Politics, et Cetera
A publication from The Political Forum, LLC
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
They Said It:
[Tom] was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body — he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage — a cruel body.
His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked — and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.
“Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters is final,” he seemed to say, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925.
SMASHING UP THINGS AND CREATURES.
Maybe it’s just the mood we were in when we watched the debate this past Sunday night (“Debate starts with D and that rhymes with G and that stands for Grumpy!”), but it strikes us that our entire political process has lost all sense of perspective, all sense of history, and all sense of decency. We hate to repeat ourselves, but an ill wind blows through our politics, and will, we suspect, have severe and far-reaching consequences.
Obviously, the news of the week is the fact that Donald Trump is a vile, vulgar man who brags about doing terrible things to people, and most especially members of the fairer sex. Now, the obvious response to this is “who didn’t know?” Seriously, though. Who didn’t know? Trump has made an entire career – in real estate, in “branding,” in entertainment, and even in politics – by being a foul-mouthed jerk. Who could possibly be surprised by this?
The broader, less immediate response, however, is to wonder who in the media and among the Democrats has the standing to criticize Trump for being a vulgarian? The hypocrisy here is rank. As countless commentators have noted, the Left has been pushing Trumpian-like vulgarity on the public for decades, praising sexual perversity, enriching those who glorify sexual violence, and insisting that the only sexual sin is the judgment of sexual behavior. Who, they have asked the prudish members of society for the better part of fifty years now, are you to judge? Over the weekend, Rod Dreher, writing at the American Conservative noted as an example the “Cocks not Glocks” anti-gun activism that not only won copious media praise for its organizers, but also won its members a trip to the White House to meet with the President of the United States. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with this new activist movement, Dreher conveniently links to London’s Guardian newspaper, which does the . . . ummm . . . dirty work:
Demonstrators gathered to brandish sex toys in the air or strap them to their backpacks. Or other places. “We have crazy laws here but this is by far the craziest, that you can’t bring a dildo on to campus legally but you can bring your gun. We’re just trying to fight absurdity with absurdity,” said Rosie Zander, a 20-year-old history student.
“We wanted something fun that people could really engage in. Because it’s hard to get involved in the political process at our age, people our age don’t tend to vote or get involved, and this is so easy. Strap a dildo on and you’re showing the Texas legislature this is not a decision we wanted.”
Standing near a pile of empty boxes and a decorative small forest of upright phalluses, Zander said that Cocks Not Glocks has distributed more than 5,000 dildos in the past five days, donated by sex shops. A few metres away, someone waved a poster that declared “Cock and Load” near a sign fixed to a lamppost advising passers-by that this is a tobacco-free campus.
Rosie Zander’s parents must be proud. But at least she’s not a “deplorable” who would vote for that wretch Trump, eh?
More graphically, City Journal’s inimitable Heather MacDonald covered just one aspect of the Democrats’ entertainment-politics nexus and its own rank hypocrisy. To wit:
If any of these newfound exponents of female modesty felt any comparable nausea at the blatant display of female sexuality and, dare I say it, “p***y,” in Beyoncé’s acclaimed rock video “Formation,” say, they kept it to themselves. +Beyoncé and her female chorus line rhythmically thrust their butts, crotches, and breasts to the camera, while Beyoncé brags of her sexual prowess:
Paparazzi, catch my fly, and my cocky fresh
I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress (stylin’)
Oh yeah, baby, oh yeah I, ohhhhh, oh, yes, I like that
I did not come to play with you hoes, haha
I came to slay, bitch
When he f**k me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay
If he hit it right, I might take him on a flight on my chopper, cause I slay
Drop him off at the mall, let him buy some J’s, let him shop up, cause I slay
I might get your song played on the radio station, cause I slay
Sounds like a sexual quid pro quo, ripe for a harassment lawsuit. The “Formation” video, which inspired Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime performance in January (to another universal swoon from the entertainment industry), also shows a very young girl engaging in some precocious twerking, a grotesque travesty of childhood. No objections to that destruction of the innocence of childhood from the DNC.
President Obama has singled out Beyoncé for praise, and the singer is a big Hillary Clinton supporter, to not a word of protest from Clinton regarding her status as a role model for young girls. Bill Clinton met with Beyoncé and her husband, rapper Jay Z, in September. . . .
We could go on and on – and on and on and on…. But we’re sure you get the point. And you probably just ate lunch and would like to keep it down. Donald Trump, you see, is a vile entertainer, but that should, by all rights make him beloved by our ruling class. Strange, though, that it does not.
Dreher and others have reported that their citations of such “entertainment” have earned them the rebuke of some of their readers, people who are offended that they seem to be comparing Trump’s claims of sexual assault to naughty song lyrics or to college dumbassery. That’s all well and good we suppose, but it misses the broader point, one which Trump tried to highlight over the weekend, but was not really able to do. It’s also a point that we’ve made in these pages before and that will remain relevant as long as Hillary Clinton remains on the public scene.
You think Trump is vile? Well, he is. You think he’s gross and sexually deviant? Okay. We won’t argue the point. You think that all of this means he’d be a problematical president? Far be it from us to disagree. You think this means that he is uniquely unqualified for the White House, that he would somehow lower the dignity of the office? Give us a flipping break.
We don’t mean to state the obvious here, but everyone knows, don’t they, that we’re talking about Hillary Clinton, right? Everyone knows that we’re talking about the woman married to the man who was the subject of a long and sordid Independent Counsel investigation that centered on his perjury in case about his sexual harassment of a state employee when he was the Governor of Arkansas, right? Everyone knows that said perjury involved his relationship with another woman, a young intern only a couple of years older than his own daughter.
Now, we’ll grant that not everyone will recall the details of that relationship, because not everyone had to read the entire IC report like we did. Not everyone will recall that the President of the United States spoke with world leaders and a Nobel Peace Prize winner while this young intern was perched under his desk. Not everyone will recall that world leaders were kept waiting in the Oval Office reception area, while the young intern and the President conducted their own . . . uh . . . business. Not everyone will recall the cigars or the pizza deliveries. Not everyone will recall that Bill’s buddy and former Civil Rights figure, Vernon Jordan, worked desperately to find this intern a new job outside of the White House and told both Newsweek and Time that when he and Bill are out on the golf course, “we talk p*ssy.” And – as Hillary Clinton is hoping – not everyone will recall the stained blue dress, without which Hillary and the rest of Bill’s damage control team would have successfully convinced the world that the young intern was a delusional groupie, a crazy, love struck child who lost her way and lost her sanity.
In short, not everyone will understand that there is nothing that Donald Trump could do or say in the Oval Office that would “demean” the presidency. The guy’s a lecher alright, but he’s hardly the first. And he may be a perpetrator of physical assault, but as Kathleen Willey can testify, he is, again, hardly the first. Indeed, Hillary husband was there long before Trump (would be). And frankly, Hillary’s childhood hero, JFK, was there long before her husband was. Which is to say that all of this outrage is entirely fabricated, and insulting.
After last week, we had hoped that we were done armchair analyzing our startlingly deficient presidential candidates. But then, we hope a lot of things that don’t come true.
Donald Trump seems to us to be a strange man, a sad man. The media has reported all year, and empirical observation has more or less confirmed, that he is a loner. In addition to having no sense of humor, the guy has no real close friends. He has a couple of longtime acquaintances, here and there, but nobody he really relies on, depends on, talks to. He takes most of his meals alone. Sure, he’s been married three times, but he doesn’t appear to have any buddies, pals, guys he can just BS with.
Listening to the now-infamous tape of Trump and “Entertainment Tonight’s” Billy Bush, we can’t help but think that the candidate sounds less like a locker-room lothario, and more like an insecure teenager trying to convince the other kids that he really IS a big shot.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Trump is harmless. He most certainly is not. He’s a typical bully. And worse yet, he’s almost always gotten away with being a bully – screwing over contractors, treating employees shabbily, playing fast and loose with the rules – in large part because daddy’s money made it all possible.
Nevertheless, he’s mostly just hot air. Earlier this election season, back before Trump had secured the nomination, the inimitable Mark Steyn commented that one of the things that made Trump most attractive to certain beleaguered constituencies was the fact that he projected alpha-maleishness. After eight years of the ascendancy of the Betas, some Americans were looking for a honest-to-goodness man who wasn’t afraid to stand up for himself and his supporters. As it turns out, sadly, that “projection” of an alpha male was just that, a projection. The guy isn’t really so much an alpha as he is a big 70 year-old adolescent trying to impersonate an alpha.
But you wanna know something even weirder? Trump isn’t alone, even in this. Last week, you may recall, we noted that “If there is any major political candidate in the last fifty years to be less temperamentally suited for high office than Donald Trump, that candidate is Hillary Clinton.” Even after everything we learned over the last week, we still believe this. And if you’ll bear with us, we’ll explain why.
Think about what we wrote above about Donald Trump, that he seems somewhat socially awkward and has few real true friends. Now think about Hillary Clinton. Isn’t the same mostly true about her? We’ll grant that she has more people close to her who seem like friends and confidants, but are they her friends? Or are they Bill’s? She is a dour, unfunny, ambitious woman, who just so happens to be married to a cheerful, glad-handing, charismatic uber-politician, quite possibly the greatest political talent in what was (until recently) the largest generational cohort in American history. She knows that she can’t compete with that, and so she doesn’t even try. Rather she actually tries to come off as the tough, calculating, pragmatic half of the world’s most powerful power couple. Unfortunately for those who have the misfortune of being around her – or even of just coming to her attention – she too uses the resources at her disposal to get her way.
A couple of weeks ago, Peggy Noonan penned a column in which she did her best to remind voters about the real Hillary Clinton, the woman who never misses the opportunity to leverage her power to get exactly what she wants and doesn’t care who or what gets destroyed in the process. When we saw the title of Noonan’s piece – “Travel Back to an Early Clinton Scandal” – we tried to guess which one she had in mind. As it turns out, we guessed wrong, although who can blame us, given the number of choices we had. Noonan had in mind the Travel Office scandal, one which many voters likely have forgotten, if they ever knew about it in the first place. Noonan recounted the tale as follows:
The question came up this week at a political panel: Why don’t people like Hillary Clinton? Why do they always believe the worst? Why, when some supposed scandal breaks and someone says she’s hiding something, do people, including many of her supporters, assume it’s true? The answer is that Mrs. Clinton has been in America’s national life for a quarter-century, and in that time people watched, observed and got an impression of her character . . .
On May 19, 1993, less than four months into the administration, the seven men who had long worked in the White House travel office were suddenly and brutally fired. The seven nonpartisan government workers, who helped arrange presidential trips, served at the pleasure of the president. But each new president had kept them on because they were good at their jobs.
A veteran civil servant named Billy Dale had worked in the office 30 years and headed it the last 10. He and his colleagues were ordered to clear out their desks and were escorted from the White House, which quickly announced they were the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI. They were in shock. So were members of the press, who knew Mr. Dale and his colleagues as honest and professional. A firestorm ensued.
Under criticism the White House changed its story. They said that they were just trying to cut unneeded staff and save money. Then they said they were trying to impose a competitive bidding process. They tried a new explanation — the travel office shake-up was connected to Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review. (Almost immediately Mr. Gore said that was not true.) The White House then said it was connected to a campaign pledge to cut the White House staff by 25%. Finally they claimed the workers hadn’t been fired at all but placed on indefinite “administrative leave.”
Why so many stories? Because the real one wasn’t pretty.
It emerged in contemporaneous notes of a high White House staffer that the travel-office workers were removed because Mrs. Clinton wanted to give their jobs — their “slots,” as she put it, according to the notes of director of administration David Watkins — to political operatives who’d worked for Mr. Clinton’s campaign. And she wanted to give the travel office business itself to loyalists. There was a travel company based in Arkansas with long ties to the Clintons. There was a charter travel company founded by Harry Thomason, a longtime friend and fundraiser, which had provided services in the 1992 campaign. If the travel office were privatized and put to bid, he could get the business. On top of that, a staffer named Catherine Cornelius, said to be the new president’s cousin, also wanted to run the travel office . . . Soon rumors from her office, and others, were floating through the White House: The travel office staff were disloyal crooks.
The White House pressed the FBI to investigate, FBI agents balked — on what evidence? — but ultimately there was an investigation, and an audit. All along Mrs. Clinton publicly insisted she had no knowledge of the firings. Then it became barely any knowledge, then barely any involvement. When the story blew up she said under oath that she had “no role in the decision to terminate the employees.” She did not “direct that any action be taken by anyone.” In a deposition she denied having had a role in the firings, and said she was unable to remember conversations with various staffers with any specificity.
A General Accounting Office report found she did play a role. But three years later a memo written by David Watkins to the White House chief of staff, recounting the history of the firings, suddenly surfaced. (“Suddenly surfaced” is a phrase one reads a lot in Clinton scandal stories.) It showed Mrs. Clinton herself directed them. There would be hell to pay,” he wrote, if staffers did not conform “to the first lady’s wishes.”
During the debate this past Sunday night, Donald Trump made an offhand remark about how, when he’s president, Hillary will be in jail for the crimes associated her unsanctioned and unsecured private email server. In response, naturally, the mainstream media fell upon their fainting couches, horrified that any person could possibly even think of investigating, much less prosecuting another for purely political reasons. “Trump Shows His Inner Dictator,” hyperventilated the New Yorker. “Donald Trump’s Threat to Imprison Hillary Clinton is a Threat to Democracy,” wailed Vox.com. And so it went throughout the liberal/mainstream press.
What no one seemed to understand was that Trump said something. That’s it; he spoke some words. Maybe they were impolitic words, but all he did was say them – while speaking extemporaneously nonetheless. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has actually DONE it. She actually used and abused the power of FBI to destroy somebody. Billy Dale was in the way of Hillary Clinton’s political ambitions. So she crushed him. He wasn’t the first. And he wasn’t, and won’t be, the last. One is reminded of a quote from the bloody French Revolutionary Georges Danton: “These priests, these nobles are not guilty, but they must die, because they are out of place, interfere with the movement of things, and will stand in the way of the future.”
Several weeks ago, we revived an old metaphor we used to use to describe Bill and Hillary Clinton. They are, we’ve long thought, the personification of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tom and Daisy Buchanan: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
Sometimes, Bill and Hillary smash up things and creatures unintentionally, which is to say that they don’t mean to destroy anything; it’s just that circumstances and political ambition make their destruction necessary. Think here of the FBI and of its Director James Comey. By all accounts, Comey has always been a decent and honorable man, an exemplary Director of the Bureau. But then, he and his Bureau got mixed up with Bill and Hillary, investigating the bathroom server and the risks it posed to national security. Comey couldn’t possibly win; either he investigated the Democratic presidential frontrunner seriously and earnestly, thereby destroying his career, or he faked it, thereby destroying his career. He chose the latter, and now even his old friends from law enforcement – stalwarts like Andrew McCarthy – think that he and his Bureau are irreparably compromised.
Other times, however, Bill and Hill smash things up on purpose. Billy Dale was smashed up on purpose. Paula Jones was smashed up on purpose. So was Monica Lewinsky. So was Linda Tripp. So were countless others, many nameless and faceless.
Last week, Scott Adams, the author of the “Dilbert” comic strip checked in with an update on his new post-Trump-endorsement life. Adams, you see, had endorsed Hillary Clinton early in the summer, in part, he said, out of concern for his own safety. A few weeks ago, he changed his endorsement. And then things got ugly. In a blog post last week, he noted the following:
This weekend I got “shadowbanned” on Twitter. It lasted until my followers noticed and protested. Shadowbanning prevents my followers from seeing my tweets and replies, but in a way that is not obvious until you do some digging.
Why did I get shadowbanned? Beats me.
But it was probably because I asked people to tweet me examples of Clinton supporters being violent against peaceful Trump supporters in public. I got a lot of them. It was chilling. Late last week my Twitter feed was invaded by an army of Clinton trolls (it’s a real thing) leaving sarcastic insults and not much else on my feed. There was an obvious similarity to them, meaning it was organized . . . .
The one and only speaking gig I had on my calendar for the coming year cancelled yesterday because they decided to “go in a different direction.” I estimate my opportunity cost from speaking events alone to be around $1 million. That’s based on how the rate of offers went from several per month (for decades) to zero this year. Blogging about Trump is expensive . . . .
Then they started leaving fake book reviews on Amazon to go after my book sales.
Adams, of course, is lucky. He never has to work another day in his life, if he doesn’t want to. He can afford and absorb the attacks on his livelihood. Additionally, he’s still alive, which is no small feat. Nevertheless, he serves as a warning to others – a man in the cement shoes, if you will. “Look at what happened to Scott Adams. Don’t let that happen to you.” All of which is to say that while Trump may be bully, in addition to a lecher, he’s a rank amateur compared to the Clintons.
Now, we mention all of this today for a couple of reasons. First, as many of you know, this is an issue that is near and dear to our hearts. You likely know that we spent much of the first Clinton administration criticizing their gangster government and the nation’s precipitous slide into banana-republic-dom at their hands. Our principal premise was that corruption and immorality in government was damaging to capitalism and to markets.
One day, Mark received a phone call from a “friend” who cautioned us to go easy on the President. The Clintons, he said, could be vindictive, and Prudential did not need to make enemies of them. Mark informed the New York office about this call, and was told directly by Prudential Securities Chairman Wick Simmons that Prudential Securities had an obligation to its clients not to be bullied by phone calls such as that, to keep up the good work. Needless to say, we were fired immediately after Wick left the firm as a result of his own dispute with Prudential Insurance. According to the firm’s U-5 filing with state regulators the reason Mark was fired was as follows: “Employee’s work product exhibited difference in philosophy from that of firm management.” An article in Barron’s cited the difference of opinions between us and Prudential, but then added: “Even as Melcher was blasting Clinton, [Prudential Chairman Art] Ryan was hobnobbing with the President [Bill Clinton] aboard Air Force One, boasting of Newark, New Jersey-based Pru’s work with inner-city children.” Coincidence, we suppose.
More to the point, however, we continue to believe that corruption, not global warming, is the biggest threat to the United States, to global capitalism, and to Western Civilization. Additionally, we believe that if Hillary Clinton becomes president, the nation will see corruption of a kind never before witnessed in the United States.
At this point in time, there is no reason to think that Hillary won’t be the next president, which is to say that now is the time to prepare for the storm that will eventually follow the relative calm of today.
Donald Trump is rightly and fairly criticized for his inability to allow any insult, any snub, to go without a response. His pettiness on this account is disturbing. A man who wants to be President of the United States gets up at 4:00 in the morning to start a Twitter war with a former Miss Universe. That’s nuts.
Of course, the catch here is that Bill and Hillary Clinton are much the same, only they handle the response differently. Trump spouts off in public, usually on social media. Bill and Hillary handle their business more subtly, more carefully . . . more remorselessly.
Last week, we concluded our lament on the state of the election with the warning that “the next four years are going to be ugly.” When we wrote that, we meant to suggest that the circumstances confronting the new president and his or her inability to deal with them would make the world an ugly and especially dangerous place.
What we did not mention then was our long-time concern that the checks that the nation’s founders placed on the Executive in the Constitution have been badly eroded over the years by the so-called “imperial presidency.” This, we believe, has placed the nation in danger of one day having a president who will intentionally corrupt the Department of Justice, the FBI, the IRS, the Supreme Court, the military brass, and all of the various regulatory agencies that oversee the nation’s commerce. And when that happens, there will be no one left who will be able to stop her (or him).
Copyright 2016. The Political Forum. 3350 Longview Ct., Lincoln NE 68506, tel. 402-261-3175, fax 402-261-3175. All rights reserved. Information contained herein is based on data obtained from recognized services, issuer reports or communications, or other sources believed to be reliable. However, such information has not been verified by us, and we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness, and we are not responsible for typographical errors. Any statements nonfactual in nature constitute only current opinions which are subject to change without notice.