The first presidential debate may be three days old, but discussion surrounding it has not stopped.
What’s most interesting is that the chatter most prevalent in the media and among the two campaigns has nothing to do with any policy positions that came up on Monday night — but rather, a former beauty pageant contestant.
It was the final minutes of the debate, and viewers had already somehow survived 90 minutes of incessant bickering, mostly from the left side of their screen.
But that’s when Hillary Clinton laid a perfectly executed trap. And Donald Trump took the bait.
She mentioned a former Miss Universe winner, Alicia Machado, who Trump once insulted for gaining weight. It was ingenious because it was a blemish against Trump that, somehow, we have never heard of before.
Of all the terrible, horrible things we’ve heard about Donald Trump over the past year and a half, his treatment of this woman was not one of them.
Instead of letting it go, Trump did what he does best — went on the defensive, and rather than calming the waters, he only proceeded to make the situation worse. And now, with the entire nation refocused on this election, we’re getting a full dose of Trump’s sexist, misogynistic tendencies. (Trump, for his part, appears to be retaliating by trying to turn the narrative to Bill Clinton’s past infidelities.)
Hillary is a lot of things to a lot of people. She’s definitely intelligent. But she’s also cunning. And honestly, I don’t think that’s the worst trait to have in a president.
For many, the debate probably validated their belief that they don’t want either candidate to be our president. And those people over the last couple of days may have taken a second look at the predominant third party candidate, Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico turned Independent, who’s polling at around 7 percent.
They should stop. Immediately.
And I know I endorsed the inclusion of Gary Johnson in this race, but, we shouldn’t give him credence simply because he exists as a third option. If he was a good third option, then fine. But recent history disagrees with that notion.
It’s been a rapid descent for Mr. Johnson in recent weeks, beginning with his failure to know anything about Aleppo, the city in northern Syria that’s facing the worst bombing the country has seen in its entire years-long Civil War.
And that coincides with his quirky-bordering-on-crazy behavior during interviews, like in this one last week with Bloomberg politics.
But the final nail in the coffin may have come on Wednesday, when, during a Town Hall-style interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, he was unable to come up with an answer when asked to name one single world leader that he respects. It was, in his own words, “an Aleppo moment.”
Maybe the problem is that we should stop expecting our presidential candidates to be perfect. I mean, if you think about it, how many world leaders around the world are there right now who are universally liked?
When you’re in the public eye, people are going to look for reasons not to like you. Most of the time, they find them.
Trust me, I wish we had a leader who kept his cool every day on the job. Who was respected in the international community. Who was well-spoken. And who kept his campaign promises and who could represent our country with the proper amount of dignity.
If only that existed.
Oh wait. It does.
His name is Barack Obama.