The Boorish and Sexist Vulgarity of Donald Trump

Have you no sense of decency, sir?

W.J. Astore

Donald Trump is a tacky, classless, and vulgar man.  Recall back in April that he sent a tweet, since deleted, saying that “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”  Back in December, he wrote that Hillary “got schlonged” by Obama when they ran against one another back in 2008. (“Schlong” is Yiddish for penis; I recall hearing it as a teenager without ever knowing its Yiddish origins, not that etymology mattered much to teens in a locker room context.)

I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton, and indeed I’ve criticized her at this site for her establishment ties, her warmongering, her acceptance of big money from banks, her incrementalism, her lack of generosity toward the working classes when compared to Bernie Sanders, her lack of judgment when it came to her vote on the Iraq War or the intervention in Libya.  And that’s my point: there are plenty of legitimate issues on which to criticize Hillary.  Just think of her unsecure private email server, for example, which she used while leading the State Department.  Hillary and her husband Bill have often acted as if one set of rules applied to them and another set applied to “everyday people” like you and me; call it the hypocrisy of the privileged, a common enough trait in America.

There are so many substantive and important issues to criticize Hillary and Bill on that it’s truly revealing when Trump stoops to attack Hillary just because she’s a woman, just because “she yells,” just because her husband cheated on her (Trump also claimed she “enabled” Bill’s cheating), and just because she lost a previous primary to a man with a penis.  Recall as well when Trump criticized Hillary by saying that if she “were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card.” 

Politics is the land of the rough and tumble, but Trump’s attacks on his opponent that center on her gender and her husband’s cheating are beyond rough.  They are the actions of a crude, tacky, boorish, and classless person, a person whose behavior is uncivil, behavior that would make even teenage boys in a locker room squirm.

Have you no sense of decency, Mr. Trump?

Hillary Shillary: A Deeply Compromised Presidential Candidate

Hillary Clinton (NY Times)
Hillary Clinton (NY Times)

W.J. Astore

Hillary Clinton will soon be announcing her candidacy for the presidency.  She has learned from 2008, or so reports say, and will be reaching out to voters in “intimate” settings like pseudo-town halls, rather than the mass rallies of her previous candidacy, which were supposed to anoint her as the “inevitable” Democratic candidate in 2008.

Yes, Hillary is searching for the common touch, the touch that came so naturally (in more ways than one) to her husband Bill.  It’s an act, of course, for there’s no candidate more calculating and controlling and imperious than Hillary.  This is not necessarily a bad thing in a leader; nice gals finish last, especially in the man’s world of U.S. presidential politics.  Hillary knows it’s not enough for women to “lean-in”; you have to be willing to get down and dirty to beat the old boys at their own game.

No, the main problem is not Hillary’s imperiousness.  It’s her shilling for major corporate donations, and her willingness to accept major “donations” from foreign governments (via the Clinton Foundation) while claiming that her hands remain untied and unsullied.

An interesting graphic from LittleSis illustrates the point, which explains that: “Of the 425 large corporate donors to the Clinton Foundation, the Wall Street Journal found 60 of those donors lobbied the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure.”

As Peter Van Buren notes, the Clintons have already broken their promises of transparency with respect to donors and their donations.  It’s say one thing and do another: business as usual for the Clintons.

When she was in high school, Hillary was an enthusiastic supporter of Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election, whose campaign slogan, “In your heart, you know he’s right,” was appositely funny.  Yes — far right, people said. Hillary’s slogan for 2016 should be, “In my heart, I know I’m right,” so vote for me, peasants.  Never mind where and how Bill and I got our money, and to whom we owe favors.

Shilling for money is a large part of the American “democratic” process, and Bill and Hillary are masters at it.  This shouldn’t necessarily disqualify Hillary.  But the broken promises, the dubious ethics, the constant evasiveness: well, those qualities are far more worrying.  And deeply compromising.