I am not happy with my candidate today. While I am busily spending hours a day researching her platform, writing, arguing in favour of Hillary Clinton, her candidacy, her principles, and her platform, what is she doing? SHE is out there hanging herself! SHE is out there lowering herself to the levels of her opponent! By now, if you are not one of these naturalists who live somewhere in the wilds of Montana with no connections to the real world … no television, radio, internet or telephone … you have heard the news: Last night at a fund raiser, Hillary Clinton said “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.” Sigh. Fifteen words that may have just changed the course of history. Sigh.
Mind you, I have said as much myself, only I don’t say ‘half’, I say all of them are lemmings. But I am not the one whose every twitch is being recorded and analyzed ad nauseam. I am not, in short, the one running for the office of President of the United States. And, while I may refer to them as lemmings, meaning ‘those who would blindly follow’, I stop short of referring to them as ‘deplorables’, a term that indicates they are low-lives, criminals, or worse. I just think they’re not using their noggins, not that they are bad people.
Her entire statement on this was:
“To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.” Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that and he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.”
She is not wrong in what she said, but in the fact that she said it. It is redolent of the initial campaign speech Trump gave last year, the one I have criticized many times, in which he generalized by referring to Mexican immigrants: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Is this a death knoll for the Clinton campaign? Maybe, though I hope not. The media have, predictably, gone berserk and are having a field day, as is Trumpy himself: “Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. Oh spare me, Mr. Drama. And of course, Puppet Pence also had to get in on the act: “The truth of the matter is that the men and women who support Donald Trump’s campaign are hard-working Americans, farmers, coal miners, teachers, veterans, members of our law enforcement community, members of every class of this country, who know that we can make America great again. Let me just say, from the bottom of my heart, Hillary, they are not a basket of anything. They are Americans and they deserve your respect.”
This morning, Hillary issued a statement of … apology? Explanation? You be the judge. She said, “Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.” She went on to say that “many of Trump’s supporters are hard-working Americans who just don’t feel like the economy or our political system are working for them.” But of course, the word, once spoken, can never be unheard.
Too little, too late? Maybe. Remember Mitt Romney’s fatal faux pas in 2012? “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what,” saying they “believe they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing.” It would prove to be the iceberg that sunk the Titanic for ol’ Mitt.
Trumpy is clapping his very small hands in glee, apparently figuring this is as good an opportunity as any to solicit some funding: “Now is the time to show Hillary the consequences of her words,” Trump’s campaign wrote in an appeal to supporters. “I’m asking you and the millions of hard-working, patriotic Americans whom she just insulted, to fight back with a contribution of $100, $65, $50, $35, $25, $15, or even $5 to elect Donald Trump to the White House.”
Ms. Clinton cannot afford to lower her standards to those of da trumpeter. Though in the more reliable polls she yet leads, that lead has shrunken and the gap is far too narrow for comfort. She must hold herself to a higher standard than that of her opponent. Granted, Trump is the one who took this campaign to the depths of hell, who declared no insult or slur to be off-limits. But Ms. Clinton cannot afford to follow to those depths, as Trump’s rules are only for Trump, and all others are expected to play by the rules of decency. For the past year, Trump has been making filthy remarks about all of us, yet he rarely loses much support for those remarks. Let us hope the voters are equally inclined to give Hillary a pass on this one. And Ms. Clinton? Please, please, learn to control your tongue!