Well, that was a crap week for Donald Trump — a poor debate performance; his bizarre obsession with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and her as-yet-unfound “sex tape”; his suggestion that Hillary Clinton was cheating on Bill; and, finally, the New York Times’ revelation that he lost nearly a billion dollars running casinos.
Rightbloggers, who have mostly abandoned their earlier misgivings and gotten aboard the Trump train, couldn’t do much more than holler “everything’s fine” as it derailed.
While Trump’s ground troops just had to push a #TrumpWon hashtag, senior operatives had to get more creative. At the Washington Times, for example, in a column called “The real reason why Trump won the debate,” Monica Crowley said Clinton had been “plodding and grating,” while Trump “enjoyed major narrative advantages” (meaning, I guess, that Crowley agreed with him), had been “aggressive, projecting authority,” and succeeded in “clearing the bar of appearing a reasonable man and plausible president.”
To further support her case, Crowley restated some of Trump’s statements as English, e.g., “The question, he said, isn’t whether she was in the game. It’s how she played it — and what results she produced: We are now less wealthy, less prosperous, less safe, less secure, less powerful.” I’m not sure to which passage of the debate transcript this corresponds — maybe “I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared.… You look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us.” Whatever, it sounds better coming from Crowley; maybe she can be hired to do simultaneous translation at the next debate.
At the New York Post, Salena Zito also said Trump won — in this one bar, anyway, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Zico portrayed Westmoreland as “formerly or traditionally Democrat-blue… Between 1960 and 2000, Westmoreland County Democrats handily won presidential races with one exception: Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory,” which is an interesting way of saying it’s gone straight-up GOP for sixteen years — to give you some idea, it went McCain 58 percent to 41 percent in 2008, and for Romney with 61 percent in 2012.
Nonetheless, Zito breathlessly reported that Trump had, through sheer force of argument, “won over” patrons of the bar (“Reed said Clinton came across as either smug or as though she was reading her résumé”). The Post included a link to a video feature on how “other viewers across the country were disappointed in what they saw from both sides of the debate.” Now that’s synergy!
Then came the bizarre Machado incident where, after she criticized the mogul for fat-shaming her after she won his Miss Universe contest in 1996, Trump tweeted through the night that Machado was “disgusting,” suggested Clinton had corruptly arranged for her to become a U.S. citizen, and beseeched followers to “check out” Machado’s yet-to-be-discovered “sex tape.”
While everyone else wondered what was wrong with him, Trump defenders dutifully manned the ramparts. “Machado responds to Trump’s sex tape tweet with provocative pose defiling the American flag,” roared Bizpac Review. (They’re talking about this. I must have skipped the part of the Boy Scout manual where it says you have to burn the flag if it touches Miss Universe’s tits.)
At the Federalist, Mollie Hemingway called Machado “2016’s Sandra Fluke, A Democratic Public Relations Scam.” Fluke, the Georgetown student and birth control advocate whose 2012 Congressional non-testimony became a cause célèbre (and got Fluke called a slut by Rush Limbaugh and a bunch of other assholes), may have posed as “a fresh-faced little law student,” said Hemingway, but in reality she was the hardened queenpin of a propaganda campaign “pre-packaged by the country’s most Democrat-aligned public relations firm” and transmitted by a corrupt media (“CNN had 146 pieces dealing with Fluke,” Hemingway gasped) to give the otherwise unbelievable impression that “an innocent, random young woman” had been “victimized by mean old Republican men.”
Now, said Hemingway, it was all happening again! In Machado’s case, the liberal conspiracy was “cutting out the public relations firm middle men” — a tricksy variation! — but though they want you to believe their coverage is inspired by a Presidential candidate’s bizarre and offensive midnight ravings, it’s really about media “coordination.” Also, Hemingway went on, Machado really had gained a bunch of weight — to prove it she quoted a catty story from 1997 on CNN, which apparently wasn’t corrupt back then. “Media outlets could have noted that they themselves were calling Machado a fatty-boombaladdy at the exact same time Trump made his remarks,” said Hemingway, but they won’t because they’re “playing cabana boy to the Clinton campaign.” (A quick search of “fatty-boombaladdy” shows no other citations, but I don’t have LexisNexis.)
Smaller fry did what they could. “Trump has a legitimate point,” said Hank Berrien at the Daily Wire. “Bill Clinton’s rampant and destructive sexual behavior, whether his alleged rape of Juanita Boraddrick [sic], his dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, or tons of other sexual escapades and sexual harassments of women have become a standard part of his legacy. It is certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Hillary Clinton would respond by looking elsewhere.”
In conclusion, sex Clinton sex sex dirty sex, and “the truth is, the marital histories of both the Clintons and Trump are enough to turn the stomach of anyone who believes in the sanctity of marriage,” said Berrien. Honestly, the woman ought to be ashamed.
On Saturday night, the New York Times revealed it had some of Trump’s tax returns, revealing him to be that rare businessman who can fuck up the profitability of a casino.
After the shock wore off, Trump spokespeople told the world this was proof of Trump’s genius, while operatives such as breitbart.com revealed the already-public knowledge that the Times itself had itself lost money and taken tax breaks — most damningly, in the easy-money world of newspaper journalism, without the reasonable excuses Trump probably had, like Lucky Louie came in and had a big night or something.
Trump also received strong support from Dilbert creator Scott Adams, whose pro-Trump writings delight me, mainly because I’m tried of using Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Ezra Pound as examples of artists whose work I enjoy despite their loathsome politics. “This was a NYT self-kill shot,” tweeted Adams. “Every experienced business person just sided with Trump (on taxes).” (Yes, but he needs a majority!) Also: “It’s either a Trump leak or the luckiest thing that has happened to him in the past year.” You libtards will be sorry when President Trump puts a statue of Dogbert on the National Mall.
Others posited a sinister conspiracy. “It does make you wonder, though, whether Barack Obama’s politicized IRS is deliberately failing to enforce the tax laws against pro-Democrat taxpayers like the Times,” said John Hinderaker at Power Line. “The only thing illegal or unethical is the illegal nature and unethical mindset of the media outlet who published them,” said the Last Refuge. “Just imagine what a Hillary Clinton administration would do to their political opposition with a weaponized cabinet filled with intensely unstable and rabid ideologues.”
Will any of this matter? Trump’s outrageous approach has normalized behavior in a national political campaign normally seen on Jerry Springer, so maybe not. On the other hand, even in our jaded media environment, people get sick of entertaining freaks; the once-popular Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is off the air, consigned to Oprah’s Where Are They Now broadcasts about Mama June’s weight loss. Now that I think of it, and at the risk of fat-shaming, Trump could stand to drop a few pounds himself.