Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Ladies Room

Remember when Trump recounted how Clinton was seconds late to the Democratic debate stage? Trump asked the crowd four times, at a subsequent rally, where had Clinton gone.

“I know where she went — it’s disgusting, I don’t want to talk about it,” Trump said, screwing up his face, as the crowd laughed and cheered. “No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting.”

“Don’t say it.”

Say what?

What is Trump talking about that is so disgusting? Clinton going to The Ladies Room? Is that what set his thousands of supporters laughing and cheering, happily on the same page as their candidate for the Presidency of the United States. Of course not. That wouldn’t make any sense. So what is disgusting?

What Trump’s talking about is the female sexual interior, mysterious, threatening,  the “central, hairy diadem” that intrudes on folks’ thoughts every two minutes.  King Lear knew that place of terror. Here’s his rant:

“Down from the waist they are centaurs, though women all above. But to the girdle do the gods inherit, beneath is all the fiends’. There’s hell, there’s darkness, there is the sulphurous pit: burning, scalding, stench,. contagion. Fie, fie, fie!”

Okay, Lear is over the top. Is the concept of “legitimate rape” over the top? Is the closing of hundreds of clinics, denying life-saving care to women, over the top? What about making abortion all but impossible, condemning thousands of women to misery and some to death from botched, home-devised abortions? What about the millions of female genital mutilations still carried out in this year of our Lord, 2016?  Aren’t these dreadful assaults on women understandable if in fact one thinks of women as fiends?. Throughout history, the race has been terrified of Woman, and who is scarier than Clinton, the most powerfull woman in the world. When she goes to The Ladies Room, “There’s hell, there’s darkness, there is the sulphurous pit.” It’s Trump’s most remarkable real estate transaction.

Do you think Steven Bannon, Trump’s latest far-right campaign manager, knows these dark places in the soul? Of course. And he and his boss will package them in wholly unexpected ways for the debates. Together they will lay traps for Hillary as mind-boggling as the paragraphs I just wrote above. Trump, genius that he is, SEES the female genitalia as grist for the mill. I ask you, who else would!

“Incontinence” is a thundering salvo in this madness. I asked, in my last blog, what would you advise Hillary? The campaign has 75 days to run. Crooked Hillary, her e-mails, Benghazi, even the Clinton Foundation have about run their course.  Judging from the polls, they haven’t worked for The Donald. His last chance – the debates.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Hillary’s campaign manager the other day. He came across more as a callow youth than someone familiar with fiends. Are The Donald and Steven licking their chops? I would assume so. The attack is on, an artillery barrage to weaken the enemy, even as we speak. First, Hilllary’s vulnerabilities as a woman, the weaker sex. She is physically limited, maybe some vague neurological problem, needs sleep. But the Big Item is Sex, and I would expect it in the debates. After Lear’s riff on the nether regions, Gloucester asked to kiss his King’s hand. “Let me wipe it first,” says Lear. “It smells of mortality.”


A German saying states you can only see what you know.

“Donald, we see you! We know what you’re up to.”

Of course, the question is, does Hillary? Trump piled up sixteen bodies on numerous debate stages by attacking his enemies brilliantly. If he can discombobulate Hillary, neither she nor the voters will know what hit them. But he will energize legions of white males. For them, how sweet it is, a champion in The Battle of the Sexes. Trump has his hand on a nuclear weapon, of sorts – female genitalia.

However bizarre, the question has to be answered – what was disgusting about Hillary using The Ladies Room? Trump said it four times to thunderous cheers. Obviously it hit a nerve with the voters at the rally.

Disgusting? Trump insisted it was unmentionable!

Or was saving it for the debates.



Stand-up Comic

Trevor Noah observes that Trump, first and foremost, is a stand-up comic.  I find this extraordinarily astute. Don’t take Trevor’s word for it. You can make the diagnosis yourself. A comic operates in the public domain.  An audience provides the oxygen. Without it, a comic evaporates into the ether. There’s nothing hidden. We don’t need Freud. Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear can make a judgment. I believe Trump’s immense skills as a comic make him truly dangerous.

If only Trump were only a “pathologic liar,” as Lawrence O’Donnell claims. Or only “crazy,” as a chorus of detractors insist. Or only a ruthless real-estate developer, socking it to the Little Guy, as the New York Times plastered on its front page. He’s all these. Unfortunately, that’s not the Trump who is a Damoclean sword hanging over our democracy.

Trump is a magnificent actor, as is every great stand-up comic. And folks love a great actor. They respond. They believe. In the political world, they may suspend disbelief for an entire election cycle, if the performance goes on until election day. Here’s a recent example. Trump was expressing “regret” for some unspecified comments he had made. He delivered the lines with a hint of contrition, in  perfect cadence, bringing a hush over the assembled thousands. The next day his mea culpa was headlined in the papers and on TV. A murmur went through the land – Trump is pivoting. He can embrace the powers of the Presidency. In fact, this is madness. An extraordinary piece of acting can do that – in politics! This isn’t Marlon Brando playing Stanley Kowalski. That’s great fun. This is The Thing Itself. Terrifying. And here’s why:

Remember Claudius, Hamlet’s stepfather, praying for forgiveness? It didn’t work. What was the problem?

“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below,
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

That’s true of every theatre script!  But a great actor takes the words without thoughts – Shakespeare’s manuscript in this case – and sends them not to heaven but to every theatre-goer’s belly.  And for the space of that play, we believe. That’s the skill of the great actor.

Consider now what is transpiring on the Trump campaign. It is mind-boggling. After the appalling revelations of Trump’s character for all the world to see, such as his disparagement of the Khan family, in no time flat folks believed Trump is pivoting, that he will assume presidential gravitas any day, that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have reason to continue their support. And Trump is laughing at Reince Preibus, reducing the RNC to a band of sycophants hanging on his every performance. When he says he will run the campaign his way, he trusts his acting skills. They are magnificent. How else did he dispatch the 16 pygmies and leave them piled up in a bloody heap?

By his skills as a stand-up comic!  But that’s only the half of it.

Every great comic writes his own script. That is exactly what Trump has done. His script is utterly counter-intuitive, from belittling a war hero to deporting eleven million illegals. The terrifying fact is that Trump is a genius. Do I exaggerate?

If talent hits what no one else hits, genius hits what no one else SEES!

Trump isn’t Shakespeare, but no one, literally NO ONE, a year ago, predicted his rise to power. In fact, everyone agrees: in 240 years, there has never been a candidate for the Presidency like Trump. He is an original!

You’ve heard Trump’s most recent piece of genius?


Does anyone know how to prepare Hillary for debates with a stand-up comic genius? With 16 bodies heaped up on stage? And Depends in the wings?






The Dog Days of Summer

President Obama is vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard. Congress, of course, is long scattered over the 50 States. Trump…never mind! And I remembered that when Lincoln returned to the White House from Soldiers Home, his Camp David  – eight miles from Washington! – standing by the roadside would be Walt Whitman, waving.

So I looked up Walt. And I found this gem. I’ll cite only a few lines. After all, it’s the dog days of summer.
To think of time – of all that retrospection,
To think of today, and the ages continued henceforward.

Have you guessed you yourself would not continue?
Have you feared the future would be nothing to you?

Is today nothing? is the beginningless past nothing?
If the future is nothing they are just as surely nothing.

To think that the sun rose in the east – that men and women were flexible, real, alive – that everything was alive,
To think that you and I did not see, feel. think, nor bear our part.
To think that we are now here and bear our part.
Good ol’ Walt. Perfect for summer light reading.


The Burden on Hillary

Ezra Klein, in exhaustive detail, showed us who Trump really is. He concluded, “He is a person who should not be president.” However, he adds a new dimension to the problem: “That he is being brought this close to the presidency — that he is one major mistake by Hillary Clinton away from winning it — should scare us all. It certainly scares me.”

“One major mistake by Hillary.” That realization is truly scary.

I have always admired Hillary. She is a  profile in courage. For over twenty years, she has endured the slings and arrows. The most important window on her inner self was the decision to work for children when graduating from law school. First priority. Did any of us bring such a comitment?

And now she holds our future in her hands. Sure, the DNC and Tim Kaine and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden and President Obama work alongside her. But in the voting booth, it will come down to Hillary.

She is who she is. No pivoting or such nonsense. Michael Moore told Bill Maher that Trump will win. An unthinkable thought. Nate Silver says the race is neck and neck. The Republican convention was a witch hunt, out to destroy Hillary. So Hillary has to overcome the naysayers, the terrifying poll numbers, the viciousness flooding our great land directed at her.

When she won the Senate seat in New York, she came in ranked at the bottom of the pecking order. She was a freshman, after all. To her colleagues’ surprise, she was humble, deferential, even got the coffee. What this shows, in my judgment, is that she is profoundly sane. She recognizes boundaries. When she talks of building bridges and not walls between people, she is authentic. Trust can only come about on a foundation of authenticity. I trust Hillary, but she has to make that article of faith a living reality to the American people. That’s a huge assignment.

When I realize that she stands between Trump and the presidency, I am staggered by the responsibility. She is fully aware of the stakes. Sure, I hope that Trump will finally self-destruct, yet he survived this week, even though he put the world on edge with his cavalier attitude towards NATO and Russia. His acceptance speech was that of every tin-pot dictator, screaming, long-winded, describing a dark and dangerous country that he alone can rescue.

And now his obscene denigration of the Kahn family!

The Republicans have made a travesty of governing. They have put party before country. Mitch McConnell said so with his agenda to make Obama a  one-term president. And, lord knows, he tried. So politics is discredited, and the voters are angry and determined to show that two can play a devil’s game as well as one.

Our country has to pull back from the brink.  If Hillary wins the election, Trump becomes a harmless foot-note in history.

November eighth –

Once to every man and nation,
Comes the moment to decide.