Perhaps you heard that Madame Clinton, who supped recently with Lady Rothschild at a $100,000 a plate dinner before jetting off to Hollywood for another high-dollar fundraiser at Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s house, went to a celebrity-packed LGBT Hillary fundraiser last night, this one in New York City and featuring Barbra Streisand, and had this to say about Trump supporters:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? [Laughter/applause]. The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people, now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks, they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
Well, yes, there are people like that among the Trumpkins. No question about it. But half of Trump’s supporters? Given that he is polling almost as well as Hillary herself is, well, really? She later apologized for saying “half,” but the damage has been done.
As a friend e-mailed:
She screwed up and said what she really thinks. Full blown. Me and you, who don’t want schlongs in the shower room with our daughters? Same as the KKK. Deplorable!
I believe this is true. She was talking to a bunch of fellow liberals, and she let fly. Today she apologized, saying that she only regrets using the word “half.” Me, I don’t take umbrage on behalf of Trump, who has said horrible things about the kind of people who support Hillary. But I do firmly believe that in her basket of deplorables she puts traditional Christians, thinking us “homophobic.” In fact, I would love to hear her talk about what, exactly, are the factors she considers in whether or not someone is a “homophobe,” a “xenophobe,” an “Islamophobe,” a “racist,” or a “sexist.”
For example, is it possible to hold any traditional Christian beliefs about human sexuality and not be considered homophobic by Hillary Clinton? Is there any position on immigration to the right of her own that people can hold without being judged mentally ill or morally deficient by her? How about on Islam? Let’s hear it.
Because what I hear when I listen to her words is that Hillary Clinton thinks anybody who disagrees with her on race, women’s issues, LGBT issues, and the rest, is wicked. Here’s what she said immediately after the quoted remarks above:
“But the other basket, the other basket, and I know because I see friends from all over America here. I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas, as well as you know New York and California. But that other basket of people who are people who feel that government has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they are 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.”
There is truth in that: people who don’t care about Trump’s beliefs on race, gay issues, and the rest, but who just want change. Notice, though, that she’s doing much the same thing candidate Obama did in 2008 with his “bitter clingers” remark before a group of San Francisco liberals at a fundraiser:
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Like Obama, Clinton accuses Trump supporters of a kind of false consciousness. For Obama, they don’t really believe all that social-conservative, Second-Amendment crap; they’re just mad because of their economic decline. What Hillary said is close to this, in that she separated out as pitiful but redeemable the Trump supporters who are only backing him out of economic desperation from the “basket of deplorables” — presumably everyone else.
Now, if she’s only talking about the bona fide racists, anti-Semites, and others who have associated themselves with Trump’s campaign, I’ve got no argument with her. I think, though, that she sees no real difference between the truly nasties and those who are to the right of her on these issues (whose number includes people like me, who are not Trump supporters).
It’s worth reminding Clinton that her side has some pretty deplorable people in it too, such as these people who beat up Trump supporters on the streets of San Jose back in June:
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) June 3, 2016
Look, Hillary’s insulting remarks don’t make Trump’s own insulting remarks about particular groups any less demeaning. What those remarks will do to some people on the fence about Trump, though, is to make them understand precisely how a Clinton administration would regard them: as “deplorable” and perhaps “irredeemable”.
Clinton has one political skill that Trump conspicuously lacks: self-control. It failed her last night with the gay crowd in New York, and she let her real feelings out. A conservative Catholic friend was telling me the other day that after Mitt Romney made his notorious “47 percent” remark at a private fundraiser in 2012, that tipped him (my friend) into not voting for him (he didn’t vote Obama either). Recalling why that was so damaging to Romney’s campaign, Chris Cillizza wrote:
The conventional wisdom is that “47 percent” hurt so much because it played directly into the stereotype of Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy that President Obama and his campaign were playing up. And, that’s true.
But, there’s more there when it comes to why the comments were so incredibly damaging. The truly terrible thing for Romney was that the remarks not only came directly out of Romney’s mouth but were also documented on video.
Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remark was captured on video too, and plays directly into the stereotype of Hillary Clinton as an arrogant, bossypants liberal elitist. And it confirms another stereotype: that the Left doesn’t simply consider its opponents wrong, but also terrified and hate-filled, and therefore irrational and evil. You can’t reason with people like that, you know; you just have to use the power of the state to roll over them.
Which, I believe, is exactly what President Hillary Clinton and her judges will attempt to do.
When the debate comes around later this month, I really do hope one of the moderators asks Madame Clinton if not wanting your children to have to put up with transgenders changing with them in the school locker room makes you a homophobe worthy of being cast into the basket of deplorables. Where is the line, for Clinton, between honest disagreement on the issues she brought up, and hate?
UPDATE: And in blog comment sections too:
So there are three kinds of people in America, if Twitter is a guide:
1. Trump can do no wrong.
2. Hillary can do no wrong.
3. Sane people.
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) September 10, 2016