What others say: Clinton comments reflect tone-deaf campaign

  • Wednesday, September 14, 2016 4:04pm
  • Opinion

In one of Saturday Night Live’s more memorable political skits, Jon Lovitz playing Michael Dukakis in 1988 exclaims after another silly statement by Dana Carvey as George H.W. Bush that “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy!” More than a few Democrats are beginning to wonder if Hillary Clinton could soon be saying that about Donald Trump, of all people.

That’s the essence of a Friday story in the Washington Post headlined “Democrats wonder and worry: Why isn’t Clinton far ahead of Trump?” The reporters quote former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as saying that given “all the things that Trump has done, the numbers should be far more explicitly in her favor, but they’re not.”

The tone is Lovitz-like disbelief, which helps to explain why the polls are tightening. Democrats have convinced themselves that Mr. Trump is such a threat to the republic that they can’t recognize that Mrs. Clinton is equally as unacceptable to most of the country. In a year when most Americans want change in Washington, Democrats don’t want to admit that they’ve nominated the epitome of the self-dealing status quo that disdains their fellow Americans.

Consider the reaction over the weekend to Mrs. Clinton’s comments Friday night that “just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”

The remarks echo Mitt Romney’s comment in 2012 about the 47 percent on the government dole. The media played up the Romney comments as emblematic of an out-of-touch rich guy, and they probably contributed to his defeat. Mrs. Clinton’s comments were arguably worse, attributing hateful motives to tens of millions of Americans, but the media reaction has treated it like a mere foot fault.

Mrs. Clinton apologized, sort of, on Saturday by saying in a statement that, “Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong.” But she went on to say she was otherwise right because some of Mr. Trump’s supporters are the likes of David Duke.

Yet the rest of what she said was almost as insulting. She said Mr. Trump’s other supporters are “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

So she thinks half of Mr. Trump’s voters are loathsome bigots and the other half are losers and dupes who deserve Democratic pity. It’s no accident that Mrs. Clinton said this at a fundraiser headlined by Barbra Streisand, the friendliest of crowds, because this really is what today’s elite progressives believe about America’s great unwashed.

Mr. Trump has certainly made appalling comments, but Republicans and media conservatives have criticized him for it. They denounced his praise of Vladimir Putin. They assailed his attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel and his insensitivity to the Khan family. Some have said they can’t support the GOP nominee.

But where are the Democrats raising doubts about Mrs. Clinton’s behavior? Mrs. Clinton reneged on her confirmation promise to the Senate not to mix her State Department duties with the Clinton Foundation by doing favors for donors. She maintained a private email server to hide her official emails and lied about it to the public. Yet no prominent Democrat we know has denounced this deception, and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there’s “too much ado” about it.

The great liberal media watchdogs aren’t challenging Mrs. Clinton either. They’re beating up NBC’s Matt Lauer because he spent too much time asking Mrs. Clinton about the emails during last week’s military forum. This is best understood as a collective warning to the moderators of the coming debates not to jeopardize their standing in polite progressive company by doing the same.

— The Wall Street Journal,

Sept. 11

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