The Left’s sudden conversion to moral rectitude last Friday was nothing short of a miracle.
One would expect Republicans to feel — or at least feel the political need to feel — disgust at the latest revelation of Donald Trump’s obscenities, but who would have thought that those casual crowings would spark a liberal firestorm of faith that would have the Gospel of Matthew downgrading Hurricane Matthew to a category 2 news story?
After all, these are the folks who were booing the name of God at the Democratic National Convention four years ago — the same leftist elites, including a clamorous choir of feminists, who had all but canonized Anita Hill in her attempt to disqualify conservative supreme court justice Clarence Thomas by alleging that he made some sexually suggestive remarks in the workplace.
Seven years later this same Greek chorus was defiantly insisting that serial adulterer Bill Clinton’s nine rounds of oral copulation with an on-call intern inside the Oval Office — and numerous other sexual harassments as CEO of the executive branch — were simply “private” behaviors that had nothing to do with his fitness to be president.
Evidently, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell never got the memo. Lamenting Trump’s moral failings, he wondered in anguish last week how the parents of young girls could protect their daughters from the misogynistic manifestations of a Trump presidency. Well, probably the same way parents protected their daughters in 1998: by frantically changing the channel whenever news about the Clinton presidency was within earshot.
Of course, none of that should have been a problem during the innocent days of “Camelot.” Even during the “Lusty Month of May,” Mimi Alford’s parents couldn’t have imagined that their daughter would have been seduced, deflowered, kept as a veritable sex slave, drugged and even pimped out by President Kennedy as a 19-year-old White House intern.
And when she finally dared to reveal her story later in life, she was victimized once again, this time by the liberal press: from Janet Maslin’s blowtorching of Alford in the New York Times, to the profit-motive accusations of Barbara Walters, to the more thoughtful defense of Kennedy by acolyte Chris Matthews, who characterized the Democratic president’s chronic infidelities as simply an example of his moral complexity and capacity for “compartmentalization.”
No such psychobabble was ever needed to explain Lyndon Johnson, on the other hand. His crudeness was legendary, and his boasting that the number of his sexual conquests far exceeded that of Jack Kennedy’s was taken as gospel by everyone who knew him.
Yes, this newly converted Democratic leadership and, presumably, their powerful Hollywood friends, must be shocked — shocked! — that we could possibly elect a Republican to the presidency who speaks and acts exactly as they do — or did, I should say, before last Friday, when they finally reached the moral high ground they’d been dreaming of re-taking ever since Franklin Roosevelt’s first dalliance in office (their inept Sunday school teacher/president, Jimmy Carter, notwithstanding).
Okay, we all know it’s hypocrisy of the highest order. Unfortunately, though, it’s not always limited to the sleaze machine of the Left.
Evangelicals are having their own dark night of the soul these days, trying to force their camels through the eye of the needle that Trump keeps sticking them with.
The sobering reality is that they are tethered to a man who seems to embody few of the “fruits of the Spirit” that are fundamental to the Christian life, and even fewer of the sensibilities needed to lead on the nuanced issues of race, gender, religious freedom or international diplomacy.
Even his trumpeting of Bill Clinton’s debauchery — as accurate as it may be — is a painful reminder of their own hypocrisy. At the time, evangelicals were adamant that personal morality — especially sexual morality — was a necessary virtue in a president who was, in their view, an ethical leader for the nation and a model for our children.
Now evangelical leaders, from Jerry Falwell, Jr. to Ralph Reed to Tony Perkins, have been forced to rationalize support for this volatile and vulgar candidate for the sake of two core issues: the killing of the unborn, and the Supreme Court advancement of a socialist secularism that is inherently hostile to Bible-based beliefs — cultural cancers that will metastasize aggressively if Hillary Clinton is elected.
Unless, of course, Republicans hold on to a clear majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate — down-ballot prospects that were not in question until that disastrous first debate.
And with Trump’s Tuesday Twitter-lashing of his defectors — including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — and the de facto unshackling of his campaign from the Republican Party, the damage that “Jingo Unchained” may end up causing Christian consciences and the country at-large could be apocalyptic.
We can rightfully worry that we may be in the “Last Days” of the Republic, but we can at least be thankful that the last days of this latest “long national nightmare” are almost over.
Timothy Philen is the author of Harper&Row/Lippincott’s “You CAN Run Away From It!” a satirical indictment of American pop psychology. He is currently at work on a latter-day “Walden,” a collection of essays on post-modern American culture.