The election: Should Trump revive Bill Clinton’s sex scandals?
Ready for a sleazy “trip back to the ’90s?” said Kevin Drum in MotherJones.com. After Donald Trump’s disastrous first debate against Hillary Clinton, the Republican nominee bragged that he’d shown great restraint in not raising “extremely rough” questions about former President Bill Clinton’s sex life. Now that he’s trailing in the polls with the election only weeks away, Trump has evidently changed his mind—and is signaling he’ll go there in the next debate. All week, Trump’s media surrogates have hammered Hillary for supposedly “enabling” her husband’s past indiscretions and helping him “smear” his accusers. In one bizarre and rambling speech this week, Trump even suggested that Hillary was not “loyal to Bill,” adding, “Why would she be?” This new focus on the Clintons’ marriage is “an odd strategic move” for Trump, said Michelle Goldberg in Slate.com, given his own history of proud adultery, womanizing, and sexual harassment. In addition, Hillary has never been more popular than she was at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when she had a 67 percent approval rating from a sympathetic public that rightly viewed her as a victim. “It’s hard to imagine justice quite so poetic” than for a raging misogynist like Trump to lose an election while trying to blame a woman for being cheated on.
This is about Hillary’s behavior, not Bill’s, said Mercedes Schlapp in WashingtonTimes.com. She has been accused of calling her husband’s mistresses “bimbos,” and either helped or stood by as her husband’s aides belittled and smeared Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaddrick, et al. The Clintons got away with that in the ’90s, said Dylan Matthews in Vox.com, but sexual harassment is taken far more seriously today. Millennial women who were too young to remember the impeachment saga may recoil at the thought of a “president sleeping with a White House intern,” and of a first lady whose first instinct was to tell friends that the accuser was a “narcissistic loony-tune.”
Forget Lewinsky, said Daniel Flynn in Spectator.org. Sordid though it was, her affair with the president was at least consensual. More disturbing are the allegations by multiple women that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted them. There is a “Bill Cosby quality” to the stories that makes Hillary’s possible involvement far more troubling, if she knowingly helped cover up her husband’s crimes. Yes, but decades have passed since all these allegations were made, said Ramesh Ponnuru in BloombergView.com.At the time, Trump himself dismissed the Lewinsky affair as “totally unimportant,” and suggested Clinton should have chosen hotter mistresses. If Trump thinks he can hurt Hillary by talking about marital infidelity, he will “only get hit with a boomerang.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that those pointing fingers at the Clintons turned out to be hypocrites, said Laura Kipnis in Vox.com. During the impeachment hearings, two Republican House speakers were forced to step down after they were exposed as adulterers; they were replaced by Dennis Hastert, later revealed to be “a serial child molester.” How fitting that we should be hearing the same fake outrage today from Donald Trump, a thrice-married admitted adulterer, and his chief surrogate, Rudolph Giuliani, who shocked his second wife by announcing at a press conference he was dumping her for another woman. To have these sexist dinosaurs question Hillary’s feminist credentials is a joke. She’s spent decades fighting for reproductive choice, workplace equality, and women’s rights worldwide. “You say she should have been nicer to the women boffing her husband? I say, get some perspective.”
Only in America
■ A Utah couple was billed by a hospital for the privilege of holding their newborn baby. Ryan and Lidia Grassley were asked by nurses if they wanted “skin-to-skin contact” after delivery. They were shocked to later see a charge of $39.35 to cover the “additional staff” needed to put the baby securely in the mother’s arms. “It seemed ridiculous,” Ryan said.
■ A Pennsylvania mayor refused to resign after posting a series of racist rants on his Facebook page. West York Mayor Charles Wasko pictured President Obama alongside a noose, depicted his family as orangutans, and likened Muslims to dogs. Wasko said critics are making a fuss to hide corruption. “The racist stuff, I admit, I did that,” Wasko said. “But it’s just a smokescreen to cover up what’s really going on.”
Good week for:
Bartering, after a restaurant in Australia offered free hamburgers for life to any customer willing to get a life-size tattoo of one of their signature burgers permanently inked to their skin. “To date, we’ve had over 3,000 applicants,” said Café 51’s Steve Agi.
Bill Gates, who was No. 1 in Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of the country’s 400 richest citizens for the 23rd consecutive year. The Microsoft founder has a net worth of $81 billion. Donald Trump dropped 35 spots to 156, behind 14 immigrants.
Dirty tricks, after Iran’s news agency reported that a mystery assassin in Iraq slipped poison into ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s hummus, leaving him and three aides desperately ill.
Bad week for:
Southern Californians, who were put on edge for days when a swarm of small tremors prompted scientists to warn of an elevated risk of a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault. The alert was called off when the tremors stopped.
Creepy clown sightings, after internet-fueled reports of people in clown costumes menacing children and women swept through at least six states, and caused near riots at Penn State University and several other colleges. Police said their investigations have found that the rumored clown sightings are bogus.
October surprises, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called a press conference to announce bombshell revelations that would “devastate” Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and then said he wasn’t ready to reveal anything yet and asked for donations. One disappointed Trump backer said he’d been “wikirolled.”
Surge in traffic fatalities
Traffic deaths in the U.S. spiked 10.4 percent in the first half of the year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week, raising fresh concerns that drivers are being distracted by their smartphones and other in-car gadgets. The sharp increase follows a surprising 7.2 percent uptick in fatalities in 2015—a rise officials attributed partly to lower gas prices and to the improving economy, both of which have allowed people to do more driving. But the latest rise far outpaces the 3.3 percent increase in miles traveled on American roads from January to June. The surge in deaths has increased pressure on carmakers to develop autonomous features, like automated braking. “We have an immediate crisis on our hands,” said NHTSA head Mark Rosekind.