Because her lips were moving: Why Hillary lost the debate

There was a popular saying among intelligence officers during the Iran-contra affair: how do you know an Iranian is lying? Because his lips are moving.

It was applied to Manouchehr Ghorbanifar, the mercurial intermediary; and to his boss, the so-called “moderate” Parliament speaker, Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who told Ghorbanifar he wanted to make a deal with America all the while he helped organize hostage-takings and terrorist attacks against Americans.

Hillary Clinton’s debate performance reminded me of that saying, because every time she opened her mouth to lay out her opposition research on Donald Trump, she lied or misrepresented the truth to such an extent it became unrecognizable.

American voters aren’t quite as stupid as Hillary (or the “insiders” at Politico) think, and as a slew of after-event polls showed, they weren’t falling for her lies about Trump, her phony statistics, or her breath-taking claim that life in America’s inner-cities has improved over the past twenty years. Or that her plan to raise taxes on the middle class and businesses will help the middle class and create jobs.

They recognized her slick talking points for what they were: carefully crafted attacks, scripted by pollsters and political consultants, aimed at appealing to specific demographics she felt were “must win” for her flailing and divisive campaign.

Need to increase her share of the “women’s vote?” Why, call Donald Trump a sexist because of his comments about Rosie O’Donnell’s pig-like appearance and behavior. (As Trump acknowledged, most people who have watched Rosie O’Donnell agree with him.)

Need to increase her share of the “black vote?” Why, call out Donald Trump for inventing “the racist lie that our first black president was not an American.”

Trump garnered nation-wide attention for being the only Republican who persisted in demanding that Obama release his long-form birth certificate to put the “birther racist lie” (Hillary’s term) to rest. Unlike Hillary – who launched the “birther” movement during her 2008 primary campaign against Obama then conveniently forgot about it after Obama beat her – Trump succeeded.

Need to get the “union vote?” Why, claim without batting an eyelash that you believe in “smart, fair trade deals” when Hillary called the Trans Pacific Partnerships the “gold standard of trade deals” and has never called for modifying Nafta, which her husband signed into law, to correct its enormous flaws. (Even the normally left-wing Politifact concluded in its ‘Truth-o-meter:’ “Trump is right, Clinton flip-flopped on TPP.”)

Trump is a boxer, not a politician. And by jabbing at his opponents, countering their every blow, he put away sixteen skilled politicians in the GOP primary. And he put away Hillary last night.

Hillary clearly thought she could deflect his jabs and land a knock-out punch near the end, by countering Trump’s critique of the failed Iran deal she helped to craft as secretary of state.

In a set piece clearly written ahead of time by consultants, she pretended to address America’s friends and allies abroad as a statesman, speaking on behalf of her country. “I know this [ie, Trump’s] campaign has caused some questioning and some worries with many leaders around the globe. I know. I’ve talked with a number of them. But I want to, on behalf of myself and I think on the behalf of a majority of the American people, say that our word is good.”

Sounds great. I’m sure her consultants told her (and keep telling her now), it was a “presidential” moment.

But once again, Trump the boxer hit back. “All of the things she is talking about could have been taken care of in the last ten years when she had power. And if she comes to power, she won’t take care of them.”

And again: “Hillary, she’s got experience, but it’s bad experience … This country can’t afford to have another four years of this bad experience.”

So, programmatic politician, versus the boxer. The emperor in her birthday suit of lies, versus the boy in the street proclaiming her nakedness.

Anyone who was expecting Donald Trump to lay out programs and statistics and proposals on Monday night understands nothing about this candidate, or about the movement he incarnates.

That would have been to behave as a traditional politician — like Hillary. Instead, Trump remained Trump and spoke the truth. And because he remains a truth-teller, he will win big in November. The American people are fed up with the politicians’ lies.

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