So the big political news story yesterday was supposed to be the Orlando shooter’s father turning up at a Clinton rally. I don’t generally care for the “guilt by association” game, especially when it’s guilt-by-association-by-association. But I did think it was odd to have him so appear so prominently at a rally. Any reasonable political organization would have realized the bad optics and prevented it (it’s not like Mateen is an unknown).
What’s really fun about this, however, is watching sites like LGF, which have played the guilt-by-association game for years, scramble to explain why this guilt by association means nothing. The online Left will go through lists of Trump followers on Twitter to find racist shitbags and claim that their following of Trump means … something. Had the Charleston shooter’s parents, grandparents, neighbors or college roommates turned up a Trump rally, they’d be going absolutely batshit. But when it’s Clinton, suddenly that game is no longer valid.
But as he usually does, Trump couldn’t let Clinton self-immolate.
Donald Trump suggested at a rally Tuesday afternoon that the “Second Amendment people” could do something about Hillary Clinton choosing judges if she is elected president, a comment some took to mean he was implying violence against the Democratic nominee.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” he said at a rally in Wilmington, N.C., to boos from the crowd. “Although the Second Amendment people … maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The comments came as Trump was discussing Clinton’s position on gun control measures, with Trump repeating his frequent claim that Clinton would “essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”
Trump senior communications advisor Jason Miller said in a statement that Trump was referring to the political power of Second Amendment supporters at the ballot box, not to any sort of violence.
Now the outrage over this is a bit overblown. Trump was making a bad joke. He was not literally calling for Clinton to be shot. It wasn’t a criminal act. And it’s the sort of thing Sarah Palin has said on several occasions. Still … it’s not something a Presidential candidate should be saying. We have a Secret Service for a reason and Trump has a bad history of winking at violence from his supporters. But no, it was not a literal call for assassination.
However … Trump keeps making these gaffes. He is constantly drawing the attention of the media from whatever Clinton is doing: lying about her e-mail investigation, failing to defend the Libya intervention, calling for massive tax hikes. A President unable to stay on message, a President who can’t get through a speech without causing a furor is a problem. Yeah, liberal media, etc. They have often been unfair. But Reagan didn’t feed the liberal media this kind of crap (well, except for that one time, which was an off-camera joke). Nor did Bush. Nor did Romney. Nor did McCain. They understood that Republicans play on an unfair field. And the only way to win the game is to Stay. On. Message. We should be talking about Clinton’s terrible track record, Clinton’s terrible plans, Clinton’s petty vindictiveness. Instead, we’re talking about Trump riling up the media again. That might be fun for people who hate the media, but it doesn’t win elections.
Presidents do need to extemporize at times (one of Bush II’s best moments was both spontaneous and deeply moving). But Trump’s improvisation is doing nothing but enabling Hillary. It’s continually distracting from her numerous faults so we can debate whether what Trump said was a joke or whether it was serious or what it means. Sorry, the carny act is getting tiresome. We have three months left. Is he ever going to campaign like he wants to win?