Donald Trump picking another fight. This one is supremely important and all candidates, regardless of what they think about Trump, should pitch in. This one is with Hillary Clinton and it is a fight that Trump is very likely to win. Last week I posted on the first salvo Trump has fired at Hillary Clinton over her decision to bring Bill Clinton on board to help her sclerotic, incontinent campaign gain traction against a yet another rather daft old socialist in New Hampshire.
Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign but HE’S DEMONSTRATED A PENCHANT FOR SEXISM, so inappropriate!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2015
Trump is exactly right. The dissonance between Hillary campaigning on the basis of her allegedly possessing a vagina and using her husband, a documented sexual velociraptor, as a surrogate is little short of stunning. Hillary tried to retaliate, using various dog whistles for sexism, but she showed just how weak she is when faced with a determined attack:
Hillary Clinton late Monday hit back at Donald Trump after nearly two days of attacks on her and former President Bill Clinton. In a statement her campaign said she wouldn’t be “pushed around” by Trump like his GOP rivals or “bullied and distracted” by the mogul’s rhetoric.
“When [Trump’s] insults are directed at women, immigrants, Asian-Americans, Muslims, the disabled, or hard working Americans looking to raise their wages — Hillary Clinton will stand up to him, as she has from the beginning,” a campaign spokeswoman said.
Trump on Monday again warned Clinton against attempting to use “the woman’s card” on him, a day after he accused the former secretary of state of unfairly trading on her gender. The billionaire’s brushback follows his labeling Bill Clinton as “fair game” on Sunday, as the former president prepares to hit the trail next week to campaign for his wife.
“With all of her past and her past dealings and, frankly, she’s been involved in it with her husband as much as anybody, for her to be discussing that I think is out of bounds and I’ve let them know that,” Trump said during an interview on Radio Iowa. “Probably maybe more so than anybody I know she shouldn’t be discussing that.”
And then there was this:
Remember that Bill Clinton was brought in to help Hillary against Obama in 2008. He was terrible, failed badly, and was called a racist! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2015
Even though a lot of the left is trying to “fact check” this today, it is true.
Led to this:
The third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives and one of the country’s most influential African-American leaders sharply criticized former President Bill Clinton this afternoon for what he called Mr. Clinton’s “bizarre” conduct during the Democratic primary campaign.
Representative James E. Clyburn, an undeclared superdelegate from South Carolina who is the Democratic whip in the House, said that “black people are incensed over all of this,” referring to statements that Mr. Clinton had made in the course of the heated race between his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Senator Barack Obama.
Mr. Clinton was widely criticized by black leaders after he equated the eventual victory of Mr. Obama in South Carolina in January to that of the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1988 – a parallel that many took as an attempt to diminish Mr. Obama’s success in the campaign. In a radio interview in Philadelphia on Monday, Mr. Clinton defended his remarks and said the Obama campaign had “played the race card on me” by making an issue of those comments.
So, yes, Barack Obama treated Bill Clinton just like any other white guy he disagrees with, he called him a racist and had his surrogates out calling him a racist.
As push back, a Democrat hack, improbably named Brent Budowsky as though he’d just stepped of the set of Animal House, wrote this in The Hill, Bill Clinton will crush Donald Trump — with a smile.
Clinton is the happy warrior of American politics, who has demonstrated great skill working with political opponents to make government function effectively, while Trump praises himself for giving money to politicians to peddle influence and insults widely respected leaders such as [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] (R-Ariz.), whose intensely patriotic heroism in military service he denies.
Clinton stands for a politics that is inclusive and respectful and offers every American a seat at the table, while Trump has a penchant for calling women he dislikes “fat pigs” and “bimbos,” ridicules disabled Americans with disgusting impersonations of a New York Times reporter, insults Hispanic immigrants with words such as rapists and murderers, and helps the recruiting of murderous terrorists by playing to fear and bigotry against Muslims.
There are good reasons why Bill Clinton has earned the vast popularity he possesses and why Donald Trump has earned the sky-high negative ratings that plague him with national voters, and the loudmouthed bully of GOP politics would be well-advised to not mess with the heavyweight champion of the American political world.
Let’s leave aside the obvious lies
Blutarsky Budowsky weaves about Clinton and keep in mind that Jeb Bush, too, is a very virtuous man. He’s a philanthopist. He’s nice to puppies. He’s never raped a woman. And when he crossed swords with Trump he found he’d showed up dressed out for ping-pong and Donald Trump was playing rugby. And Jeb Bush used to smile a lot, too, all happy warrior-y like. He mumbles a lot now.
If Budowsky thinks all of Clinton’s “good works” is going to be of use fighting Trump, he is in for a rude awakening.
What is worse for Hillary, is that even her media allies are agreeing that having Bill Clinton in the campaign is bad and if he does get involved he is fair game. This from Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post, Trump is right: Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual history is fair game.
Was there a sexist undertone to Trump’s “schlonged” comment? I guess, since we know which Democratic candidate does and doesn’t have one. Still, as sexism goes, this feels awfully mild.
“I think he has to answer for what he says, and I assume that others will make the larger point about his language,” Clinton told t he Des Moines Register. “It’s not the first time he’s demonstrated a penchant for sexism.”
True, but Clinton’s attempt at outsourced outrage has the air of a basketball player flopping on the floor for the benefit of the ref. Nothing would make the Clinton campaign happier than some good old-fashioned male chauvinist piggery directed her way — all the better to rile up female voters who seem surprisingly nonchalant about the prospect of electing the first female president.
We’ve seen this playbook before. During her first Senate race in 2000, when Clinton’s Republican opponent, Rick Lazio, invaded her personal space in a debate. During the 2008 presidential campaign, when Clinton surrogates complained that male opponents were “piling on” the then-front-runner, and the campaign posted a video on its website called “The Politics of Pile On.”
Sure, that campaign featured ugly incidents, proteste rs yelling “iron my shirt” at the female candidate and that notorious Hillary nutcracker. There were moments in which Clinton’s male opponents demonstrated their cluelessness about how to run against a woman; recall then-Sen. Barack Obama’s “likable enough” moment and John Edwards’s ham-handed comment on Clinton’s pink jacket. But it wasn’t misogyny that doomed Clinton back then.
Into this gender minefield lumbers Trump, characteristically unbound and deploying a weapon that none of Clinton’s Democratic opponents, past or present, has dared to mention. He played the Bill Card.
Well, Bill Clinton has a penchant for something. He had a successful presidency — with an ugly blot. “Sexism” isn’t the precise word for his predatory behavior toward women or his inexcusable relationship with a 22-year-old intern. Yet in the larger scheme of things, Bill Clinton’s conduct toward women is far worse than any of the offensive things that Trump has said.
But Hillary Clinton has made two moves that lead me, gulp, to agree with Trump on the “fair game” front. She is (smartly) using her husband as a campaign surrogate, and simultaneously (correctly) calling Trump sexist.
These moves open a dangerous door. It should surprise no one that Trump has barged right through it.
More to the point, both Bill and Hillary Clinton are supremely ill-equipped for such a fight. First and foremost, in their essence the are bureaucrats with an unending self-importance. They are apparatchiks grown fat and lazy while feeding at the trough; Hillary in particular. Everything she says is focus tested and polished and released before a tame audience. Not so with Trump. His campaign is probably the most entrepreneurial and opportunistic campaign I’ve ever seen. By the time the Clinton campaign gets around to responding to his current attack it will be next Thursday and he will have launched a couple dozen more attacks by then. And, unlike any other Republican in the race, the media is utterly unable to ignore anything Trump says.
Unlike the Lewinsky era, the media can’t hide these attacks and the financial pressures with the media business will demand they not only cover the attacks but “fact check” the attacks. This will lead to infinite amusement. Donald Trump has been able to turn virtually all of his attacks into an “earned media” bonanza. This will be no different, in fact, because to the TMZ and Gawker quality of this spat, it will be “yuge”, to coin a term.
Hillary will either have to spend time defending Bill from the attacks… which will generate media coverage. Women will emerge. This will generate media coverage. If Hillary dumps Bill, you can bet Trump with let the world know.
The days when Newsweek could decide to spike a story about a White House intern fellating the president are over. My colleague, Dan McLaughlin, wrote an epic long-read at The Federalist using John Boyd’s OODA Loop as a model for how Trump demolished Bush. It will play out the same way for Hillary. It probably won’t lead to a Bush-esque collapse but it will introduce a lot of millenials to a Bill Clinton they don’t know. And it, combined with the gathering cloud of scandal, will see her limp into November a wounded candidate.
Photo credit: WisPolitics.com via Flickr Creative Commons
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