Friday, June 3, 2016

Politics: “Zombie Time at Campaign Hillary”

“Zombie Time at Campaign Hillary”
by Camille Paglia

“It’s zombie time at campaign Hillary. Behold the dead men walking! It was with strangely slow, narcotized numbness that the candidate and her phalanx of minions and mouthpieces responded to last week’s punishing report by the State Department’s Inspector General about her email security lapses. Do they truly believe, in the rosy alternate universe of Hillaryland, that they can lie their way out of this? Of course, they’re relying as usual on the increasingly restive mainstream media to do their dirty work for them. If it were a Republican in the crosshairs, Hillary’s shocking refusal to meet with the Inspector General (who interviewed all four of the other living Secretaries of State of the past two decades) would have been the lead item flagged in screaming headlines from coast to coast. Let’s face it—the genuinely innocent do not do pretzel twists like this to cover their asses.

Meanwhile, former Bill Clinton advisor and pollster Douglas Schoen gave the strongest signal yet in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week (“Clinton may not be the nominee”) that worried backstage huddles in the Democratic party establishment are reaching fever pitch. The article’s floating of the idea of a Joe Biden-Elizabeth Warren substitute ticket (which I’ve been privately predicting to friends all year) is so evenly and magisterially phrased that I wondered if the text had been vetted by an approving White House. So this may be why Bernie Sanders (my candidate) has gone into overdrive—not to damage Hillary, as her acolytes spitefully claim, but to fight off the tactical insertion of Biden at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. Sanders could rightly claim, on the basis of his long and strenuous primary campaign, that if anyone deserves the nomination vacated by a tarnished Hillary, it is he. If Sanders does defer to Biden, it will only be via enormous concessions, beginning with the unceremonious removal of devious DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Over on the GOP side, Donald Trump continues to gain strength, despite the nonstop artillery barrage of Democratic operatives and their clone army in the mainstream media. Trump just rolls on and on, despite every foot-in-mouth gaffe that would stop a normal campaign cold. He’s terrific on the radio, I must say. Even though I do like Elizabeth Warren (I even believe she has Native American ancestry, although certainly not enough to qualify her for affirmative action), I burst out laughing in my car last week when I heard Trump confidingly say (like a yenta at Zabar’s deli), “She’s a woman that has been very ineffective—except that she has a big mouth.” His New York comic timing was spot on. I laughed out loud again this week when I heard Trump interrupt his press conference to tag an ABC reporter as “a sleaze”—at which I am sure thousands of other radio listeners heartily cheered. It’s been a long time since any major politician had the chutzpah to tell the arrogant, double-dealing East Coast media what most of the country thinks about them.

There’s an absurdist, almost Dadaist quality to Trump’s candidacy, like Groucho Marx satirizing high society swells in A Night at the Opera or the radical Yippies trying to levitate the Pentagon at their 1967 antiwar protest. Trump routinely deploys all the subversive transgressiveness that campus Leftists claim to value. He goes straight as an arrow to the forbidden and repressed—as when he recently fearlessly raised the long hushed up case of the 1993 suicide of Vince Foster, the deputy White House counsel whom the Clintons had brought to Washington from Little Rock. Unfortunately, Trump mixed it up with baseless murder-conspiracy rumors, because there are already enough unanswered questions about the incident (such as possible illegal interference by Hillary’s staff in the official investigation and even the ambiguous issue of exactly where Foster died).

Trump’s boisterous, uncensored id makes a riveting contrast to Hillary’s plodding, joyless superego. Listening to her leaden attempts to tell rehearsed jokes is collective torture. Hillary is not now, nor has she ever been, a member of the Comedy Party. But we’re talking about the presidency here, not an improv club. While I would love to see a Trump-style chief executive say “You’re fired!” to half the parasitic Washington bureaucracy, I have high anxiety about Trump’s shoot-em-up attitude toward international affairs. Exactly how long would it be after a Trump inauguration before the nuke-horned bull would be crashing around the Red China shop?

Last weekend, while plowing through my old files for an upcoming book project for Pantheon, I found a written interview I gave in October 2003 to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which had asked me about allegations of misogyny against the newly elected governor of California. Here is an excerpt from my statement:

“I am still amazed at the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger to governor—a man who has never held political office and who participated in only one serious debate. It is a disturbing sign in any nation when politics have become so inefficient and corrupt that the people turn to an outsider as ‘strong man’ for leadership. This is how fascism is born. Because it is Schwarzenegger’s machismo—represented on a superhuman scale in his films—that California voters want to attack the entrenched special interests in Sacramento, his behavior toward women was irrelevant. Or rather, his behavior actually reinforced his virile image as a forceful personality who pushes through barriers.”

How eerily history seems to be repeating itself! But this time it is the fate of the entire nation that hangs in the balance. Trump is a stormily dynamic change-maker who will surely win this election unless the Democrats get their house in order and nominate a figure of honor and integrity. Bernie Sanders, who represents the wave of the future, is my first choice, but Joe Biden, with his international experience, would be a solid second. If the kamikaze party wants to nominate an ethically challenged incompetent like Hillary Clinton, then I’ll be voting Green for the second time. Go, Jill Stein!”

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