The usual mosh-pit media reaction on Twitter and elsewhere to last night's forum is going on as wordsmiths debate words. Forget words. People hear what they want these days.
What matters is voice and appearance. There, Trump won.
In listening to Trump's speech on Wednesday about the military and his later appearance on the Matt Lauer Forum, I heard a different Donald Trump. The high whine was gone, replaced by a softer and more reassuring voice.
I liked it. In speeches he had a tendency to sound like a New Yorker hailing a cab. (I doubt he has hailed a cab in the last 30 years.) I understand the need to be assertive and to bring attention to oneself on the campaign trail. But the voice over time got annoying.
This is a different voice, an indoor voice, the father calming the child in a thunderstorm. It fit his script in the speech, and his role in the forum. He must calm the nation.
Last night, he looked good (and she did too) in the forum. I am surprised he has not gone full CEO, but instead is following a more traditional way of presenting a presidential candidacy. But this is because he set everyone up for just wanting him to look normal. Well, that's all he has to do. Even I could pull of acting normal for two months. I made it out of basic training 43 years ago, right? And he is.
But he also showed more confidence on Wednesday than he has shown in the past. The internal polls (he is doing them now) must be encouraging. Surely the public ones are.
Once again, he was in command of the interview. Viewers had no doubt who the alpha male was.
Her attire was normal. Red top, black trousers. No tent! No mo' Mao! She looked normal. But she was not in control. When pressed, her voice rose and she sounded awful. She really has a shrill voice. But overall, she got away with her lies. No American died in Libya? But still, she must have fallen short. Judging by the way the media jumped on Matt Lauer, she must have had a bad night. Losers whine.
Trump's business-suit-and-tie attire continued. It's a good look. Dubya popularized the denim blue shirt-and-tan slacks look, which worked for his laidback presidency.
The casual look is dead, and I trust with its death go the tattoos, piercings, and other forms of self-mutilation. Life ain't a circus.
Appearance, tone of voice, and presence mean more than words. Trump needs to calm the nation. That is what you hear in the voice.
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