Face it, this is a campaign like no other [With Comment by John]

“I don’t like Donald Trump, he says what I’m thinking.” So an acquaintance, a Republican woman, confided the other day.

I consider this insightful commentary. Some of us recognize that not all of our unplugged thoughts can withstand scrutiny, that what we’re thinking isn’t necessarily what we ultimately think.

Others, though, are looking for a candidate who says precisely what they are thinking in their rawest moments. For them, Trump’s the man.

But in our most sexist moments, do many men find Carly Fiorina’s face unfit for a president? I don’t think so. And I’m pretty sure that, at their cattiest, most women don’t share Trump’s reaction. If Fiorina’s face is disqualifying, it will take down an awful lot of females with it.

That’s why I think Fiorina hit a home run with a new ad called “Look at this face.”

Fiorina is speaking at a campaign event. She says: “Look at this face. And look at all of your faces. The face of leadership.” Meanwhile, we see a variety of female faces. Like Fiorina’s, they are respectable faces, but not ones that would attract Donald Trump.

Speaking of her face, Fiorina concludes, “This is the face of a 61 year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle” (I don’t see many of the latter.)

The ad never mentions Trump. In the middle portion, Fiorina instead attacks Democrats for viewing women as a “special interest” rather than a majority of America.

This is, I think, a very effective ad.

Will Trump’s attack on Fiorina and her response signal the beginning of the end of the tycoon as a frontrunner? It would seem rash to predict this, given the history of this campaign. But I don’t think this dust-up will be lost on voters as they continue the long process of evaluating candidates.

Moreover, it positions Fiorina perfectly for Wednesday’s debate. She is front and center now, alongside Trump and Dr. Carson. A good performance, whether or not it involves a clash with Trump, might well separate her from the chasing, single-digit pack, as Carson’s performance in the first debate did (based mainly, as far as I can tell, on a good line about being the only candidate to have separated twins, etc.).

In any event, Carly’s ad manages, without directly attacking Trump, to say what a lot of women must be starting to think about him.

JOHN adds: I would say, not just a lot of women, but a lot of men too.

Trump is a “message” candidate–people tell pollsters they like him because they are trying to send a message. I get that; I am not crazy about John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, or the entire political class, either. But Donald Trump is a ridiculous vessel for that message. It is essentially childish to pretend that he is a viable–let alone optimal–candidate for the presidency.

It is one thing to sound off to a pollster, something else to pull the lever for someone who is running for president. I continue to think that when voting actually begins, Trump will be quickly forgotten. I hope so, anyway.