Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Unexpected Public Contribution of Stormy Daniels

Survey: Daniels more credible than Trump by 41 points
Not to beat a topic to death, but the Stormy Daniels interview on 60 Minutes continues to resonate.  Tellingly, a poll shows that 62% of people surveyed believe Stormy Daniels while only 21% believe Donald Trump. That's a 41% spread in favor of the porn star over the occupant of the White House.  I cannot remember anything comparable.  A piece in the Washington Post by Michael Gerson - a former member of the George W. Bush White House and sickened Republican - looks at this stunning situation and the contribution that Stormy Daniels has done to the American public: she has shown that Trump is foul, morally bankrupt, pathological liar. This reality is clear to seemingly everyone but evangelical Christians.  Even Sarah Huckabee Sanders ducked the White House press briefing yesterday in an apparent display that even she would not submit herself to the degradation defending Trump.  Here are column excerpts:

Some who watched the Stormy Daniels interview on “60 Minutes” claimed it contained nothing new. On national television, an adult performer alleged that Donald Trump engaged in an extramarital fling, that his minions legally and physically threatened her to discourage public disclosure of the affair, and that Trump’s fixer paid her $130,000 in hush money to secure her silence immediately before the 2016 election. People should just go back to their knitting. Nothing to see here.
Americans who find this unremarkable have missed an extraordinary cultural moment. Daniels’s allegations are denied by the White House and an attorney for President Trump’s lawyer. Yet who in their right mind would trust Trump’s word over hers? In this case, the porn star has more credibility than the president of the United States. It is not even close.
 If these allegations are true, they reveal a man of poor character. (The technical term in moral philosophy, I think, is “sleazeball.”) Trump seems to regard beautiful women as an employment benefit of the wealthy and powerful. Porn stars and Playboy models are in the same category as a private jet or the key to the executive washroom. This is hardly surprising in our culture of celebrity. To a large number of American males, this represents exactly the kind of treatment they would want as a sports star or rock star.
This type of scandal demonstrates why character does matter in politics. . . . . . Trump feels exempt from the normal rules of honesty and decency. He plays close to ethical and legal lines. And he uses his wealth and influence to shield his embarrassing behavior from view — with hush money, nondisclosure agreements, legal threats and lies from the White House briefing room podium. He forces everyone around him to become complicit in his corruption. Members of Congress, White House staffers, party officials, conservative media figures and religious leaders are all expected to be accomplices. And we are left with a vacuum of integrity at the heart of our government.
Trump has made a career out of paying and manipulating people to be dishonest about him. . . .  This weakness of character is now what moves Republicans in Washington to speak of him as though he were a great leader — bowing and scraping in the hope of getting what they want. Sometimes they do. But in the process they give Trump what he wants: people pretending he is something he is not.
In this scandal, such tactics aren’t working. Trump can’t get the porn star to say he is wonderful and move on. This is the strange, unexpected public contribution of Stormy Daniels.
It is a very sad day when a porn star has more moral integrity and credibility than the occupant of the White House.  Sadly, anyone familiar with Trump's business history over the decades would not be surprised with this result. Everyone, of course, except sanctimonious and morally bankrupt evangelical Christians. 

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