Yesterday, Donald Trump was again guest-hosting on the Sean Hannity show.
I just want someone to look at me the way that Hannity looks at Trump pic.twitter.com/AkMRy7cRza
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 19, 2016
This exchange took place:
“For example, I looked at The New York Times. Are they going to interview Juanita Broaddrick? Are they going to interview Paula Jones? Are they going to interview Kathleen Willey?” Hannity asked Trump, according to a transcript of the show. “In one case, it’s about exposure. In another case, it’s about groping and fondling and touching against a woman’s will.”
Trump replied, “And rape.”
“And rape,” Hannity repeated.
“And big settlements, massive settlements,” Trump added. “And lots of other things. And impeachment for lying.”
“Smearing,” Hannity said. Trump then mentioned Bill Clinton being disbarred for five years in Arkansas. “You know, he lost his law license, OK? He couldn’t practice law. And you don’t read about this on Clinton,” he said.
As much as I loathe Trump and most of his supporters and as tenuous a grip on reality as I believe he has, Trump is precisely on point here. Bill Clinton has made a life style out of preying upon vulnerable women who come within his reach. Using the standards imposed by the US Department of Education on every university in the nation, Bill Clinton is a rapist. If anyone ever gets around to exploring Clinton’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein they will inevitably find that he was throwing the wood to pubescent girls as well as to the office help. This is not the first time Trump has gone here and with good reason. Hillary Clinton, just like when she was running for Senate against the feckless Rick Lazio, has telegraphed that she will use sexism as a cudgel to beat Trump. She is also trying to capitalize on a perceived affection between voters and Bill Clinton. However, just Donald Trump is a misogynist pig with an obvious pedophile/ephebophile inclination, Bill Clinton is a sexual predator. Back in December, Trump emitted this tweet
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
What made this so significant was, for the first time, the traditional media paid attention. This from Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post, Trump is right: Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual history is fair game.
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.
Though I am definitely #NeverTrump, I am also in the camp that is resigned to a Trump presidency because I have never seen anything to indicate that Hillary Clinton has any political talent beyond sleeping her way to national prominence. Trump’s outrageous sexist behavior and serial adulteries pale beside Bill Clinton’s record and Hillary’s active involvement in discrediting and punishing women who complained about his behavior. This was known to Hillary when she reluctantly brought Bill Clinton into her campaign. Trump, more than either of the Clintons, is totally unencumbered by any sense of shame or social restraint. He will literally say anything and, because he the GOP nominee, it will be reported by the press. If Trump succeeds, as I think he will, in making every claim of Trump’s sexism a discussion of Bill Clinton’s sexual predations then Hillary can’t use that line of attack and she is left with her record. Or, one might say, nothing.
My colleague, Dan McLaughlin, wrote a long analysis of how Trump inadvertently used the late Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop theory to demolish Jeb Bush. Hillary is very close to Bush in both style and operational manner. Her campaign and allies know that. And despite their magical thinking, there is no reason to think that Hillary will fare any better.