History’s being made, folks. Into the list of quotable quotes from American Presidential campaigns — “If nominated I will not accept, if elected I will not serve,” “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion,” etc. — last week the Washington Post added “grab them by the pussy,” one of the many offensive statements that Donald Trump dropped into an unaired Billy Bush interview from 2005 that the Post published.
Trump’s pussy patter had something for everyone, even on the Right. The less enthusiastic Trump fans got to proclaim their moral superiority to their Presidential candidate. The True Trumpers got a fresh reason to believe in the liberal media conspiracy against them.
And Sunday’s debate showed that it didn’t make any real difference at all.
After Trump’s comments came to light, previously mealy-mouthed Republicans invoked their authority as parents of female offspring (“As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize…” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell). More ominously, no fewer than eight GOP Senators and nine GOP Members of Congress withdrew their Trump endorsements. Even some hardcore Trump advocates in the rightwing press, such as humanoid buttered-side detection device Hugh Hewitt, said they didn’t think he could win.
Some rightbloggers diligently found other people to blame for Trump besides the Republicans who nominated him for the Presidency. The media was a popular favorite.
“The media helped give us Donald Trump — thanks a lot guys!” said Matt K. Lewis on CNN. “Unfortunately what we’re seeing is a lot of the people who are sticking with Donald Trump and defending the indefensible are doing so because they’re seen year after year the mainstream media basically tear down good, decent candidates, call them misogynist, call them racist, and now they’re fed up and they’re gonna stick with Trump.” That’ll show ’em!
“Outtakes reveal there’s been a massive media coverup of Trump’s character for decades, allowing him to forge a popular persona,” said Virginia Postrel. Also, did you know TV performers wear makeup? The whole thing’s a con job!
At Commentary, John Podhoretz did the whole “When I said ‘politically incorrect’ I didn’t mean THAT!” thing. While classy conservatives protest political correctness as “the effort to choke off debate on touchy matters by shaming anyone who steps beyond the bounds,” the hoi polloi go for “the gleeful embrace of stereotype and the rejection of nuance… shouting out that you’re an a**hole at the top of your lungs and saying that anyone who isn’t an a**hole like you is a liar or a wimp or evil.” If only more conservatives read Commentary instead of, say, listening to Rush Limbaugh. Maybe they can teach the proper definition of PC in charter schools.
Some held out hope that Trump could be driven to quit so they could replace him with someone less disgusting. “If the Republican party at least gives people a candidate they can in good conscience vote for, it would be an improvement,” sighed Kathryn J. Lopez of National Review. Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle tweeted a little Letter to Rightwing Penthouse: “Deep in the Clinton oppo bunker, a staffer raises their head, eyes wide, & whispers ‘What if they replace him with someone who might win?’”
Maybe she was thinking of Mike Pence, who denounced the pussy statement in no uncertain terms. Ohio Senator Rob Portman announced he would vote for Pence for President. Groundswell! Pence’s cancellation of a Wisconsin campaign appearance heightened the drama. “The honorable thing for Donald Trump to do now is to bail on the race, allow Mike Pence to run as the nominee, and give the GOP a fighting final chance,” said Erick Erickson at the Resurgent. “Some rumors of planning have begun within the GOP to make room for something like this to happen,” claimed Brandon Morse at RedState.
The Trump campaign responded by announcing Pence’s speaking schedule for the following week. Trump himself basically told everyone to go fuck themselves. Trump TV advocates Carl Paladino and Corey Lewandowski were aggressive on his behalf on TV shows — Rudy Giuliani played the reasonable Trump guy, if you can believe it — and in early polling Republicans said they were sticking with Trump by better than nine to one.
Things got so crazy Trumper rageclown Ace of Spades pretended to consider joining the Democratic Party in protest (“At least that army seems to give a *** about protecting its own”), and at National Review Dan McLaughlin pretended to take him seriously: “There is a strong argument, if you believe in political coalitions, for voting for all of your party’s candidates for every office, no matter how much you personally dislike or disagree with them,” McLaughlin said. “I once voted for a literal blood-drinking pagan for City Council – and he won, and promptly got indicted for selling access to the GOP primary to Democrats.” See, it all worked out.
If the LGBTQ community wants to be a bit more inclusive, I don’t see why “polyamorous alpha male serial kisser” can’t be on the list. If you want to label Trump’s sexual behavior “abnormal” you’re on shaky ground.
In the words of Curly from the Three Stooges, “Nnnnyah.” Nonetheless, Adams claimed he’d changed his endorsement from Trump to Gary Johnson, “just to get out of the blast zone.” (Previously he’d claimed to be backing Clinton because he feared for his “personal safety” if he didn’t. Well, look, folks, Howard Hughes wore tissue-boxes on his feet — rich people get squirrely sometimes.)
At American Thinker, Arnold Cusmariu said this all clearly meant “The Democrats are in mega-panic mode.” The release of the comments must have been planned for later in the campaign, he reasoned, but that would “smack of desperation and might be counterproductive, encouraging Trump supporters to turn out in even greater numbers,” so they had to rush them out. All in vain, Cusmariu said, because Hillary is dying: “The town hall format for Sunday’s debate is likely to tire her out, especially if Trump becomes physically active by walking around energetically, thereby proving she lacks the stamina to do likewise.”
If only he’d done jumping jacks at Sunday’s debate, instead of sniffling and stalking, he could have ended this thing! Instead, at the town hall at Washington University in St. Louis, Trump accused Bill Clinton of sex crimes and threatened to prosecute and/or jail Hillary if he got the chance. This seemed to excite rightbloggers. “If Hillary was an officer in the Army and not a Clinton, she’d be negotiating for a discharge in lieu of court martial,” tweeted David French of National Review. “ ‘Because you’d be in jail.’ AMAZING moment. HOLY WOW,” swooned Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist. Clinton, who did not threaten Trump with imprisonment, got worse reviews from the brethren: “Clinton’s condescending, annoyed smiles — probably not helping her,” tweeted Jay Nordlinger of National Review. Tsk, usually they demand that women smile.
Trump went on to say if he were President, Iraq hero Captain Humayun Khan (whose parents he insulted) would still be alive. He actually second-guessed the Pentagon on Mosul and said he would have done a “sneak attack,” citing Douglas MacArthur and George S. Patton but sounding more like Bruno Ganz in Downfall. He claimed that he had never said nor done things he definitely said or did, including his heretofore most famous tweet, “Check out sex tape.”
In short, he gibbered, postured, and lied as usual, and rightbloggers loved it.
“Trump has been magnificent so far,” gushed Laura Ingraham. “Amazing. Truth teller. The Clintons have never fought anyone like this before.” Well, few people outside of a psych ward, sure. “Trump has done better than last time,” said Ian Tuttle. “Trump has a much better dominance game this debate than in the first one,” agreed Rich Lowry.
“Wish they’d ask @HillaryClinton why she went on backing the dreadful 55 mph national speed limit,” asked Walter Olson — God bless libertarians, the clown princes of American politics! At this point I think we can all use a laugh. As rightblogger outlets like the Daily Caller rushed to declare Trump the victor (“In a [online] poll run on the Drudge Report, 92 percent of voters agreed that Trump won…”), it was clear that not only could Trump shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose votes, as he once declared (and will probably deny saying), he could grab any pussy he likes and still not lose the love of the faithful.