Saturday, August 8, 2015

The First (Two) Debates

The Omnivore will let you in on a secret: when news breaks suddenly, unless The Omnivore has a specific insight, he will wait. This is so that, a few days later, either (a) someone will have said something smart that he can use (with quotes and links--The Omnivore did not say steal) or (b) we'll have seen some kind of impact.

And so ...

Who Won The Debates?

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For the Happy Hour Debate (sounds better than the Kid's Table Debate, right?) Fiorina won--by a mile. The Omnivore feels confident in this as the decision was unanimous across all the media The Omnivore had access to and none of her competitors stuck the landing (Perry even had a mini-Oops moment).

For the big one? We'll see. The polling both immediately after--and then, let's say a month beyond that--will probably tell us what's going on. That said:

The Omnivore thinks the general over-all is: Rubio did GREAT. Carson has people who love him. Trump: NO ONE KNOWS.

To Whit (Jazz Shaw on Hot Air):
Our collective problem here, I think, is that we’ve all been so used to playing from the same rulebook (and being able to exile those who break those rules) for so long that there was no antibody in our collective political bloodstream to fight off Trump once he arrived. It’s like setting up a chess board in the park, inviting The Donald to do battle, and moving your Pawn to King 4. Then Trump calmly walks over, picks up his bishop, sweeps past all the other pieces and knocks over your king. 
“Wait!” you cry out. “You can’t do that!” 
With that annoying smile on his face, Trump responds, “Clearly I just did” and walks away. And what makes the situation all the more insufferable is the crowd of tourists who had gathered around to watch and who are now pointing at you and laughing.

So Who Won? Trump.

Fortunately you have The Omnivore to tell you who "won." It's Trump (and Fox, with an all-time high 24MM viewers!--thanks, yes, to Trump). How come? Well, see, in case you didn't know how elections work, this is what science says: If a person leads in the polls who is not a legitimate candidate, the Body Politic has ways of shutting that whole thing down.


On the night of the debate, that didn't work.

Right out of the gate, Fox News tried to peer-pressure Trump into taking the no-third party run pledge. Any candidate who would not take the pledge was asked to raise their hand:
The Picture is YOOGE--Get It? 
Then, following that failure--never try to stare down Trump--the first question out of the gate for The Donald was a pointed Megan Kelly whacking Trump for his insults to women. Here is a (partial) list. Despite the controversy, it is, as Trump said, mostly about Rosie O'Donnell. Meghan did, though, look daggers at Trump (and into the TV set) and Trump . . .

Didn't back down and hit political correctness.

This is (a) a possible disaster for the GOP since the War-On-Women plays directly into their negative brand (i.e. it's the kind of thing that could stick) and (b) it plays into Trump's positive brand of not backing down, not being PC, and not being, well, a . . . 'cuckservative' (if you don't know, don't ask). In other words, Fox's Sink-The-Trump strategy backfired.

Then Trump did what he always does in these situations: he doubled down. Like this:
TRUMP: Well, I just don’t respect her as a journalist, I have no respect for her. I don’t think she’s very good, I think she’s highly overrated. But when I came out there, you know — what am I doing? I’m not getting paid for this. I go out there, and they start saying this stuff [garbled]. But you know, I didn’t know there’d be 24 million people. I knew it was going to be a big crowd because I get crowds, I get ratings. They call me the ratings machine. So I have, you know, she gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions, and you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her … wherever. But in my opinion, she was off base.
Out of her . . . wherever. Ooookay.

Carly Fiorina, showing the same instincts that landed her the top-spot in the Kiddie Table Debate then tweets:
Good, yes, except that The Omnivore will let you in on an uncomfortable truth:

  1. Racism will get you fired (Imus, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Deen, etc.)
  2. Sexism will get you (quietly) applauded.
If you are waiting for that over-the-line remark to sink him like a Mk 48 Torpedo against a Soviet Era destroyer, The Omnivore has news for you: it'll help with his base. Trump's base is the comments section of Brietbart. Go read the comments section of Brietbart.

The Omnivore will also note, as an addendum, that Trump's whining complaining about Fox's assault on him won't break him either. That's also music to The Base's ears. How come?

Trump, The GOP, and Aggrieved Entitlement

The term "Aggrieved Entitlement" was coined, as far as The Omnivore can tell by a guy named Michael Kimmel (no relation to Jimmy?) in a book called Angry White Men:
A longtime feminist, Kimmel maintains a delicate balance when handling his sources. He wants to be sympathetic to the people he interviews and yet loyal to his academic principles. After a series of humbling recessions and other economic shifts, men like Rick feel emasculated and humiliated, he writes, “betrayed by the country they love, discarded like trash on the side of the information superhighway.” Their sin, according to Kimmel, is a failure to adjust. These guys refuse to admit they’ve been handed privilege all these years by a world that puts white men on top. White men, he writes, “have been running with the wind at our backs all these years,” and “what we think of as ‘fairness’ to us has been built on the backs of others.”

Failing to concede this, men get stuck in a permanent dysfunction Kimmel calls “aggrieved entitlement,” in which they “refuse to even be dragged kicking and screaming into that inevitable future” of greater gender and racial equality. Instead they rage, not at the corporate overlords who have actually shipped their jobs overseas but at the amorphous feminists, or more likely “feminazis,” who have stolen American manhood.

The Omnivore is no great fan of the way this is described (it's Social Justice Warrior 101)--but thinks that "Aggrieved Entitlement" is, in fact, at least an interesting description of what we are seeing. If you don't like Kimmel and the linked New York Times above, how about the National Review Online:
You know the RINO — Republican In Name Only — but you may be less familiar with the WHINO. The WHINO is a captive of the populist Right’s master narrative, which is the tragic tale of the holy, holy base, the victory of which would be entirely assured if not for the machinations of the perfidious Establishment. Never mind the Democrats, economic realities, Putin, ISIS, the geographical facts of the U.S.-Mexico border — all would be well and all manner of things would be well if not for the behind-the-scenes plotting of Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and their enablers, who apparently can be bribed with small numbers of cocktail weenies. The WHINO is a Republican conspiracy theorist, in whose fervid imaginings all the players — victims, villains — are Republicans.
He doesn't point to feminazis but the effect is really very similar: victimization at the hands of The Establishment--and anger driving the voters into Trump's arms.

Whatever the case, though, The Omnivore is pretty sure that among a decently sized segment of the white-male-voting population, Trump's taking on a woman with coarse language and zero (negative) apologies--will be a plus. We'll see how that polls in like two weeks or so. The Omnivore expects a bump with Likely Voters (White Males)--maybe a plateau or decline with adults in general.

The Net-Net

Trump (kinda) aside for the moment, the net-net on the debate was (a) an advancement of the War-On-Women narrative with several candidates, led by Huckabee, vowing to make all abortion illegal and then Trump doing his thing. That could hurt them as well. This might position Fiorina for Veep though--as a counter-balance. She's way, way more credible than Palin was.

Secondly, despite some "polling" above, The Omnivore thinks Carson probably won't be around much more often. He was clearly more afraid of screwing up than being forceful. Yes, he was likable and thoughtful--but he didn't, to The Omnivore's mind, score points.

Worse for Rand Paul who got the worst of exchanges with Trump and Christie. He looked like kind of a twerp next to politicians who were (a) much more forceful and (b) generally much taller. Jeb is super-tall.

Walker may have missed an opportunity to excite--but he didn't look dumb. So he's probably steady state.

* Echelon has some great data charts from before the debate!

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