WAHHH, THE MEDIA
But let me concede a few things. Yes, the Mainstream Media (MSM) is biased against Republicans. This has been true since, if not the Mesozoic Era, then at least 1960. Yes, the media is particularly biased against Donald Trump. But this is not quite the outrage Trump’s spinners want to make it. Not only is Trump an exceptionally unworthy presidential candidate on the merits, but he does everything he possibly can to maximize the endemic problems of liberal-media bias. Thanks to his lizard-brain narcissism, he would rather have awful headlines about himself and be the center of attention than have Hillary Clinton steal the limelight. LBJ liked to say, “Let’s not step on our d**ks” on this or that issue. Trump is like one of those Italian barefoot peasant women who make wine by stomping on grapes all day, except instead of grapes it’s d**ks as far as the eye can see and Trump is wearing very expensive shoes.
Yes, absolutely, the WikiLeaks e-mails provide countless vulnerabilities that might have destroyed Hillary’s candidacy if she were running against any conventional Republican. But it’s not liberal-media bias per se that causes the press to pay outsized attention to tales of sexual misconduct; the press always pays attention to sex. The Lewinsky scandal got a lot of media attention. You could look it up.
It was inevitable and obvious that this lecherous adulterer who bragged in print about cheating on his wife would have these skeletons in his enormous, gold-and-velvet-lined closet. But no one needed to be a master sleuth or even a run-of-the-mill opposition researcher to know this. You know why? Because this guy said so! When accused of being a sexual predator by Howard Stern, Trump said, “That’s true!” — and then he laughed (in front of his daughter, whom he has affectionately called “a piece of ass”). Trump has told little girls that he would be dating them soon. If you want to write that all off as jokes, fine. Well, he also said that he couldn’t run for political office because of his attitude toward women:
“I think women are beautiful — I think certain women are more beautiful than others, to be perfectly honest — and it is fortunate that I don’t have to run for political office.”
This is apparently a disgusting recurring theme in Donald Trump’s life. You know what? I think women are beautiful. I also think some are more beautiful than others, too. But just because you find women beautiful doesn’t allow you to act like a blind guy and treat women like they’re the Braille edition of Playboy. But that’s precisely what he said he did in the Access Hollywood tape. He said he’s attracted to beautiful women and therefore he has an inherent right to search them for contraband.
THE REAL OUTRAGE
Here’s the thing, though: Even if you wanted to think the best of a man who disparages war heroes but insists that dodging the clap was his “personal Vietnam,” a serious political party would have still demanded that he submit to an internal opposition-research investigation. Read John Fund’s piece in National Review from Thursday. Trump refused to let his own campaign do an inventory of his skeletons. The guy who hires the best people was implored by the people he hired to do this basic form of due diligence and he refused. And now we’re supposed to be shocked that the Clintons found the skeletons in question? Or that the press is eager to report on them? Or that Newt Gingrich and Kellyanne Conway are left looking ridiculous and blindsided? My God, what planet do you live on?
So yes, the coverage of Trump is an outrage. But the outrage it exposes is how grotesquely unfair and partisan the press was to previous Republican nominees. The Trump campaign is getting the coverage it deserves (and is asking for!), and that highlights how the coverage of past candidates was so extraordinarily unfair. Take for example, the bowel-stewed hysteria over Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment. Romney said — and did — exactly what feminists and liberal reporters should applaud. He wanted to hire qualified women. So he reached out to women’s groups for suggestions. They sent him lots of recommendations. Binders full of them. And then he hired many of the women listed in the binders. What a monster!
Or consider the claims that Romney was a racist. How stupid does this garbage look now?
LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX BABY
So let’s talk about these allegations against Trump. I think they’re true. Maybe not all of them, but certainly enough of them, not least because they conform to what Trump confessed to in an unguarded moment. But also because we can be sure that at least some of them were given to the media by Democrats who would have made sure to vet them.
I honestly can’t get my head around the fact that Hillary Clinton’s closing “argument” in this election is sexual harassment. Bill Clinton’s lifelong enabler has managed to turn this topic into a deadly weapon against a Republican nominee. This is like Godzilla turning public safety into a winning issue in the Tokyo mayoral race.
But even harder to fathom: the logical Mobius strip of Trump’s argument. Hillary Clinton is evil because she attacked Bill Clinton’s accusers (never mind that Trump was on her side of the argument when it mattered in the 1990s). That argument could fly, except for the fact that, almost in the same breath, Trump says his accusers are malevolent liars. He told the crowd to “just look” at one of them as all the proof required to know that she’s a liar. Translation: “If she were hotter, it’d be totally believable that I forced myself on her.” To simultaneously defend Trump on these charges while attacking Hillary Clinton requires contortions not seen outside the pages of Plastic Man.
NEXT OF THE NNN
Obviously, I don’t know for certain that Donald Trump is really trying to lay the groundwork for a cable-TV network, though a lot of smart and informed people I know think that’s the case. If you’re looking for a theory to explain what Trump and Campaign CEO Steve Bannon — the former head of Breitbart News — are doing, it makes a hell of a lot more sense than this fanciful notion that he’s trying to become president. Since the convention, only once did he make any serious effort to expand his losing coalition to a larger, winning coalition: His tone-deaf, ridiculous, and utterly fake appeals to black voters. “Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they’ve ever been in before,” Trump said. “Ever. Ever. Ever.”
Put aside how utterly absurd this claim is (rent Roots if you don’t know what I mean) and how understandably offensive it is to a lot of black people, it was never intended to win black votes. The campaign had this idea that white suburban women would be swayed by Trump’s “concern” for blacks. He failed — which should have been obvious from the start.
And that’s it. For the rest of the campaign he’s been whipping up his 38 percent of the electorate into a kind of frenzy. Some people think he’s betting that he can dampen turnout generally, while spiking his base to win the election. Maybe. Or maybe that’s the rationalization they throw out there to distract from the more realistic goal: the launch of Nutter News Network. Read the transcript of Trump’s speech from Thursday railing about the globalist corporate-media conspiracy. It might as well be the mission statement for Bannon’s new enterprise, a network that stands up to the global cabal siphoning off our vital bodily fluids (in between commercials for water deflouridizers and gas masks). Why has Trump done scores of interviews on Fox and virtually nowhere else the last two months? Because he’s not interested in winning over undecideds, independents, or swing voters — you know the sort of thing serious presidential candidates do. No, he’s reselling the same product to people who’ve already bought it so he can take the customers with him after the election.
Why is Trump constantly saying that if he loses it will be because the election was rigged? Why is he wasting precious time attacking fellow Republicans, a move guaranteed to shrink his coalition even further? Because he wants the faithful to be permanently alienated from the rest of the political culture and utterly reliant on him. In fairness, it’s also because he can’t tolerate the idea that people will reasonably conclude that he’s a loser and choker so he has to lay the groundwork for the claim the other side cheated. But that narcissistic insecurity just makes him all the more susceptible to Bannon’s manipulation. He was such a Bannon puppet yesterday you could almost see Bannon’s fingers moving in the back of Trump’s mouth.
YOU BLEW IT UP!
So here we are.
All of the idiotic arguments his cheerleaders made a year ago have been exposed as the magical-thinking B.S. they always were. He can win blue states! Name one. He’s expanding the GOP coalition! Really? Then why are Republican Senate candidates outperforming Trump in almost every battleground state?
Many of the same people who said that we have to unify the party to beat Hillary Clinton now say that dumping Trump — the only possible way to defeat her (and that’s extremely unlikely to work) — would be treasonous and were the first to scream that Trump voters should screw the down-ballot candidates because Paul Ryan said he wouldn’t defend Trump anymore. If you honestly want to limit the damage Hillary Clinton will do to this country, the one and only obvious thing you should be doing is voting to keep the Republicans in control of Congress. If you think the GOP won’t fight Hillary hard enough, fine. But do you think a Democrat-controlled Congress will fight her at all?
I feel like Charlton Heston screaming at the Statue of Liberty on the beach. You people blew it all up. You embraced a man who has no serious allegiance to the ideals you got rich peddling and who had a vanishingly small chance of winning in the first place — even if he had been the disciplined candidate he deceitfully vowed he would be. Trump is now an albatross on the party and he will leave a Cheeto-colored stain on both the GOP and the conservative movement for years to come.
If you want to limit the damage you’ve caused to the party, vote for Republicans down ballot. Vote for Trump too, if you like. I don’t care, he’s going to lose anyway. But I’m going to vote for Evan McMullin so I can look myself in the mirror and maybe, just maybe, leave us something to build on after the catastrophe.
(Though I tremble at the thought, I’m ready to risk the wrath of SMOD for withdrawing my endorsement of him.)
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Donald Trump’s ‘Operation Destroy the GOP’ | National Review