WASHINGTON, October 10, 2016 — Donald Trump’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” comments add nothing new to the presidential campaign. They give us no new insights into Trump; they say nothing about his character that we didn’t already know. Trump is an uncommonly unguarded, open individual, a septic lagoon rather than a septic tank.
His comments are neither, of themselves, shocking nor interesting. Trump remains Trump. But the hypocrisy of the responses is astounding. Yes, Trump used his power to sexually use women. And how is he different from Bill Clinton in that regard?
Liberals who didn’t care about Clinton’s treatment of women are sickened by Trump’s vulgar language and adultery. Does Clinton get a pass because he promoted women’s issues? Trump pays his female executives as well as he pays the men who work for him, and he’s even-handed about promoting them. Shouldn’t he get the same pass?
The hypocrisy is all around. Family values conservatives and Republicans were outraged by sex with an intern. They should have been. Powerful men shouldn’t use women that way. But evangelicals have suddenly discovered the power of forgiveness when it’s their guy who’s sinned. They’ve taken to comparing Trump with King David, an adulterer who killed to conceal his adultery.
Trump isn’t a killer, but he is a user. He doesn’t just use women; he uses people. His treatment of small business owners who have done work for him is as indefensible as his pussy comments. In that he’s also like the Clintons, who are consummate users of people. Their disregard for those who get in their way is total. Consider not just the women they’ve trashed, but people like Billy Dale and the White House travel office.
The odds are that a lot of men in power and more than a few former presidents have spoken like Donald Trump, but they were fortunate never to do it near a live microphone. And the problem isn’t just the crude language; it’s the using. That’s what made Bill Clinton unfit for office regardless of his policy wonkishness, sharp mind, and uncommon political skill. It’s one thing that renders Hillary unfit. Their casual use of people to enhance their own power, wealth and personal desires is the essence of Clintonian corruption, and if it renders them unfit, it does the same to Trump.
Trump isn’t unfit to hold office because he’s different from Hillary Clinton; he’s unfit because he’s just like her, but cruder, stupider and without makeup. The distinction between them has nothing to do with values and everything to do with simple, every day politics.
We know who Donald Trump is. He’s told us loud and clear for decades who he is, what his values are, what he cares about and how he treats people. Nothing is new today; nothing at all.
Many of Trump’s supporters are on board because the alternative is Hillary Clinton. That’s an entirely legitimate reason to support him, but it’s also a matter of political calculation, not values and a sense of propriety for what goes on in the White House.
We live in an age when all the major parties have to offer anymore is fear of the other side. The Clinton message is negative: “I’m not Donald Trump.” The Trump message is the same: “I’m not Hillary Clinton.”
Our politics is reduced to farce:
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
Douglas Adams, “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”
A vote for Trump is a vote for a lizard; but so is a vote for Clinton. There are in fact differences between the two; you can have your s*** sandwich on sourdough, or you can have it on rye, with a side of fries or a side of potato salad.
But you’ll never forget that you ate s***, and asked for it.