|Stormy chats with Anderson Cooper. All images on this post are screen shots from CBS News web site. I was flying back from England Sunday and missed the interview on TV, so I caught it online. Yay for the internet. I think.|
How do you feel about 60 Minutes and the Anderson Cooper interview with Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels?
I am unclear in my own mind how I feel. On the one hand, Ms. Clifford seems to have candor and credibility. The president’s lawyer, in what may be an illegal hush payment just prior to an election, didn’t pay her because she didn’t have sex with President Trump.
He paid her because she did.
On the other hand, the sordid fact that Donald Trump is a pathetic man who would have casual sex with a porn star shortly after his third wife gave birth to his fifth child seems simultaneously extremely icky—and possibly not all that relevant to public discourse.
Liberals can’t have it both ways. If what President Clinton did with an intern while in the White House wasn’t an issue, then neither is the Donald being a pig at a golf tournament. We already know Mr. Trump is a misogynist hypocrite. That it doesn’t matter to his base may be weird—what are all those Evangelical Christians thinking—but it is worth raising the relevance question: Do we expect Presidents, or public men in general, to be saints?
As for me, I always disliked President Clinton’s behavior. His sexual pursuit of a young intern in the 1990s was irresponsible and immature. But it didn’t necessarily disqualify him to be an effective politician.
To me, the worst part of the Clinton affair was the aftermath—the president using legal babble to try to wiggle out of his problems, and his associates attacking the object of his lust. And we know enough now about Bill Clinton to know that his public service record will always include an asterisk caused by his appetites.
So, I’m not a big Bill fan. But I voted for Hillary. I’m not sure why she stuck with Bill, but that’s her business, and I really don’t care all that much.
As for Donald Trump, he is already going down in history as the worst American president. Not the worst in recent history, not the worst since World War II. He’s a man of extremes.
Worst. President. Ever.
That’s partly because he changes his mind on fundamental issues of policy at a dizzying pace. He’s cancelling DACA. He’s blaming Democrats for the collapse of DACA. He’s not beholden to the NRA, but he’ll do exactly what the NRA wants. He’s for compromise legislation that he threatens to veto. He waffles like that not because he’s having second thoughts—as Stephen Colbert pointed out, he never bothers with first thoughts. He’s living proof that a show business career—while it requires some ability to banter, some on-camera force of personality—doesn’t need any depth behind it.
And now his presidency, which has always been on the edge of collapse, is teetering yet again because of a porn star who appeared on 60 Minutes. And Ms. Clifford has the advantage partly because she’s not at all unrealistic about who and what she is. She is not ashamed to be in the adult entertainment industry.
Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is his own worst enemy because he insists on constantly presenting himself as things that he is not. He’s not at heart a Republican (he’s not at heart a political animal at all), he’s not a hero, he would not rush in to a school to save students during a shooting (as his exemplary record of dodging the draft in Vietnam seems to prove). He did not have an impressive Electoral College victory--he barely got elected and lost the popular vote. He did not have an impressive crowd at his inauguration, and can't get over those facts--in fact, can't seem to grapple or bother much with facts at all. If still waters run deep, Trump is proof that the loudest babbling brooks are usually shallow.
He does have some abilities. He can command an audience of like-unminded people. He can pander to the camera.
But he’s outclassed by an intelligent exotic dancer/adult entertainer.
It’s delicious, but also unsettling. Donald Trump deserves to be removed from office for gross incompetence and for financial frauds and crimes. He’s working hard on the mid-term elections primarily because a Democratic majority may mean impeachment.
I just hope it’s not impeachment for cheating on his wife. Do I care when political men treat women as objects of lust and pleasure to the exclusion of their identities as intelligent coequal humans? Yes … but.
More than the Stormy affair, it’s the Don’s behavior during the election—the hush money—that can cause Mr. Trump problems. Whether there was collusion with the Russians isn’t the only unseemly secret that could yet trip up Teflon Don.
Trump loves to play at the edge of rules, and he’s not exactly a legal eagle. He often suggests actions that are outrageous or illegal, without any sense of where the lines are. I won’t feel any sympathy for him if, as seems likely, he loses his presidency because he didn’t care about the law. And yes, the Clintons often lived in the same shady universe of ill behavior—but both Hillary and Bill have sharper legal minds than Donald Trump. Frankly, most cats have sharper legal minds. The Clintons play hardball in ways that often make them unattractive. But, Trump plays ball without knowing what the rules are—he just wants to win, and doesn’t care if he brings a baseball bat to a tennis court.
|Stormy chats with her lawyer. He's a better lawyer than Donald Trump has, because The Donald has no ability to gauge the abilities of other humans. Spank him again, much harder this time, Stormy.|
And, isn’t there, or shouldn’t there be, some latitude for private lives to play out in private—even for a president? Ms. Clifford pointed out to 60 Minutes that she was not a sexual assault victim—the raunchy sex which reflected neither physical attraction nor human affection was consensual and was years ago.
Which means maybe it was nobody’s business.
Anderson Cooper, you’re a pretty potent journalist. You topped the ratings charts. Trump probably cares a lot about that because ratings are always his main scale for deal with reality.
As for me, I’m not so sure how I feel about the whole turn of events, other than I wish I wasn’t posing the question to myself in the first place. 60 Minutes is a venerable news show. One of the worst aspects of the Clinton scandal was it caused serious news outlets to carry detailed reports about semen spots on clothing. We’re there again. If I ran the shop at 60 Minutes, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that fact.
But then again, we’re in the gutter mostly because of you, Donald Trump. Your total lack of self awareness and sense of shame has put us there. Thanks a lot. Rex what right about your intelligence.
MAGA. Make American Groan Again.