Bruce’s List: A daily guide to informed reads.
Let’s make today a US Presidential Debate Special. One of the most irritating things about time is that all the cool stuff in the US happens when most people are asleep in SA. The next best thing to live television, then, is social media, and I’ve read The New York Times and The Washington Post coverage of the debate. Typically, there isn’t anything they miss or fail to comment on. I’m going to stick with The New York Times, knowing full well that it stridently supports the Democratic candidate in the race, Hillary Clinton, and has no regard for her Republican opponent, the property mogul, Donald Trump. Overall, most pundits seemed to agree that though Clinton started off nervously — who wouldn’t be nervous debating a man who could literally say anything — but ended strongly and basically “won” the debate. But she didn’t bury Trump either, so he’ll be back.
But he really is useless, this Trump. At one point Clinton was attacking Trump for not releasing his taxes and going through the possible reasons why. She remembered that when he did once release his tax returns (in order to get a casino licence) they showed he hadn’t paid any federal tax at all. “That makes me smart,” retorted Trump. Sigh.
Anyway, here are four bite-sized reads from The New York Times’ coverage just after the debate. For the first, the newspaper has asked a number of its regular columnists and contributors to provide short, sharp overviews of the debate. They’re all good and thoughtful and short and I loved this comment in the piece from Gail Collins: There had been some speculation that all Trump needed to do was speak in complete sentences to beat expectations, and if that was the bar, the man did great. When Clinton suggested he might be withholding his federal returns because he never paid any taxes, he responded: “That makes me smart.” Complete sentence. Here are the rest: What we saw during the debate.
And here’s a package of highlights from the debate. Not in any order of significance: Did you miss it? Here’s who won the debate.
You also have to love the way the big American papers still have the clout to fact-check debates as they happen: Our fact checks of the first debate.
And finally, I can’t leave out some of the really good commentary from The Washington Post. Here’s one of their editorial writers, Stephen Stromberg, reminding us that no matter how idiotic Trump may be on the stump, the fact is he entered the debate with Clinton almost tied in the polls: What does it mean that Donald Trump lost the debate? Jonathan Capehart’s comment has embedded in it a great stream of video outtakes of the debate. You really have to worry about the world if Trump wins this thing: Donald Trump bombs on the ultimate reality TV show. And Dana Milbank neatly sums up Trump’s problem with the debates. He isn’t running for the Republican nomination here. He isn’t addressing large crowds of people who think Barack Obama is a Muslim terrorist. He’s debating an experienced nerd who is tough and smart. Best piece of the day so far: What worked for Trump in the primaries failed him against Clinton.