DOWNWARD SPIRAL: As seen on TV's Morning Joe!


Part 3—What didn't happen:
Hillary Clinton debuted her new book on the TV show, Morning Joe.

Somewhat ironically, the book will be called "What Happened." It purports to be Clinton's account of the 2016 White House campaign.

An enormous numbers of things did occur during that fateful campaign. That includes many types of events which liberals, progressives and Democrats have been unable to confront and counteract in the past twenty-five years.

That said, when Clinton debuted her book, she chose to feature something which didn't happen. On line, the Washington Post reported the book's debut:
WOOTSON AND WANG (8/23/17): Hillary Clinton said her “skin crawled” as Donald Trump loomed behind her at a presidential debate in St. Louis, and added that she wished she could have pressed pause and asked America, “Well, what would you do?”

The words, Clinton’s most detailed public comments about what happened during one of the campaign’s more memorable moments, are included in her new book, “What Happened,” which she called an attempt to “pull back the curtain” on her losing bid for the presidency.

Some of the moments during the campaign, she said, “baffled” her. Others seemingly repulsed her: In recounting the October incident, she referred to Trump as a “creep.”

The book comes out Sept. 12, but audio excerpts, read by Clinton, were played Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The book made its bow on Morning Joe! We'll offer this short critique: Sad.

To watch that segment, click here. Trigger warning: Willie Geist!

Liberals and Democrats badly need to understand what happened during last year's fateful campaign. It doesn't help if we're asked to fume about something which didn't happen.

As part of our nation's downward spiral, that's what we're being asked to do at this time. As quoted in the Post, here's the text of the excerpt which Clinton unveiled on TV's Morning Joe:
WOOTSON AND WANG: “This is not okay, I thought,” Clinton said, reading from her book. “It was the second presidential debate and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping women. Now we were on a small stage and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces.

“It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’”
This makes an excellent Lifetime movie. That said, it isn't what happened.

Try not to misunderstand! Candidate Trump behaved very badly, in various ways, during that second debate. As is his wont, he made many misstatements that night, some of which were baldly ludicrous. He interrupted Candidate Clint again and again, even after he'd been told, again and again, not to do so.

In his most unfortunate moment, Candidate Trump unveiled his picture of a future type of prosecutorial state. Stupidly and appallingly, wearing the Mussolini face he badly affected throughout the evening, he described what he was going to do after seizing power:
CANDIDATE TRUMP (10/9/16): I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it. But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.

When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails—and you get a subpoena, you get a subpoena, and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails, and then you acid wash them or bleach them, as you would say, very expensive process.

So we’re going to get a special prosecutor, and we’re going to look into it, because you know what? People have been—their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
"Everything he just said is absolutely false," Clinton quickly replied. But so what? He was going to lock her up, just as those thoughtful crowds had urged!

Candidate Trump did many horrible things that night. His ability to make endless ludicrous misstatements was part of a 25-year downward spiral within our culture which liberals, progressives and Democrats have made little attempt to confront.

(The Social Security trust fund is a pile of worthless IOUs! Al Gore said he invented the Internet! Barack Obam was born in Kenya! Nothing has worked in our public schools, as you can see from those test scores! All those claims, and many more, have made a joke of our national discourse during our long and destructive downward spiral. For the most part, the career liberal world has simply sat on its big fat ascot as this assault has transpired.)

Candidate Trump did many things during that second debate. Liberals badly need to come to terms with the spiraling culture which permitted his gruesome conduct.

Trump did many things that night. But here are a few thing he didn't do:
Things Candidate Trump didn't do:
He didn't follow Candidate Clinton no matter where she walked.

He didn't follow her closely, staring at her, making faces.

He didn't literally breathe down her neck. It would be a tremendous stretch to say that he breathed there at all.
Why in the world did Candidate Clinton make those claims? Of all the things she could have featured from the remarkable past campaign, why did she choose to feature those claims when she debuted her book on TV's Morning Joe?

We can't answer those questions. We can say that her decision is part of the downward spiral which has afflicted our failing culture in the past twenty-five years.

On what basis do we say that Candidate Trump didn't do those things? Simple! We've rewatched the tape of that second debate, which you can watch in full here.

This is the tale of that tape:

The debate was conducted in a "town hall" format. The candidates shared a "small stage," just as Clinton described.

The bulk of the audience sat unseen behind moderators Cooper and Raddatz. Down on the floor where the candidates paced, two small clumps of regular people were seated near the candidates' assigned stations. Those lumpens would ask some of the questions during the town hall debate.

Each candidate had a table and chair, constituting their appointed stations. Because they were sharing a rather small stage, those stations were fairly close together. The stations were also fairly close to the two clumps of regular people who asked some of the questions on this generally useless night.

What will you see if you watch that videotape? You won't see Candidate Trump following Clinton all over the stage. Instead, you will see this:

During Questions 5, 6 and 7, you'll see Candidate Clinton move in front of Candidate Trump's station, the better to speak to the regular people who had asked those questions. This happens from (roughly) minute 26 through (roughly) minute 42.

During those three Q-and-A sessions, Candidate Trump does seem to loom up behind Candidate Clinton, depending on the camera angle producers chose to adopt. But in each case, he is standing at his station, where he's "supposed to be."

The propinquity of the candidates during that period didn't occur because Candidate Trump was stalking Candidate Clinton no matter where she walked. It happened because Candidate Clinton, perfectly appropriately, moved onto Trump's side of the stage—more excitingly, invaded his space!—to answer three citizens' questions.

Candidate Trump hadn't moved behind her. Perfectly appropriately, she'd moved in front of him.

At this point, we need to mention the noxious effect on the culture of another TV show. We refer to Saturday Night Live, one of the dumbest, least amusing shows the industry ever created.

In its typical numbskulled way, SNL seized on the grumbling which had occurred concerning Trump's looming presence during those three questions. That weekend, they aired one of their typically silly representations of what had occurred, and the latest SNL-inspired fantasy had entered our spiraling discourse.

Candidate Trump behaved very badly in various ways that night. That said, he didn't follow Clinton all over the stage, literally breathing down her neck, as you can see if you're willing to spend ninety minutes reviewing your nation's embarrassing recent history.

He wasn't breathing down her neck, neither literally nor figuratively. In the three-question sequence which gave rise to this myth, he was standing at his assigned station.

Citizens, let's review:

Barack Obama wasn't born in Kenya. Al Gore didn't say that he invented the Internet, inspired Love Story, or discovered Love Canal.

The Social Security trust fund wasn't a pile of worthless IOUs. Test scores show large gains in basic skills over the past twenty to forty years.

None of those widely-believed gong shows were actually true. But over the course of the past three decades, our discourse has been subsumed by endless bogus, ridiculous claims—some of them pimped by the RNC, many of them pimped by the major organs of our upper-class, mainstream corporate press corps.

Because our favorite liberal stars want to acquire fame and riches from those noxious corporate employers, the liberal world has made little attempt to address this downward spiral. Whether you want to believe it or not, our multimillionaire liberal stars maintain the code of silence!

Repeatedly, powerful interests have drowned the culture in bogus claims. Our tribe has been too dumb to fight them. With this strange presentation by Clinton, we've apparently decided to join them.

We're asked to thrill to a Lifetime movie in which a helpless woman is menaced by a creep. In case you haven't noticed this yet, a modern nation simply can't run on this type of fuel.

One last word of warning:

Hillary Clinton has told our tribe what we're supposed to believe. If you actually watch that videotape, your lizard brain will try to say that you're seeing what she described.

Your lizard brain will be lying again. In case you haven't noticed it yet, a modern nation can't run on the bullroar of corporate hustlers, or on the bullroar which comes from each tribe's lizard brains.

Coming: A truly ridiculous victim


  1. Can we please, please, PLEASE talk about Fox????

    1. There are upteen places that talk about Fox nonstop. Will you ever, ever realize this isn't one of them and give that tired plea a rest? Why not start your own blog on the topic: "Hey! Here's What's Bothering 'Greg' About Fox Today!" or whatever you'd prefer to call it.

    2. Unknown - you look in' to get whipped or what? OReilly had a show. It was worse than Maddow. Therefore Maddow shouldn't be criticized. If you ever comment here again I will take you out. Just try me buddy.

  2. Yawn. Leave the useless old witch alone already.

    How about something more serious, like nytimes giving massive free advertisement to war-mongering mercenaries (Erik Prince)?

    1. I get it Mao - commenters criticizing St. Donald are haters but you can call Clinton a "useless old witch." Your way will surely lead us into the light.

    2. I certainly hope so. As for The Donald, to get a bit more enlightened, why don't y'all (but mainly Bob) do what I suggested in respect to the old witch: leave the old clown alone, and concentrate on real problems: economy, war and peace.

      But hey, I'm pretty sure neither you, nor Bob, nor the rest of your 'tribe' are interested. And that's why, as Julian Assange noted, your 'tribe' is doomed.

    3. Do you get off on calling mature women names like "useless old witch" and "old clown" (note the repetition of the word old). Are you 12 years old? You sound like you have mommy issues.

  3. Somerby ignores the time when Trump starts pacing and does not stand behind his chair. He also ignores the facial expressions and other body language of Trump, which includes folded arms, glaring, and dismissive expressions, looking upward, and so on. Trump does a lot more than simply stand there. Clinton, in contrast, looks attentively at Trump with very little change in her pleasant expression no matter what he says, and as noted, he says plenty of outrageous things. Trump does not behave that way at all.

    Somerby does not understand that Clinton never turns around to look at Trump and thus does not ever see where he is standing or what he is doing. She IS facing the crowd and receives their reactions to him. She can thus feel what he is doing. To her, it feels like he is following her around, because he is behind her. And it feels like he is reacting because he IS reacting to her, mugging, moving around, behaving inappropriately.

    Somerby needs to acknowledge that there is some truth in her complaint. Her experience during the debate is no doubt affecting by watching reruns of the debate afterward. Somerby's choice of tape may not include the camera angles that Clinton and the rest of us saw, which showed Trump following her around and doing what she claimed.

    We watched this debate ourselves. As several of us have noted in comments, we saw what Clinton describes. We did not see what Somerby claims happened.

    Somerby dismisses Clinton's entire book on the basis of this single incident, which he obsessively writes about, over and over, to discredit both Clinton and her campaign effort. Yesterday he called her book a novel, as if it were entirely fiction. That is so grossly unfair that his bias becomes obvious.

    I look forward to hearing her version of the rest of what happened during the campaign. Yes, it is her version. No, it is not fiction. I have read several of his other books and have always found them both interesting and inspiring. There is no reason why this one should be any different.

    Somerby, on the other hand, has an axe and he is grinding it. I am sick of this and hope he finds something else to nitpick soon.

  4. Somerby sez: "Liberals badly need to come to terms with the spiraling culture which permitted his gruesome conduct."

    Somerby says this after refusing to condemn Trump's lying while criticizing Clinton for complaining about Trump's nonverbal behavior during the debate. Kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't, if you ask me. Liberals are supposed to hold Trump accountable but only in the manner he approves, which appears to be a bit narrow, and liberals are responsible for the entire rest of the culture that thinks Trump is nifty.

    Phooey on Somerby.

  5. Dear Bob,

    It happened. It really did. Many people noticed and commented about it in real time.

    For example, The Today Show, Oct. 10, 2016:

    1. What was with all the pacing, gripping and lurking?

    At this debate, the candidates didn’t stand behind lecterns. Instead, because of the town hall format of the evening, each nominee was free to sit in their high-top chairs, or stroll about the stage.

    Trump did a lot of the latter.

    Twitter immediately noticed the way he wandered about, sometimes pacing back and forth, and sometimes walking right up to Clinton, almost appearing to be lurking behind her.


    Take a look at the video please.

    Some on social media compared Trump's pacing and lurking to the infamous sighs that came repeatedly from former Vice President Al Gore to many of the answers provided by then-Gov. George W. Bush during their first presidential debate in 2000.

    These were real time comments, Bob. I really don't get it.

    1. If you "really don't get it," then please just reread today's post, where he explains that the basis of his claims is a careful rewatching of the debate itself. Bob isn't claiming that things didn't sometimes SEEM to be as Hillary's book now claims, just that in point of fact, with all the relevant details factored in, that's not how they really were.

    2. In other words, listen to what Bob says, and don't believe my own lying eyes. Thanks for the advise.

    3. @1:07 -- Somerby watched one version of the debate. Even in this version, Trump is misbehaving. Clinton described what it felt like during the debate. She didn't see what Trump did because, if you'll watch the tape, she never turned around and looked at him behind her. But she did feel the audience reaction and she said it felt like he was hovering and breathing down her neck. As you can see for yourself, he is moving around and not standing where he should have been.

    4. mm, I respect your views. In fact, I think you’re one of the gems on this comment board, because you’ve been following Bob for a long time and have great stuff to say.

      But when Trump seems to be stalking Clinton in the video, as far as I can tell, it occurred in front of Trumps chair, which is what Bob points out. Hillary placed herself in that position. As far as Trump “literally” (Clinton’s words) breathing down her neck, well, I didn’t see that.

      That being said, hesoos effing cristo, why is Bob focusing on this? Given his formidable history of parsing msm malfeasance, why this little quote from her book? Goddamn, the blog is more thought-provoking when he goes off on tangents, like the definition of “space.”

      I just don’t get it. What am I missing?


    5. Somerby wronged Clinton during the election so he is now emotionally invested in justifying himself by diminishing her.

  6. I just re-watched that debate. Trump did walk behind Hillary several times, but he appeared simply to be walking back to his chair and he was making faces throughout. Hillary's "take" is, however, a gross exaggeration of what actually happened. I would never vote for Trump or any Republican even for dog catcher. Nonetheless, Hillary should not have included this exaggerated view in her book. The facts on Trump are damning enough. She's a big girl and it seems like she's seeking special consideration because of her gender with her comments.

  7. Maybe Hillary watched the SNL parody and it changed her memory.

  8. "Liberals badly need to come to terms with the spiraling culture which permitted his gruesome conduct."

    Agreed. But so do conservatives.

    But which group is more likely to reflect on this?

  9. Total bullshit. He shouldn't have been walking around while she was speaking in the first place -- obviously intended to draw attention away from her and possibly do some intimidating as well. When she came over to "his" side to speak directly to people, he had a civility obligation to back up a bit, even somewhat behind his table to cede that space to her temporarily. Instead he stayed about 3 1/2 feet behind her. She had a perfectly legitimate right to feel as he did. I saw it in real time, too; although TV exaggerated the closeness, this tape showed that he was constantly pushing losely to invading her space.

    1. You know what? Boo fucking hoo. Seriously. Civility? C'mon man. Debates (if that's what you would call that fiasco) are supposed to be bare-knuckles.

      Seriously, I just realized why Bob is making a big deal of this (though I think it's a waste of time in the context of his blog). A major, MAJOR pol cried about taking heat in a debate. Unheard of!

      Bob, let's move on please.


    2. Yes, Bob is making too much of this. But you are mischaracterizing it as well. Hillary isn't "crying" about it. She was "creeped out." That's different.
      And I wasn't a debate, it WAS a was made into a fiasco by Trump, thank-you-very-much. Have you ever seen a more incoherent. nasty performance than Trump's from any previous presidential candidate? Nope.

    3. She was "crying" about it in her book. That's the only way I can characterize the excerpts given by Bob. And she won the debate according to polls!

      In fairness, I haven't read her book. But anyone with a discerning mind knows that Trump is a creep. Perhaps she outlined more substantive issues about that debate, I don't know. But she gets no points in any debate for being creeped out.

      Trump rattled her? She who said "We came, we saw, he died?"

      Talk about creepy.


    4. See, Leroy's reaction is why Hillary can't ever let her hair down and be more human. This is the Clinton double standard in action.

    5. @ 12:31

      Let her hair down? Be more human?

      Her reaction to Gaddafi's murder:



    6. See, this is why it is so hard for women to suceed in politics.

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