This political campaign, now officially stranger than fiction, took a salacious turn this weekend when a tape of Trump talking with professional sycophant Billy Bush related his technique in bedding women. First of all, you have to be a star, but his signature move is to grab them by the genitalia. I am not a woman, but I can only imagine how the thought of this Cheeto-hued man grabbing me by the privates would horrify me.
The match lit a fuse, and the Internet exploded. Republican officials condemned him in droves, and many of them recanted their endorsements (not in moves of decency, but in political survival). Trump says it was just locker talk, and that he's a changed man. First of all, he was 59 at the time, and nobody changes that much from 59 to 70, and second of all, I worked for over ten years at porn magazines, where the conversation was as lewd as one can imagine. No one ever said that they grabbed women by the pussy.
His die-hard fanatics tried to defend him. Most said he was better than Bill Clinton, who interestingly enough is not running for president. This is just another form of sexism--Hillary Clinton must be a harridan who forces her husband to be sexually crude. Trump was talking about making a move on a soap opera actress while his wife, Melania, was pregnant. Maybe it's her fault for getting so fat.
Others have blamed it on Fifty Shades of Grey (?), that Trump was a Democrat back then, and that it's just a distraction. Most people aren't having it so, especially women. Nate Silver showed what would happen if Trump received no votes from women--every state would be blue. But there are plenty of women, mostly white women, who can't see what the rest of us can--that Donald Trump has absolutely no moral center. He is a slime, a Chauvinist pig, a raging id. Would any Trump supporter trust him alone with their pretty teenage daughter?
Then came the second debate on Sunday. I was otherwise occupied, watching the very exciting Toronto-Texas game, but flipped over during commercials. I missed his line about putting her in jail, which has turned out to be the most egregious thing he said. But I did notice that he paced the stage like a caged bear, or a man who can't find the bathroom. Others, especially looking at photos like the one above, called it an intimidation tactic. While Clinton remained poised he loomed behind her, like he was waiting for a perfect moment to grab her pussy.
The American public thought that Clinton won the debate, by a large margin, but the chattering class, who are getting as dumb as the American people, said he may have won by "exceeding expectations." That's like saying a chicken exceeds expectations by beating a human at tic-tac-toe. He reeled off his endorsements, but he didnt' say that he only has two newspaper endorsements, one of them being The National Enquirer, and is also the candidate of choice of the Ku Klux Klan. I wish Clinton had brought that up, but she's taking the high road, and it's working.
As an English teacher, I'd like to point out that "Grab her by the pussy" is not an original quote. If Bartlett's were to add it to their next edition (probably next to "You're fired") they'd have to put a footnote on it--it was first written by Geoffrey Chaucer, in "The Miller's Tale," when he said, "He caughte hire by the queynte," which translated from Middle English basically means "He grabbed her by the pussy."