Is it over yet? Somebody please make it stop. Like Popeye the Sailor Man used to say, "That's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more." This is the vilest, most repugnant election in recent memory — maybe ever. And if you're still one of those people who think both candidates are equally atrocious, you need to get your news from another source — maybe from one of those mainstream outlets that actually believe in responsible journalism. Hillary may be duplicitous and opportunistic, but Trump leaves a trail of slime behind him wherever he goes, like a garden snail. I know I'm not alone in wishing this ugly torrent of daily disgust would just go away.
Reputable sources have said that the new Facebook reality show, Trump Tower Live, is a stalking horse for a Trump TV network, in case he doesn't get the presidentential gig. According to New York magazine, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is building a database of 14 million email addresses and credit card numbers, so even when Trump loses the election, we can still enjoy his daily rants and midnight tweets 24/7 — or at least until the venture fails like so many other of Trump's skeezy products.
The Orange Blossom Special took time out from campaigning last week to drag the press to the grand opening of his new Washington, D.C., hotel, where room prices have been slashed by half because no one wants the name Trump appearing on their credit cards. His malignant campaign remarks have damaged his brand so badly that a new hotel chain to open next year will not be called Trump anything, but Scion, which means, "a person born into a rich, famous, or important family." I guess it gives the kids something to do.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has to be the luckiest candidate of all time. Anyone barely sane on the Republican side would have had an excellent chance of winning the White House, but Donnie keeps stepping on his dick. Can I say that the number of women accusing Trump of grabbing them by the pussy has risen to 12? The latest is the former Miss Finland, who was publicly humiliated by Trump and has a YouTube video to prove it.
Trump also traveled to the Gettysburg battlefield to attempt a Lincolnesque address. But where Lincoln pledged to unite a divided country, Trump promised to file lawsuits against his female accusers after the election.
And nobody has a seedier bunch of surrogates than Trump. Chris Christie has exited stage right and will likely be summoned to appear in court to defend himself of charges of lying and abuse of power for Bridgegate. His closest former staffers have outed him. But Don still has Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, all serial adulterers with nine wives between them. Trump was being advised by former Fox News head, Roger Ailes, himself the target of multiple lawsuits claiming sexual misconduct before he was bounced from the network, but even Ailes decided to quit the campaign over Trump's inability to accept anyone's advice but his own.
Hillary's "October surprise" came in a letter to Congress by FBI Director James Comey, stating that new emails had surfaced from a laptop shared by Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, and her estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner, aka "Carlos Danger: Private Dick." Weiner had a separate account for his fetishistic behavior which resulted in an investigation of his allegedly sexting with a 15-year-old girl, but Comey, "in an abundance of caution," said that he had not seen the new emails and that they may, or may not, have any significance to Secretary Clinton.
Trump gleefully pounced, saying that the FBI had "reopened" the case against Clinton and that this was "the biggest political scandal since Watergate." It's worth pointing out that Comey was a Bush appointee picked by Obama to head the FBI in a gesture of bipartisanship. Big mistake. Comey was the second-highest official in Dubya's justice department, former head council for Lockheed Martin — the country's largest defense contractor — a hedge-fund millionaire, and the lawyer who put away Martha Stewart. Last July, in a breach of protocol, after Comey had absolved Clinton of any criminality in the investigation of her emails, he openly castigated her for "carelessness." It was the first time that the FBI publicly disclosed its recommendations to the Justice Department, which advised Comey against sending his letter to Congress. Eleven days before the election, Comey sent the letter anyway, which said, in part, "Given that we don't know the significance (of the emails), I don't want to create a misleading impression."
Along with the Clinton campaign calling foul, dozens of former federal prosecutors signed an open letter critical of Comey. Minority Leader Harry Reid accused him of violating the Hatch Act, which bans the use of a federal government position to influence an election. If I were Obama, I'd fire his ass tomorrow if it wouldn't rile up the renegades. As it is, Comey should be gone on the 9th of November.
So, what else can happen in this brutal election where the rough beast slouches toward Bethlehem to be born? You have an Australian, Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with a Wikileaks vendetta against Mrs. Clinton; widespread agreement among cybersecurity experts that Russian government hackers are behind the theft of DNC communications; a candidate that constantly cozies up to Vladimir Putin; and an FBI Director who, purposefully or not, has gravely interfered in a close presidential election. Who does James Comey think he is, J. Edgar Hoover?
Randy Haspel writes the "Recycled Hippies" blog, where a version of this column first appeared.