Me, I'm reminded of the story about the venomous critter that wants to cross a river, and assures its host there's no possible way it's going to do harm while being carried --"After all, we'd both drown!" Of course, over the very deepest part, the critter strikes and as they go under, the hapless host wails, "But you promised," only to be reminded, "Hey, I am venomous."
The GOP has been snakebit.
Lose control of tens of thousands of classified e-mails -- offstage, awhile back, abstractly? The public yawns. Show up on lovely color tape with hi-fi sound, talking the way men talk when the wimmens aren't around? The public sits up. Clickbait is around because it works -- and it works the same way blood sports worked for Rome. Is it a hatchet job? Yeah -- but Mr. Trump left the hatchet laying out and it's a way shinier one than any of the ones Ms. Clinton's got scattered about.
Like him or not, Mr. Trump shot himself in the foot, years in advance. He didn't go alone. A rising young celebrity reporter known as Billy Bush was chortling right along with him On Saturday, NBC's political analyst Chuck Todd declared the election was over. Oh, the outrage! We have a canary in that coal mine: On Monday, we shall see if Mr. Bush is back at his most recent post, co-anchoring a later hour of NBC's Today Show.
- If he's gone for good (he won't be), you'll know that the network is a fine, upstanding supporter of Genuine American Moral Character. Double points if they apologize officially!
- If he's "on assignment" or otherwise shoved into the background, they're hedging their bets. Maybe the flap will blow over. And what if (cue dramatic organ) Mr. Trump wins? They'd be in the deep doodoo if they'd given Billy the ax!
- If he's there, business as usual, maybe another pro forma "I was young and foolish and with bad companions," then forget it; it's just more cynical crap from an industry that has perfected and concentrated cynical crap into a form so toxic that just to stand near it is contaminating.
Gary Johnson still gets my vote for President, same as he had since before the conventions. He's got serious flaws. He's probably a crude-ass, too, but he's more careful about live mics and cameras. If you can't stop being Junior High School barbarians (and in my darker moments, I think no human ever can), you can at least learn to fake being civilized, right alongside everyone else trying to remember which fork to use and what not to stare at no matter how enticing. I think Gary could manage that, if he got the chance.
This election? There really aren't words strong enough. I miss Nixon and Humphrey. I miss George McGovern. I'm starting to miss John McCain, even at his crankiest. Herbert Hoover or Harry Truman would be a real relief about now.
1. Boys, you can fool your mothers, you can fool your wives or girlfriends, maybe you can even fool your sisters, but you can't fool me. I'm working so quietly at the bench in the back of the room, or up on a ladder overhead, or behind the equipment racks that you forget I'm there -- and in your heart of hearts, engineers don't have boobs anyhow, so I'm under the radar even if it pings a little. How you do talk when you think the chicks are away! Many of you are pigs, kept civilized by social pressure; many of you are primarily outraged at Mr. Trump from envy that he might indeed have been getting away with "Russian hands and Roman fingers" all over pretty young things and you rush to condemn him lest anyone suspect you might ever think or say what you have thought and said many times over. (And by the way, sometimes we look at the best of you with lust in our hearts, too. Don't take it as carte blanche to be crude.)
2. That would be young Mr. William Hall Bush, of those Bushes. NBC loves having a tame Bush on staff, much as the Persian Emperor had ex-Roman Emperor Valerian kept around as a stepstool.
3. What, me catty, gossipy and superficial, tending to form cliques and so on and on? Yeah, some. If boys get "crude," we get a social environment that can make dinner with the Borgia's look tame. And if you duck it, you're the one being gossiped about.