Republicans May Regret Lowering Hillary’s Debate Expectations

Presidential debates are, in part, an expectations game.

The media narrative focuses on the horse race and showbiz aspects, rather than substance. Who did better or worse than expected? Who did “what they needed to do”? Who sighed, or grimaced, or smirked in a way that might hurt their chances?

This leads to one of the most ridiculous spectacles in politics: campaign operatives trying to lower expectations of their candidate, and raise expectations of their opponent.

My personal favorite is when Matthew Dowd, George W. Bush’s campaign strategist, called John Kerry “the best debater since Cicero,” before the first debate in 2004.

Hillary’s Health

Last week, I joked that the media would declare Trump the winner of the first debate because expectations for him are so low, especially compared to Clinton.

But now the media’s speculating about Hillary’s health, with conservatives insisting that she’s hiding a debilitating neurological disorder and/or dying.

If someone in her condition can stand on stage for two hours, under those hot lights, and answer questions without collapsing in an uncontrollable fit of coughing, that’s exceeding expectations.