed you without question. We have gone the way of rodeo clown media. Diverting our attention from that which really matters and deflecting our focus. I don’t give a goddamn whether Trump meant Kelly’s nose, eyes or ears. It was a throwaway line that has absolutely no relevance or importance whatsoever. And when talking to my colleagues in international media I’m always asked why is it that Americans are so preoccupied with the unimportant, the trivial and the unnecessary. I respond as best I can by explaining that the really important issues that affect the economy in the world and the future of humankind involve a certain degree of reading and comprehension and interest. The subjects are easy. We have completely confused reality show TV with reality show media. That you are interchangeable. This issue has replaced Cecil the lion and the Confederate flag. If Donald Trump doesn’t receive TIME Magazine’s man of the year, then no one deserves it. He is an absolute genius in attracting and maintaining nonstop attention. And Megyn Kelly is the envy of the industry. You will also note that this presages more of these contrived encounters to come. Don’t think for a moment that this controversy just happened out of nowhere. It was carefully planned and carefully orchestrated. It is professional wrestling. It is a work.

What then? This is a Rorschach test at best. It’s a collective idea and feeling and sense that you have about a candidate. Substance is “Trumped” by form. How did they look? Is Double-C too fat? Does Rand need a new rug? What anxiolytics is Ben Carson stoned on? Would someone tell Jeb Bush what year it is? But the two performances that I thought were quite good, from a merely performance vantage, werer Kasich and Walker. Why? Style, Sparky. Merely style. The blood of Jesus bit is great for a revival but wake up, Elmer Gantry, Americans are not as religious and Christian as you think. And watch the Planned Parenthood yammering. America’s also pro-choice and this shutting down and defunding PP scares folks. But not as much as Margaret Sanger’s own words.

But you knew that. Enjoy.

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