Why Clinton hasn’t put Trump away: She’s too tightly controlled.

In a very good piece, Matt Bai neatly observes the Clinton lack of affect, contrasting her with the ebullient Biden, whose pitch to students he also neatly dissects.

You get the feeling Clinton wakes up and consults her briefing books, concerned chiefly with avoiding anything off-key. She mentioned her father a few times in the debate, but the lines seemed as well ironed as the pantsuit.

She’s controlled. Has to be, while Trump’s ebullience jumps out. He’s more comfortable with it. I like that about him. He’s more genuine in that respect. And all in all, more trustworthy.

Bai continues:

What was stunning about watching Trump Monday was his complete and unapologetic lack of depth. Never have we seen a candidate make less pretense of knowing anything about policy or history. When it comes to actual governance, Trump, at this late date, is still just a guy in a bar, tossing out platitudes he’s heard on TV.

And yet he displayed the mastery of emotion that has gotten him this far. A pure entertainer, he channels better than any candidate who ran this year the cynicism of the white electorate, and not just those who are staunchly conservative.

We’ll see about the pure-entertainer part. He surely knows how to warm up a crowd, get them enthusiastic. But I love that “guy in a bar, tossing out platitudes he’s heard on TV.” So what? I say — mainly because he’s not that guy.

But that’s not Bai’s point, which is not to endorse Trump but to appreciate him as a natural in his newly chosen field. At 71, by the way, and that’s no small thing. Bespeaks lots of experience knocking about with a wide variety of people.


There are a couple of more debates coming up, and I’d guess that Clinton might win those too, on both the arguments and the atmospherics. But I’d also guess that, without a more emotional assault on his case for the presidency, Trump can remain viable, at least, straight through to Election Day.

But she cannot make such an assault. She has too much to hide and has to protect herself. She’s plastic, lacks the touch. Trump has the touch, say I.

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