Hillary Clinton refers to that little imagined outburst as Option B—what she should have said to Donald Trump who kept lurking behind her (and over her) at the second debate last fall. She claims that she then would have added “I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.”
As one who has blamed Mrs. Clinton for running a weak campaign, I am inclined to wish she had indeed chosen Option B, but I have no illusions about what the results would have been. Remember, that debate predated Comey’s last-second email revelations which seem now, after all this, to have been the deciding factor in the race. Any angry verbal attack on Donald Trump, even if it showed him as the pig he is and made us all smile, would have been, in the end, futile.
The voters in her camp had already decided, and those teetering between her and a third-party vote would eventually have been swayed by Comey, having long since forgotten Mrs. Clinton’s standing up to Trump. And let’s face it, all the good ol’ boys in the bright red states—the ones who like women to remain in their prescribed places in society—would have exploited any such outburst as proof that a woman is too hysterical to be president. And sadly, the 53% of white women voters who cast their ballot for Trump would have been skipping right along with them.
Mrs. Clinton may regret her decision that night, and that’s fine; and she has every right to vent and wonder what if. But the sad truth is she’s no Taylor Swift.
Which brings me to David Mueller and Taylor Swift.
When Ms. Swift won her case last week against Mr. Mueller, the Denver disk-jockey who reached under her skirt and grabbed her butt during a photo-op, my first thought was what if it were Ms. Swift that Trump had bragged to Billy Bush about grabbing on that Access Hollywood clip. I would never wish that sort of assault on anybody, but if he had incurred her wrath and she had exposed him for the creep he is, a lot of those good ol’ boys who chose Trump might have decided that Taylor Swift sings a lot better, talks a lot better, and most important for that particular voting block, looks a lot better. Maybe some of their wives would have agreed. And maybe when the polls closed last November 8, we wouldn’t have been lamenting choosing a fool to be president.
Hillary Clinton, it seems, gave the American voters too much credit. She believed that her qualifications and experience counted for something, counted more, for instance, than her husband’s runway conversation with Loretta Lynch, or an Islamic-militant attack on Benghazi (in which Mrs. Clinton played no role), or the large stipends she received for giving speeches. Her assessment was wrong, and though musing about it now may bring her some closure, our efforts have to remain focused on the man who victimized her. Working to remove him from power would be our way of saying “back up, you creep, get away from me!”
It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Maybe because we’ve been saying it for seven months anyway.