OK, so Donald Trump is going to be doing another townhall-style thing with Chris Matthews tonight, which means two things: 1) you are going to be hearing a lot about “my old boss Tip O’Neil (the over/under on mentions by Matthews is 987), and 2) you’re going to be hearing a lot of nonsense which is mistaken for “telling it like it is.” This isn’t deep prognostication; everything said during the show has already been dissected by the media. The real clambake is when Trump stumbled onto abortion, a topic about which he is as ignorant as anything else.
He basically managed to be both cruel and politically stupid, which are rarely the same thing for the GOP. On the one hand, he basically admitted that women would have to be punished if they sought an abortion when it was banned, which is correct, of course. That’s the hideously logical conclusion to making something illegal, although it’s something the GOP doesn’t like to admit. But more than that- and Charles Pierce thinks this is the big one– in doing so, he reminded us all that when you make safe abortions difficult or impossible to obtain, people will get unsafe ones.
“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said in the town hall. Trump declined to specify how women should be punished if they underwent an illegal abortion. The Republican front-runner conceded that outlawing the practice would lead some women to seek out abortions illegally. “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places, but we have to ban it,” Trump said during the town hall.
Now, that’s what he said. But later, Trump released a statement where he “clarified” that it was the doctors who would be punished, and for some reason, the MSNBC article above basically scrubs his earlier remarks, and treats them like they were a flub or something, instead of what they were, which are:
- The remarks of a man with no beliefs, who sometimes tries to talk tough and tries to appeal to “conservatives”, whom he understandably thinks are as naturally cruel and vicious as his own deepest instincts, and;
- The ravings of a deeply unserious man.
This is the heart of Trumpism, and it is where he gets the biggest pass of all. The media still has a weird tendency to treat him like a real person- a dangerous one, maybe, and they are coming around to the fact that he is a charlatan- but they don’t see that he is completely empty save for avarice and spite. He is an ill-informed and basically dumb guy. There is a disease that people have caught that forces them to say “he tells it like it is” even though he says, literally, nothing. Look at this exchange.
Trump said the stakes of the general election are high because of the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. President Barack Obama has nominated a replacement whom Senate Republicans say they won’t consider because of the impending national vote.
“They’ve set the law and frankly the judges, you’re going to have a very big election coming up for that reason because you have judges where it’s a real tipping point and with the loss of Scalia, who was a very strong conservative, this presidential election is going to be very important,” Trump said.
Read it and pretend it is Sarah Palin, or the nutjob at the end of the bar (which is where his shtick belongs). It’s easy for anyone who isn’t a Trump person or someone in the media to see that this isn’t politically incorrect, or tough, or anything virtues wrongly attributed to him. It’s just nonsense, an idiot’s buffet. And everything he says sounds like this. The man has zero substance. That’s one of the biggest dangers: he doesn’t have an intelligent thought anywhere in his head.
That might be beginning to seep in, as well. “Helen Patenaude, a retiree from Oconto who attended the taping on Wednesday, said she is supporting Trump because ‘he tells it like it is.’ ‘He’s not a politician,’ she said. But she said she was “confused” and ‘didn’t really understand’ what Trump meant during his exchange with Matthews on abortion”
When Trump starts talking about things that are a little deeper than “Mexicans bad, mUslims worse, Trump strong”, there’s a chance that even some of his supporters, who just wanted something to believe in, will shake out of it. There’s a chance that at some point the media will even point out that we are facing an election of a deeply, deeply stupid man.