Before the Great Debate (Part I), the Trump campaign and the Clinton campaign made two agreements. One was announced to the TV audience; one was not. The public deal was that the audience at Hofstra University should refrain from cheering (or booing) during the debate. Which, it turned out, is like asking a dog to refrain from licking its balls. The second agreement was that The Donald should call Shrillery "Secretary Clinton" and she should call him "Mr Trump". Instead, Mrs Bill Clinton belittled Mr Trump by calling him "Donald" throughout. So much for courtesy and respect.
I watched the whole thing, waiting for the Big Moment when Mr Trump would explode or Mrs Clinton would implode. Neither event eventuated. There was plenty of give and take, lots of interruptions, and more than a modicum of prevarication, obfuscation and assorted bullshit. A few scratches from my notepad....
The Donald had the better of the first section on the economy. He said it takes a businessman -- not a career politician -- to know what businesses need in order to create jobs and get the economy moving again. Having no plan except more regulation, more taxation and more of the same, Hellery tried to attack Mr Trump's business record but said nothing that hasn't been said before.
Mr Trump boasted (imagine that!) of being a successful businessman, and said that his public filings in connection with his candidacy showed that his income last year was $649 million. Mrs Clinton said the real question was how much tax did he pay, and why he won't reveal his tax records. The Donald replied that, against the advice of his lawyers, he would publish his tax returns just as soon as La Clinton published the 33,000 e-mail deleted on purpose from her private server. That was when the audience, unable to restrain themselves any longer, burst into applause. Best hit of the evening for Mr Trump.
Mrs Clinton had the edge on the last section, on the topic of making America secure, which somehow morphed into a discussion about foreign policy and the Obama War. With the assistance of the otherwise weak and ineffectual moderator, Lester Holt, Hellery tried again to pin the "I supported invading Iraq" button on Mr Trump. He retorted that he said "Maybe" to that idea only once, the first time he was asked about it, but consistently opposed the Iraq war after that. "You can ask Sean Hannity!", he said, challenging the lamestream media to do that.
What was overlooked, in that exchange, was that whether Mr Trump was for or against the Iraq war, the withdrawal from Iraq, the half-hearted war on ISIS, etc etc, is beside the point. Mr Trump was not in government or even in Congress. Mrs Clinton was. Along with President 0, she bears direct responsibility for the Middle East mess in which the USA now finds itself embroiled.
Cyber security was mentioned. The Donald missed a glorious opportunity to ask Secretary Clinton what she did to protect her illegal private e-mail server from being hacked. I would have liked to hear Hellery explain that one.
Finally, Mrs Clinton said she would a better president, in terms of dealing with security and negotiating with world leaders because (she says) she has the experience and the "temperament" for it. Mr Trump countered that he doesn't think she has the "stamina", and, as for experience, she's had 30 years of experience, almost all of it bad! Cue more applause from the audience.
I have a thought, which Mr Trump hinted at, about Shrillery's fitness and ability to deal with world leaders. The two most powerful leaders in the world today are Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Guohua. Seems to me if there's going to be a mano-a-mano confrontation between POTUS and Mr Putin or Mr Xi, I want POTUS to be a MAN. So also in dealing with America's good friends (ha!) the Saudis and sworn enemies, the Iranians. The male leaders of those strict Muslim nations won't even sit down to talk with a woman. I say the presidency of the USA is man's job, whether the feminists like it or not.
The consensus of the lamestream media pundits going into last night's Debate was that Mrs Clinton could only win by hitting The Donald with a real knock-out blow. She didn't. They were also saying that if Mr Trump managed to get through the evening without going berserk, he would have done well enough. He did that. But he didn't cause Hellery to have a conniption fit, as his supporters were hoping. So I'm not calling him a winner either. Result of Round I -- a draw.
Further reading, added 28/9/16: Scott "Dilbert" Adams scores the first debate.