Around midnight Friday night, Donald Trump issued a video apology for his 2005 remarks about women, which dominated the news on Friday. His apology came so late at night because he previously issued a simple statement, swiping at Bill Clinton, and not even explaining what he was making a statement about.
The video, which you can watch here, is the perfect Trumpology. He makes a snide point about the fact that the video is from ten years ago (you know, this is old news), he put in campaign talking points (you know, this isn’t important), he says that it’s a distraction (see previous), he pointed his finger at Bill and Hillary (they did things too, mom), and generally came off annoyed, not contrite, and insincere.
So, you know, at least he was being himself.
It was short, it was too little, and it was too late. Literally. I was watching a movie and had to stop to see the thing. Midnight sucks, guy.
Today will be full of thinkpieces, but even more, at least on the right, it will be jam packed with hot takes and hot tweets about how this is how guys talk in the locker room, that aren’t Hillary’s crimes as bad or worse, that private conversations should remain private, that people are sick of political correctness.
I don’t have a hot take. My thing is hot anti-takes (which is basically the same thing but grumpier.) And I want to anti all four of those takes. In a second.
First, though, let me say that as a general rule, there is truth to all of those things. But the error a lot of Republicans and “conservatives” make is that they take some of these anti-leftism principles to an absurd extreme. In so doing, you render your own arguments useless. I just want to caution you to use a little common sense and, above all, to remember that part of the story of Trump’s remarks is that he has an election to win, there is strategy to winning elections, and his strategy yesterday couldn’t have been worse if it had been written out in crayon on a cocktail napkin by accident. So before you turn your finger and scream betrayal at the people who think he screwed up, do try and, you know, think.
Now for my anti-takes. I’m going to make them short.
1) “Locker Room Talk”: Seriously, stop saying that. Bragging about trying to suborn adultery isn’t locker room talk. I was in the Marine Corps for 6 years. I’ve heard plenty of guy talk. Let me tell you that talking about trying to seduce a married woman would not have been received well in the barracks I knew. Military members worry a great deal about infidelity due to long deployments. It ruins lives. It’s not a laughing matter and it’s sure as hell not “locker room talk.
Perhaps more pertinently, he wasn’t in a locker room! Now, I know it doesn’t have to literally be an actual locker room, but the notion remains sound. Young men in competitive environments where testosterone and adrenaline are their fuel. Locker rooms. They encourage braggadocio and lewdness. Trump is not any of the above. He’s a gross old man divorcee in a billion dollar suit on a bus with a couple of loudmouths from a gossip show. Not a locker room. Not locker room talk. An old pervy old guy on a bus leering at woman out the window. He should grow up. And so should those of you making this argument. Most of you aren’t kids anymore. Stop acting like one.
And finally, grabbing them by the p***y? I see you, so-called conservatives. I see you on Twitter. You know who you are. You’re talking about this being just the way guys talk. No. Guys that talk that way make you uncomfortable, and you know it. You end up avoiding them. You don’t want them around your mother, your sister, your wife, or, God forbid, your daughters. You don’t invite them out with you. If you hear a guy saying “hey I’m famous I can grab women by their crotch and they let me” you know exactly what you think. You think he’s a loser who tells stories to make up for some deficiency. Over-compensators. Fabulists. Or, even worse, a disgusting subway groper. Whatever it is, it’s not a kind thought. And you know it.
At best, he’s joking about molesting women. At worst, he actually means it. (And if he’s done it? Bet Hillary knows already.)
Spare us. Stop saying this dumb thing.
It doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You don’t have to say he’s the devil (though forgive me if I do), but for goodness’ sake, quit being jackasses. Even Trump’s campaign said he was wrong (sort of). Why can’t you?
Alright that wasn’t short, but the rest will be.
2) Aren’t Hillary’s crimes as bad or worse? Yes. Yes they are. So? If Hillary jumped off a cliff would you? Dumb thing to say. Lame.
3) Aren’t Private Conversations Private? Why yes they are, 1947. Also coffee is a nickel, kids call you sir or ma’am, and nobody says “meme.”
Come on. Yes, private conversations are private. But there are degrees of expectation of privacy, and yukking it up with gossip journalists on a bus isn’t exactly the brown belt of privacy expectations, you dig? The cat is out of the bag anyway. There is an election going on. You can’t just say “it was private” and expect the jury to disregard. Be real. Not to mention the fact that, contrary to his Trumpology, this merely confirms who we already know he really is. Who you know he is.
4) Shouldn’t We Abolish Political Correctness? No. Well, yes, but also no. There is actual political correctness, which is used to silence free speech, and there is simply being a decent freaking human being, which conservatives have somehow abandoned as being a PC bootlicker. I can’t understand it. Remember the party of values? Didn’t we used to make that argument? Family values, the importance of family. Isn’t “preservation of the family” one of the chief arguments that people, including a huge percentage of Trump voters, offer as a reason to oppose same-sex marriage?
Defend the family and family values then. Admit he has none. You can say that and still say you’re voting for him, if you must. Sigh.
It’s so dumb, and so debases you, when you abandon all pretense of your former political and moral positions in the feeble cause of merely trying to get Trump elected president. Some day the election will be over. Will you feel good about things you said in public over moments like this?
In the adrenaline of political combat, in the competitive world of an election year, you probably think you’ll feel fine in the future about what you’re saying now. But I think you won’t. Because you know what?
That’s locker room thinking. And some day, you have to grow out of it.