On the eve of the third and final presidential debate, we are recalling the last disaster where we had the threat of another trip down memory lane with Bill Clinton and his chorus line of interns and secretaries. On that occasion Trump made a glaring mistake.
With his fundamental flaw of always thinking everything is about him, he focused on the events of the week ONLY as they related to Donald Trump – personally. This is why egomaniacs don’t belong in presidential campaigns. During the same week of the release of the Access Hollywood video, Wikileaks’ exposure of Hillary’s emails was gushing forth. This was the stuff of a masterful attack on a debate stage, but it was not to be.
Trump once more thought with his gut rather than with whatever he keeps under that hair. And what that equipment told him was that he needed to focus like a laser beam on his own behavior, and how it was perfectly okay, and he had nothing to really be sorry for.
This was so predictable and so typical that once the tape came out, Hillary had to know the rest of the night would be clear sailing.
The greatest mistake of the night was to bring forth the alleged victims of Bill Clinton. This was stupid on so many levels it is difficult even to know where to start. By bringing in these women – already once presumably victimized by Clinton, they were held up to public scrutiny and attack again, to be disbelieved publicly all over again, but there they were, like the three weird sisters of MacBeth, accusing from the political grave, as it were. They were there to accuse Hillary of colluding to discredit them. But this was at best problematic.
Many women who vote have experienced a cheating husband. More often than not the tendency is for them to try to bury it, cover it up and pretend all is well at home. There is an element of humiliation for a woman in this position that causes one to avoid public display. No one wants to admit that they were cheated on by a wayward husband. It takes a lot to bring someone to the point of shaming a husband publicly. These women, while they might feel revulsion at Bill Clinton, share, in a strange way, a feeling of support for Hillary who is positioned as another of Bill’s victims in this. So that group was won over by Hillary.
The attempt to make Hillary an accomplice in this attack on the women falls on the rocks – inevitably when Trump has placed himself in the same category as Bill Clinton. If Hillary was necessarily complicit, then so are Trump’s various wives complicit. It is an impossible case to make. If we are not to believe Hillary, then are we not to believe Ivana, Marla or Melania either?
The fact of dozens of women coming out with accusations and the shabby way they were handled by Kellyanne Conway, Katrina Pierson and the rest of the gang is certainly no coincidence. The fairly recent scandal of Bill Cosby should be enough to counter these charges of opportunism. Cosby’s victims could not get anyone to listen. After all, Cosby was a beloved actor from family TV shows, always portraying a sympathetic and lovable character with high morals. Trump was known as a glitzy, flashy, daring financial mogul, a happy-go-lucky playboy who would have been consorting with loose ladies of all kinds, also glitzy and glamorous, who would have “wanted it,” as it was suggested.
The women who were genuinely victims of unwanted advances of varying degrees would never have been believed. Once the video came out, many women felt they would finally be believed. Why not? Trump admitted everything himself – volunteered it, in fact, to a silly entertainment host. On camera. On mic. Trump’s act of hiring pervert Roger Ailes immediately upon his dismissal for making just such unwanted advances toward vulnerable women didn’t make him more believable. Now he is shocked at being taken to task on his behavior? Those who actually charged him with rape had done so long before he was a serious contender for the nomination, and undoubtedly waited to file the charges until they felt protected by the public scrutiny of a presidential candidate. This was understandable.
The whole saga of Bill Clinton and his numerous victims, and willing adulteresses alike, was disgusting and distasteful to us the first time around. The embarrassing and disgusting revelations coming forth in the impeachment trial, for all the world to see and hear, the sense that we were being led by a mental adolescent on a wild weekend, rather than the “Rhodes Scholar” many voted for, was that of betrayal. Few would want to go back there. And yet here was Donald Trump; eternal, geriatric playboy all but bragging about his liberties with women and insulting at the same time those who came forward to attest to his own remarks.
It got some of us thinking – we had Bill Clinton and his cigars. Do we want this all over again with Trump? By bringing these ladies in as an exhibit, putting them on display, he as much as said, “I’m no worse than Bill Clinton. And it was Hillary’s fault.” But, by being no worse, he amply demonstrated that he was no better.
The casualty of Trump’s narcissism was debate on important issues. Like treason, for example. Like corruption, for example. Like foreign policy, like the debt, like healthcare, like the economy, like trade, like entitlements, like the military and the VA, like energy independence, like internet freedom, like the 1st and 2nd Amendments, like crime, like immigration, like Syria, like Russia and China. Like everything we actually care about.
Instead of going after Hillary for failed policies of the last eight years; instead of attacking on her personal corruption and mishandling of highly classified information; instead of holding her accountable for lives lost on her watch in Benghazi, or the foreign deals regarding uranium, we all were looking all night at the women on display in the front row.
That is the problem with running an ego instead of a whole man for president. It is always about him. Let’s see if he can shed his own personality disorder tonight.