Facelift versus Blow Job

The so called president sent out a profoundly disgusting tweet insulting television personality Mika Brzezinski, calling her “low IQ Mika,” and claiming that she had appeared at his golf club in Florida “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

This decidedly unpresidential foray into personal insults has drawn criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.

Not a few “conservatives,” however, were quick to compare the Donald’s tasteless tweet to Bill Clinton’s bad behavior in getting oral sex from Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office nearly 20 years ago. The comparison is not entirely unfair, but, as usual, “conservatives” are very bad at moral evaluation. These are people who routinely point out that all undocumented immigrants broke the law in coming here and want to devote precious law enforcement resources to rounding them up and deporting them. These are also people who are incapable of grasping why it makes no sense to confer the same rights on a fetus that the person carrying the fetus claims.

Also, as usual, many “conservatives” are also arguing with a straw person. No one ever said that Clinton’s behavior was acceptable. Democrats in the Senate did vote as a bloc against removing him from office in his impeachment trial, but they did so because they, like most of the public, saw the impeachment as a highly partisan undertaking in which Republicans took advantage of the opportunity Clinton foolishly handed to them to score political points.

Clinton’s actions throughout the Lewinsky scandal were tawdry and embarrassing. No one defended what he did on its own terms. But, to contrast Clinton, who remained in office and finished his second term, with Richard Nixon, who resigned after the House Judiciary Committee voted out articles of impeachment and a delegation of Republican members of Congress visited him to tell him he had virtually zero support in Congress at that point, the difference is obvious. Clinton’s underlying offense — extramarital sexual activity — is one any man can engage in, and very likely many do every day. Nixon’s underlying offense — trying to get the CIA to persuade the FBI to halt a criminal investigation — is one only the president can plausibly commit.

Removal from office was appropriate for Nixon, but not for Clinton, because we should only remove the president for abusing the powers of the office, which Nixon did, but Clinton did not.

Any idiot can send insulting tweets about television personalities, but, whether Kellyanne Conway likes it or not, everything the president of the United States says, via whatever medium, is automatically news. He has the loudest bullhorn on the planet.

Insulting a television blonde is not an impeachable offense by itself, although it is just one more example of the huge problem that the Donald does not have any respect for slightly over half of his constituents, the female half. But we knew that at the time of the election, and enough people still voted for him to give him a win in the electoral college.

The only people comparing the Donald’s grossly offensive, unpresidential tweet to the impeachment of Bill Clinton are “conservatives.” Other obvious differences include the point that Clinton’s bad behavior was entirely private, only becoming public knowledge because of a special prosecutor’s investigation. Also, there was obviously a huge power differential between Clinton and Lewinsky, but the sex between the two was consensual. No one has ever alleged that Clinton forced Lewsinky to do what she did.

To state the obvious, all tweets are inherently public, and Brzezinski did not ask the Donald to insult her and lie about her.

The Donald has certainly committed other acts that rise to the level of impeachment. The House has not initiated impeachment proceedings only because Republicans control it and are likely complicit in the deal Trump struck with the Russians to get their help in winning the election.

As usual, the “conservative” moral evaluation of the so called president’s highly offensive tweet is stupid and wrong headed. The Donald’s tweet is as tawdry and embarrassing as Clinton’s extramarital sexual activity, but Clinton paid a high price for his misconduct. The stupid tweet is not grounds for impeachment, but we should impeach the Donald for various other impeachable offenses at the earliest opportunity.

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