We don’t play drinking games in my house, but we watched the debate anyway, with notebooks and pens, our phones ready for fact-checking.
The kids were pretty excited about it — there was some extra credit in the offering and at least one of them has been working on his Trump impression for months.
We started tallying his references on our notebooks and phones: one mention apiece of Michigan and Ohio, states he desperately needs to win; six “believe me”s; two “big-league”s; three uses of the word “disaster” in the first 25 minutes; three things deemed “tremendous”; and a single “That I can tell you,” deployed in the final third.
I showed the kids how quickly #thatmakesmesmart infiltrated the Twittersphere, and explained how, during the Sarah Palin debates, much was made about how bad it would have looked for Joe Biden to verbally bully a woman on live TV.
“Trump maybe didn’t get that memo,” my 14-year-old said.
They were most surprised, however, by the ugliest political truth I revealed to them that night.
“It doesn’t really matter,” I told them. “As soon as this is over there will be hundreds of thousands of people claiming that Trump won this one, and they will never change their minds.”
They’re too young to remember that George W. Bush lost all of his debates, too, the foreboding words of the neocons from that era regarding the “reality-based community” and the dwindling number of those who live there.
My kids still think it’s sort of funny.
The biggest laugh of the night came when Trump took a shot at his old nemesis Rosie O’Donnell, who he has in the past called a “loser” and a “fat pig.”
Regarding O’Donnell, the Republican candidate said on live TV: “I think we can all agree that she deserved it, and nobody feels sorry for her.”[pullquote]They’re too young to remember that George W. Bush lost all of his debates, too[/pullquote]
My teenage children marveled at the pettiness of a presidential candidate dragging a 10-year-old media feud into a national political debate. And as they shuffled off to bed, I think they were more confused than anything else.
They had just watched a grown-up act like a baby, lie and smirk his way through a serious evening. And he just might grow up to be president.