With so many journalists spending so much time shaming
I'm not worried about Trump. He's a megalomaniac, and his kind of narcissism will help him blend in quite nicely in
What worries me is that many -- but not all -- in my business are spending so much time shaming Trump voters, that they seem to have forgotten some important features of political corruption: what it is, what it looks like, what it sounds like and what it smells like.
Particularly when it comes to Mrs. Clinton, her husband, Bill, and the pungency of the influence-peddling scandal involving the multibillion-dollar
Her defenders keep insisting that there was "no quid pro quo" in having Mrs. Clinton, when she was secretary of state, meet privately with
And, these defenders insist, that there is no "smoking gun." When I hear the phrase "no smoking gun," I picture some
The talking points were established early on by Clinton surrogate and interim Democratic Party Chair
"So, you know, this notion that, somehow or another, someone who is a supporter, someone who is a donor, somebody who's an activist, saying, I want access, I want to come into a room and I want to meet people, we often criminalize behavior that is normal. And it's -- I don't -- I don't see what the smoke is."
There have been many Republican officials who stood up and said they can't vote for Trump for what he's done or said.
So where are the Democrats who are standing up to say they can't support influence peddling and the Clintons? Their silence indicates assent.
What is clear is that when Clinton surrogates say "there's no smoking gun" or "no quid pro quo," you'll soon hear some talking head repeat the same dang thing.
It doesn't take days. Just about the time it takes to toast an English muffin and slap some cheese on it, they commence with the "no evidence" and "no smoking gun" and "no quid pro quo."
I don't work in
So maybe it's that being a Midwesterner, I can't quite appreciate the difference between normal influence peddling and abnormal influence peddling.
But being from
It does not smell like a smoking gun or a nonsmoking gun. And it does not speak Latin.
It smells like meat a-cookin', and that's not a language of words, but of appetite. It smells sweet, and there is no recipe. The recipe is understood, implied, and if you dare ask for the recipe, you are immediately ostracized and kicked out of the kitchen.
It doesn't involve a straight payoff. Everything is layered. A deal goes to Mr. X. Another deal goes to Ms. Y. It's all circular and rather complicated, like the Clintons parsing English, and everything is understood in the spaces between the words.
When pundits moan about "no smoking gun" and "no quid pro quo," they must be referring to some cartoon definition of corruption, as if it involved an envelope stuffed with dead presidents, handed over to some grubby-fingered hack in the backroom of a greasy tavern with a tired
But people with governments and nations in the palms of their hands don't deal that way.
The other day at breakfast, I was talking about this stupid, narrow
"Say you're in a meeting with an elected official, and you say, 'I'll give you so much money if you give me this favor and that favor,' You know what happens next?" asked the man wise in the
I knew, but I played along: No, what happens?
"The first thing the politician will think to himself, 'Why is he talking that way? This son of a b---- is wired up,'" he said. "And no one will ever talk to you ever again."
That's why it's depressing to hear meat puppets insist that there is no there, there, with the
The corruption was in the selling of access to the highest reaches of the federal government.
To someone who was then a sitting secretary of state who -- as all the foreign tough guys with treasure understood -- was already reaching for the