Thursday, September 29, 2016


The Donald Trump campaign is really, really going there now:
Donald Trump's campaign is instructing its supporters to use figures like Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers to beat back concerns about how Trump described a former winner of "Miss Universe," according to a copy of Wednesday campaign talking points obtained by CNN....

"Mr. Trump has never treated women the way Hillary Clinton and her husband did when they actively worked to destroy Bill Clinton's accusers," one talking point reads.

"Hillary Clinton bullied and smeared women like Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky," reads another.

"Are you blaming Hillary for Bill's infidelities? No, however, she's been an active participant in trying to destroy the women who has come forward with a claim," reads a third.
Surrogates are already reading from the script:
"I find it so interesting that there continues to be this conversation about what he has said when you look at what she has done: Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky. My goodness," Congressman Marsha Blackburn told MSNBC.

The story's relevance to Hillary Clinton, Blackburn said, was that the former secretary of state and first lady had been "vindictive" to women who had claimed a sexual relationship with the former president.

Trump's deputy campaign manager David Bossie took a similar tack, telling Fox News on Wednesday that Clinton was an "enabler" of her husband's behavior. Rep. Chris Collins, another Trump surrogate, told MSNBC that "the women that Bill Clinton was involved with saw the wrath of Hillary Clinton."
In this campaign, Trump has been successful while doing a lot of things that should have been recipes for failure, so I don't want to be overconfident about the likelihood that this gambit will fail.

But I think it will -- and not just because, as New York's Margaret Hartmann notes, it's never worked before:
Republican strategist Tim Miller and Katie Packer, who do not support Trump, told NBC News that in focus groups conducted before the primaries they found the attack was ineffective with female swing voters.

“These voters were completely turned off and disgusted by it,” Miller said. “We found time and again these attacks turned Hillary into a victim and that it engendered sympathy for her.”

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers agreed that the strategy is likely to backfire. Hillary’s popularity rose to 67 percent at the height of the Lewinsky scandal...
Here's a further problem: As Hartmann notes, "There isn’t much public evidence to prove that Hillary was 'vindictive' toward Bill’s accusers." Hillary's alleged vindictiveness toward Bill's women hasn't been a big part of the horndog-Bill story -- except for conservatives, who've turned multiple books about the Clintons' evil into bestsellers, and who collect evil-Hillary anecdotes like hoarders.

Trump and most of the members of his inner circle are consumers and/or producers of this sort of material, so they're steeped in the lore. They're likely to think that all they have to do is allude to these anecdotes and the public will nod knowingly and say, "Yeah, and remember what that witch did to Dolly Kyle Browning?" That's a mistake Trump made in the debate on Monday: alluding to stories that are widely known in the right-wing fever swamps without explaining them to people who do other things in their spare time besides watch Fox.

And there's the further possibility that some of the stories Trump and his surrogates will cite are just plain nuts. Oliver Willis of Media Matters says that Trump's breiefing book on this subject is The Clintons' War on Wonen, a book coauthored by Trump's sociopath buddy Roger Stone.
Former Trump adviser Michael Caputo, guest hosting on the September 25 edition of WBEN’s Hardline, said he “heard more than one time Donald Trump say” that Stone’s book The Clintons’ War on Women “is his opposition research on the Clintons.” He added that Trump “has it on his desk.”

... Trump has promoted Morrow and Stone’s book on his Twitter account. In January, after claiming that Bill Clinton was “one of the great woman abusers of all time," Trump cited Stone’s book for his claim that Hillary Clinton "went after the women very, very strongly and very viciously, according to the women and according to other sources."
How out there is the book? Here's a gushing write-up from Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller:
The book recounts the stories of about two dozen women ... who have stepped forward to claim that President Clinton sexually assaulted them. Some of the women received settlements of hundreds of thousands of dollars, some of them claim to have had their pets killed, their jobs terminated, their businesses audited by the IRS, their tires slashed, or to have received odd phone calls or queries from strange bypassing joggers about the health of their children.

That’s just the first 100 pages of the book.... That only brings us up through Bill Clinton being elected president, and doesn’t even get us to Monica Lewinsky.... Nor to tales of drug sales, money laundering, and other chicanery.

But it does raise a question: what kind of sociopath would actually have a child by a serial rapist? Or even by someone who seems to be routinely accused of sexual assaults?

According to Stone, not Hillary Clinton. Chelsea Clinton is not Bill Clinton’s child, and has had extensive plastic surgery, both to make herself more attractive ... and to make herself less the spitting image of her real dad, Web Hubbell.
Oh, Donald, go there. Please go there. I can really imagine a debate moment in which Hillary Clinton makes a reference to Chelsea as "my daughter" and Trump interrupts with "If she is your daughter."

Maybe all this will work for Trump. This year, who knows? As I say, I don't want to become overconfident. But fortunately, there are so many pitfalls for him.


BUT I MEANT TO ADD: I don't agree with the conventional wisdom that this is a bad idea for Trump because it brings up his infidelities. I think the public is going to continue to be non-judgmental about Trump's sex life, as long as we're talking just about multiple marriages and relationships. If any of the rape allegations out there begin to be taken seriously, that's a different story. But that doesn't seem to be happening, so I don't think Trump's sex life is going to be alienating voters.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be a mistake if it were part of the plan. That rumble you hear forty days out: a landslide.

Caveat Emptor
Ten Bears

Victor said...

t-RUMP talking about another man's infidelities?

People in glass houses shouldn't pull the pin on a hand-grenade!

Nefer said...

Seriously? They think that attacking Hillary for being mean or not supportive of the women sleeping with her husband is a winning approach?

Because women always have nothing but warm and fuzzy and supportive feelings about women with whom their husbands are having affairs? Oh wait, no they don't. Hillary will be seen as being just as hurt and devastated as any woman would be, but then working it out with her husband.

Geez, Trump, you narcissistic moron, go for it. You can explain why you brought your mistress, you know, the woman you were having an affair with while married to a different woman, to the debate. Oh sure, now you're married to her...

sdhays said...

Sincere question: why do you think the rape allegations against Trump aren't being taken seriously?

Victor said...

My guess is that t-RUMP's considere a rich Alpha male, and the sort of people who like him, expect rich guys like that to act the way he has.

"Small hands," and all...

Steve M. said...

Well, Marla recanted her rape allegations, and there are questions about the reliability of one of the people involved in the rape lawsuits in the case of the 13-year-old girl (see this Guardian story), which could explain why there's not much media coverage. And, frankly, people fall back on the idea that "a guy like that can get so many women, why would he have to rape anybody?" I think a large number of women coming out with similar stories, as in the case of Cosby, or high-profile accusers, as in the case of Ailes, could change the climate. But that doesn't seem to be happening.

Glennis said...

Marla didn't allege rape, Ivana did. But I'm nitpicking.

Also, using women to attack Hillary is a double-edged sword; it highlights Trump's misogyny to use other women based solely on their sexual history.

Steve M. said...

Right, my mistake.

Ken said...

My wife and I discussed this over dinner last night. Basically; 1) Trump is in no position to criticize others on marital infidelities, 2) Hillary was "the woman", not "the other woman" and 3) Bill isn't running for President.

Related, to point #1; Trump is barely in a position to body-shame anyone. Between that and his claim to have the better temperament, I have never seen an adult less self-aware.

Feud Turgidson said...

Not wanting to repeat any of the consensus here I generally support, I would like it borne in mind that the it's not like the candidate, her husband former president, and all their senior campaign people, wouldn't have seen this coming a long way off, regardless whoever turned out to be the Republican party's nominee. I'm led to understand they all SO expected this, they commissioned an absolute shit ton of polling on and all around this cheated-on-wife issue, polling that for safety purposes (because of what it was telling them) went on for OVER 2 FREAKING YEARS, including much of it 'primed' for for and against the HRC position. And I'm led to understand also that the guiding light and analyst beyond this was David Plouffe, who, now that the pin's been pulled on this, is popping up everywhere thru the MSM offering out free PRECISE state by state outcome predictions.

I'm also not going to tell all y'all that one of the inspirations for this strategy of turning an opposition's misconceived and misperceived weakness into a powerful GOTV lever was Karl Rove's Swiftboating of Kerry - the long-held idea of going after an opponent's strength (It's Rove's now, but it was Lee Atwater's before him, and something the whole Atwater Black Manafort Stone group had as part of their 'brand's' standard advice. I mean, everyone here pro'ly already knows this.

KenRight said...

Bogus rape accusations are also keeping the well informed Assange unjustly incarcerated and he blames Clinton in part.
Just saying.
It's too bad Sanders turned political cuckold or he could have given much
more voting power to a woman who is actually credentialed for the job and with unlike Clinton an unblemished personal history all true feminists should admire-and one who would give neither woman suppressing Saudi Arabia nor Arab women oppressing Israel any slack. That is, Jill Stein.

Glennis said...

KenWrong - Hilarious.

Please provide Jill Stein's "credentials."