Archive

October 21st, 2016

Can Donald Trump turn Bill Clinton into a 'Bill Cosby'?

    Can this presidential campaign get any weirder?

    Sensing nothing left to lose, according to reports, Republican hopeful Donald Trump's campaign is going for broke with a scorched earth strategy, intended to make a "Bill Cosby" out of Bill Clinton.

    Just as Cosby went from national hero to national pariah after a parade of women charged him with decades of sexually predatory acts, Team Trump hopes to do the same to the former president.

    Yes, I know, Bill Clinton's not running. His wife is. But the Trump campaign aims to smear her as an enabler of sexual violence.

    "We're going to turn him into Bill Cosby," Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon told Trump staffers, according to a report by Bloomberg's Josh Green -- who quotes two unnamed Trump advisers who were present. "He's a violent sexual predator who physically abuses women who he assaults. And she takes the lead on the intimidation of the victims."

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October 20th

Trump courts the fury of women voters

    Donald Trump already had political difficulties with women voters before his now-infamous banter about sexual assault went viral on the Internet. Now, as more women have stepped forward with specific allegations against him, he's encountered a wave of female revulsion that he may be unable to survive.

    Hillary Clinton promptly and predictably used the new revelations of her opponent's unsolicited groping and kissing to rally her millions of sisters to make her the first woman president. And she gained an impassioned alliance with first lady Michelle Obama.

    Obama's electrifying speech Thursday in New Hampshire called on women regardless of party to defend themselves against the behavior and the attitudes Trump alluded to in his marginalizing remarks caught on video.

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An unshackled Trump; an unmoored campaign, lurching to the finish line

    Donald Trump is not really running a campaign for president anymore. Instead, he is involved in an extended revenge plot or is simply following the politics of grievance to its natural, unseemly end.

    See, campaigns have a message. They have strategy and tactics. They show restraint and coordination.

    Trump, in the 10 days since the release of a hot-mic tape of him making lewd and sexually suggestive comments about women, has done none of those things. Literally none.

    The Washington Post's Jose Del Real counted more than 20 different messages from Trump during a five-minute span of a speech the Republican presidential nominee delivered in North Carolina last week. That was the same speech in which Trump took apart his teleprompters onstage -- one was malfunctioning -- and insisted that he would not pay the company that provided them. (This all happened on Earth in the year 2016.)

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The three times Donald Trump demonstrated he was unfit for the presidency in last night's debate

    Wednesday night's third presidential debate was the most substantive of the three (an admittedly super-low bar). Chris Wallace did an excellent job of moderating and made the wise tactical decision to open with policy questions before turning to both candidates' scandals for a brief spell, and then pivoting back to policy. Donald Trump seemed to have prepped more for this debate than either of the first two, and occasionally got in some sharp attack lines on Hillary Clinton's record.

    And yet, nothing in the above paragraph matters, because on at least three separate occasions, Trump said something that made it pretty clear he is radically unfit to be the president of the United States. Let's just list them here for posterity:

 

    1) Refusing to say he would accept the election results if he lost.

    If you're Donald Trump, or a Republican politician who has endorsed Donald Trump, it was not good that Thursday morning's front page of major newspapers bannered this response.

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The Authentic Power of Michelle Obama

    Isn’t it delicious that after trafficking in racism, promoting sexism and using a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace as a pivot into political relevance, Donald Trump could receive his final death blow from a black woman: the president’s wife?

    And isn’t it interesting that after so many years of keeping a studied distance from the ugliness of the political arena, the first lady is throwing herself with such passion into this grotesque campaign?

    That says everything about the singular threat that Trump poses, and she’s emerging as the fiercest counter to it: Michelle Obama, octopus slayer. She’s effective because she has never gone looking for a fight — we know that about her. She acts when she has something to defend, and as she made clear in a stirring, searing speech late last week, that’s more than her husband’s legacy, which a Trump victory would decimate. It’s her dignity as a woman. It’s the dignity of all women.

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Michelle Schools Donald Trump

    Anita Hill lost her fight.

    The creepy guy who acted pervy toward her won.

    The issue of sexual harassment burst onto the national scene 25 years ago, exploding in the male dominion of Congress, in the shadow of that macho symbol, the Washington Monument.

    Such vulgarities and sexually explicit language had never been heard before in the political arena. It was like a jackhammer drilling down into the most sensitive parts of the American psyche.

    That traumatic week in 1991 was considered an important tutorial in sexual harassment. Except that, in the end, droit du seigneur was ratified. Clarence Thomas got rewarded by the cowed Senate Judiciary Committee and ended up with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

    No women voted against Thomas because none were on the committee. Just middle-aged white men, many of whom left the chamber believing that there had been some sort of consensual relationship between Hill and Thomas.

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If Hillary Clinton Groped Men

    Is there a double standard for women in politics?

    Imagine if it were Hillary Clinton who had had five children by three husbands, who had said it was fine to refer to her daughter as a “piece of ass,” who participated in a radio conversation about oral sex in a hot tub, who rated men based on their body parts, who showed up in Playboy soft porn videos.

    Imagine if 15 men had accused Clinton of assaulting or violating them, with more stepping forward each day.

    Imagine if Clinton had held a Mr. Teen USA pageant and then marched unannounced into the changing area to ogle the young bodies as some were naked and, after doing the same thing at a Mr. USA pageant, marveled on a radio show at what she was allowed to get away with.

    Imagine if in a primary election debate Clinton had boasted that there’s “no problem” with the size of her vagina.

    Imagine if Clinton had less experience in government or the military than any person who has ever become president?

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Clinton and Trump face off in the ring

    Welcome to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and the third "Unseemly Clash of the Candidates" brought to you by the Commission on Presidential Debates. This final contest comes on the heels of two equally ugly and disgusting performances, on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and on Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Tonight, the two contenders come together for the final time, something many Americans will undoubtedly greet with gratitude.

    Now let's introduce the candidates.

    In the blue corner is the Democratic nominee from Chappaqua, N.Y., by way of Illinois, Arkansas and Washington, District of Columbia, Hillary "I'll Blind Them With My Footwork" Clinton.

    In the red corner is the Republican nominee from Queens, and wherever else he elects to plant his flag, Donald "The Tongue and Genital Groper" Trump.

    The referee for tonight's event is Chris Wallace of Fox News. Have mercy on his soul.

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Americans now live in two worlds, each with its own reality

    It is not true that the 2016 presidential election is being rigged in any meaningful sense of that word. If you extend a definition of "rigged" to include such loose concepts as "members of the political establishment hoping outsiders are unsuccessful" or "campaign operatives using common political practices to improve the chances of electoral success," then, maybe. But that's not the way that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, means it.

    In Trump's estimation, the campaign is rigged in the traditional sense of the expression: nefarious forces are seeking to commit voter fraud in Pennsylvania, the media is conspiring with a wealthy Mexican to make up lies about him, Hillary Clinton is doing the bidding of a cabal of international bankers. On Saturday, he implied that Clinton had been given the questions during the first debate, a laughable conspiracy theory that flourished briefly in the wake of her strong performance on the stage that night. But for Trump, sinking in the polls faster than Clinton is rising, any conspiracy theory that undercuts his opponent is one worth sharing.

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Wild horses couldn't drag the government to act

    By law, the federal government is supposed to manage the wild horse population in the West. But what happens if, despite an overabundance of the beautiful beasts, the government does nothing about it? The official answer is not much, according to a federal appeals court that turned down Wyoming's challenge to federal inaction. The decision follows familiar principles of deference to agency action (or, in this case, inaction). But it leaves farmers or others negatively affected by the overpopulation with essentially no recourse, a result that seems at odds with the intent of the law.

    Wyoming v. Department of the Interior -- which I like to think of as the "All the Pretty Horses" case -- arose under the wonderfully named Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, enacted by Congress in 1971. (I'm happy to admit that I had never heard of this law before, but just reading the name in the opinion made me feel that I love my job.) The law was enacted to protect wild horses from "capture, branding, harassment, or death." It designates the wild horses as an "integral part of the natural system of the public lands" and assigns responsibility for them to the Bureau of Land Management.

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