Donald Trump is to the Obama era as Jimmy Carter was to the Nixon era. His presidency could not exist without it. Whereas Obama preserved the outward forms of the presidency as head of state, he broke the forms in substance as head of government. By contrast, Trump breaks the outward forms as head of state while working to restore the substance as head of government.
Beyond Obama, however, last night’s Stormy Daniels interview on 60 Minutes reminded me how important the Clinton presidency was to making Trump possible. Trump would not be president were it not for the presidency of Bill Clinton and the faithful service that Hillary Clinton rendered to its preservation. Hillary was a terrible candidate in her own right, of course, but consider how Bill and Hillary paved the way for Trump every bit as much as Barack Obama did.
The Stormy affair is ancient history. Unlike Clinton’s more notable escapades, at least it was consensual and at least it didn’t take place in the Oval Office. Yet the media — 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper, and the rest of the Democrats’ mainstream media adjunct that agitated in support of Clinton’s preservation — are working overtime to make the Stormy affair a current political scandal that might take Trump down. I should think that the electorate must already have discounted Trump’s marital bona fides rather heavily when it bought Trump.
The “grab them by the pussy” tape almost proved fatal to Trump’s candidacy. By any conventional standard, he should have been a goner. Trump survived the release of the tape in incredibly Trumpian fashion. Indeed, Trump revealed his skill as a candidate exploiting a Clintonian weakness when he assembled female former victims of Bill Clinton for a news conference and sought to seat them in his VIP box at the debate with Hillary Clinton in St. Louis. His position was that history must be told and a single standard applied.
At a fateful moment of his candidacy, Trump theatrically called Clinton out. It was outrageous. Putting the character of the Clinton presidency on display in this way, Trump flaunted the truth that CBS et al. had sought to suppress in the Clinton era, or the truth from which they had done averted their eyes. Through the drawn-out Lewinksy matter and related impeachment drama, Bill Clinton has done at least as much as any other American to desensitize us. And he did so with the invaluable assistance of the Missus all along the way.