Sunday, October 30, 2016

Enter Anthony Weiner, with a seltzer bottle

     Nine days to the election. One week from Tuesday. Two hundred hours and change. 
     You'd think we'd be home free.
     Yet we're not. The thing keeps getting weirder. 
     As with any good horror movie, just when the monster has been blown up and shot and stabbed and the building has collapsed atop him, just when the heroes are finally exhaling and ruffling each other's hair and clapping one another on the shoulder and making their movie's-over jokes, suddenly the yammering yam comes bursting out of the rubble, inexplicably alive.
     So Donald Trump, whose campaign chances were dead and shriven and buried, comes rearing out of the grave, a la "Carrie," with news that the FBI director James Comey sent an inexplicable letter to Congress saying, in essence, we've got some emails that may involve Hillary Clinton on Anthony Weiner's computer. 
   The thing was almost instantly debunked, but it doesn't matter. I hesitate to declare that facts have mattered less in this election than any in our history — there have been some doozies— so I will just say, "Why should the truth start mattering now?" Just the word "emails," like the word "Benghazi," is enough to erode Clinton's narrow lead. 
    Anthony Weiner. The former Congressman whose career was destroyed, not once but twice, by naughty cell phone photos he felt compelled to send to strangers. First as Congressman, then as mayoral candidate. He happened to be married -- in one of those coincidences that would look trite in fiction -- to one of Clinton's top aides, Huma Abedin. 
     That the emails don't seem to reveal anything or even necessarily involve Clinton is just the icing on the cake of horror. Of course. When one of the major candidates lives in a fact-free echo chamber  —"This changes everything!" Trump exulted—it makes sense that this non-story would rock the campaign. 
    Actually, it doesn't change anything. Clinton has been thoroughly demonized for offenses, —the tragedy in Libya to her high-paid speeches to the endless server scandal — that wink out into insignificance when held up against the bone-deep bigotry, ignorance and anti-Americanism of Donald Trump and everything he unambiguously and proudly represents. 
    I was tempted to conclude that, in generations to come, saner heads will recall the 2016 election with wonder, as the nadir, the hard bottom we bounced up from. Pretty to think so. Because that doesn't sound right. My gut tells me that this is just the opening bell of our dystopian future, with charismatic non-politicians whipping up grass roots mobs, tweet wars and battling TV comedians giving us our news. As terrible as the election of 2016 is, it is only the beginning. Hillary might win — I hold out hope she will win, unless of course she loses. But somewhere, a better, more palatable version of Donald Trump — Donald 2.0 — is being assembled. Some Marco Rubio-calibre fraud is staring hard at himself in the mirror, liking what he sees, and cooing, "Next year, it's your turn baby!" The rough beast awakes and, in anticipation of its hour come round at last, slouches toward Washington to be born.  


  1. I'm afraid you are right about what the future holds, politically speaking.

  2. Instead of trying to solve a crime the FBI is trying to establish whether or not a crime was committed. Instead of 'This happened and we're trying to figure out who is responsible." we have "We're not sure if anything happened but Clinton must be responsible for something bad..."

  3. The allusion to "The Second Coming" is apt. When I first read that wonderful poem, I assumed it was a 1930's era prophesy of the coming conflagration, but Yeats was even more far-seeing. He wrote it in 1919, in the aftermath of the Great War.

    Tom Evans

  4. God, how I wish 2016 were fiction! A trite, uninspired and uninspiring novel, s B movie starring over -the-hill actors mouthing wooden dialogue with Mack the Knife incessantly playing in the background, a poem without rhyme or reason. Would that it weren't all too real.


  5. Slow clap for those last lines. Nicely done.

  6. At this beginning of this political season I stated that I'm more afraid of the monsters that hide then the obvious Donald Trump...

  7. Marco Rubio caliber would be about the size of a BB pellet. I still can't believe that among their many, varied delusions, Republicans (some of them, anyway) actually thought that this callow, lazy, backstabbing little twerp would be "the Republican Obama."

    Bitter Scribe

  8. Well done, Neil. "Backstabbing little twerp" is the savior of the GOP once orange monster is really done for? The grand old Party is doomed.

  9. When I first read this today I thought this article would be apropos. Little off tangent but I am linking to it because I thought it was interesting. For those of you who don't know who she is, she covered the Eichman trial and is famous for the phrase the banality of evil

  10. so a few weeks ago you seemed to think trump was likely to win the election somehow. i guess it was just a feeling . not feeling like going back and rereading the post. this post indicates you were pretty sure mr trumps locker room talk had sunk his campaign. now a group of emails the content of which has not been divulged though you think they "don't seem to reveal anything" and that they've been "immediately debunked" has somehow resurrected his campaign?
    neil i had come to expect more of you. everybody's stupid, we vote because of reasons that have nothing to do with policy. I'm surprised this post didn't rehash the whoevers halloween mask sells better wins the election trope. christ people vote for one candidate for a variety of reasons some important some banal. those of you in the media don't seem to have a clue about it and just swing like an unlatched gate

    1. You're expecting consistency? Why? The candidates are one point apart in the latest Washington Post poll. Two weeks is a long time. Last month he was looking strong. Then he seemed like toast, now, again, not so much. Stuff changes.

    2. i would hope that a particular poll or event would not overshadow the known information that we've had for some time: trump won the gop nomination, clinton the dem. many voters have made up their minds who they're going to vote for . for whatever reason many haven't and are considering other options including sitting it out. there is as you point out a lot of misrepresentation of facts . so much so its hard to tell whats really true. you post today contains misrepresentations of facts. citizens will go to the polls in a few days and decide this election. whoever receives enough votes in the electoral college wins even if they don't get the most votes overall. then we should support the winner. it won't work that way cause politics in america is a circus. your informed and sensible. why do you have to jump in the tent with the rest of the clowns?

  11. I'm trying to think of whom would equate to FBI Director Comey, in history. Say Trump prevails, winning the presidency, as a result of this new, damning information concerning Clinton's emails, whether incriminating or not. Will the resulting disaster brand Comey as a Benedict Arnold?


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