What a week in politics! With revelations from an eleven-year-old tape capturing self-described “locker room” talk about women, Donald Trump is suddenly the biggest Lothario in presidential political history. With last Friday’s bombshell hitting every news station and producing collective gasps from every left leaning and many centrist and conservative Americans, we have the stage set for the most volatile and divisive race to the finish in history. Governor Herbert, withdrew his endorsement while Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and other prominent Republicans expressed outrage. The Deseret News published an editorial calling for Trump to withdraw from the race. And it appears as if our actors in the continuing soap opera entitled “Election 2016, As the World Burns” will not disappoint in this ongoing Faustian nightmare.
First, without implying rationalization or excuse, womanizers and less than moral leadership has been a characteristic of several of our recent past presidents. As far back as FDR (look up Lucy Mercer Rutherford or Maguerite LaHand), it was clear that women other than the First Lady have played a role in White House. JFK and Lyndon Johnson were notorious playboys (Happy Birthday Mr. President indeed) that suffered the cold but silent glares of their wives on many occasions. Bill Clinton’s exploits are notorious, with one former Secret Service Agent describing the Clinton White House as one big frat party. His problem was that many of his conquests were allegedly uninvited, and Hillary was his cleanup crew making threats and waging psychological war on his victims to keep them quiet. Allegedly. Even Ronald Reagan, the last great conservative President, was known as a lady’s man in his younger days in Hollywood, supposedly racking up an impressive list of starlets prior to his second marriage to Nancy.
None of this history stands out as finer moments in our national legacy. But what does all this mean to the quest for the White House? Trump is now forced to counter and drive the campaign in a race towards the bottom. Whoever brought this tape to the forefront obviously wants the smear tactics to carry the day (and the rumors persists that it might have been Republican sources, not the Clinton campaign, which broke this to the media). And the sleaze war was on full display in the second presidential debate Sunday night.
As usual, the press was on the attack against Trump and media bias has become almost laughable.
Anderson Cooper (actual question): “Mr. Trump, how many years have you avoided paying income taxes?”
Donald Trump (via cartoon thought bubble): “What the $%#! kind of question is that? This really is a three on one sham of a debate. Maybe I had better say something bad about how Hillary handled ISIS.”
It took a full thirty minutes to even get to a policy question going as the character assassination hit Trump right out of the gate. Thankfully several policy issues were at least asked, but not one answer came from either candidate without blasting the other candidate for some flaw in their character, their history or their outlook. And unlike the first debate, Trump unloaded with both barrels on Clinton. How much lower can this go?
As far as the Clinton campaign is concerned, “people who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.” The Clinton corruption has boiled to the surface in unprecedented volume as books such as “Armageddon, How Trump can Beat Hillary”, By Dick Morris”, “Clinton Cash” by Peter Shweizer or “Crisis of Character” by Gary J. Byrne clearly lay out the malfeasance that is the Clinton political machine. Bill Clinton has a bevy of women alleging he assaulted them and Hillary threatened them. Far more insidious than a bunch of rude talk. But is anyone really listening? WikiLeaks just released transcripts From Hillary’s speech to a Brazilian Bank in 2013 outlining her vision of a borderless world with a global government. That should absolutely terrify any American who actually believes we should preserve a sovereign nation.
But here we are preoccupied with lewd comments about women. The mainstream media has us all right where they want us. Are Trump’s comments excusable? No. Is it a character flaw in a wealthy and privileged man? Absolutely. Is it fatal to the presidential race? If it is, you might want to do a little more homework. This bottom dwelling campaign by its very nature forces the average voter to really examine both the candidates and their stances if any remotely informed decision is to be made. And no one will get any accurate information from the nightly news.
This race really has come down to the lesser of two evils, the epitome of a “race to the bottom.” When we have a nation that faces its most crucial election since Lincoln, one would hope that the field would be a bit stronger. Hillary is downright dangerous, and Trump needs to grow up, and fast. Neither candidate offers resounding confidence to the average voter. And with apologies to Johnson, Stein or McMullin supporters, we have yet to see a credible Independent choice. It looks as though, barring some radical development in the next week or two, a lot of people will be holding their noses when and if they cast their vote in November.