If only she had said “some” instead of “half.” If she had, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have had to apologize for insulting so many supporters of Donald Trump.
And she would have been right.
On the outside chance you haven’t been paying attention, here is some of what Mrs. Clinton said in New York last week to a friendly audience of fellow progressives at a fundraiser that featured Ms. Progressive herself, Barbra Streisand.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
I once told Bill O’Reilly on his Fox program that Donald Trump had attracted more bigots than any of the other candidates in the race. I believed it then and still do today. But I also said that there were “many, many, many” good, decent people who support Trump because they feel alienated and left out of the system that benefits the elites but not them.
In her own way, Hillary said something like that too.
“But … that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.”
A day after she insulted tens of millions of Trump supporters she apologized – sort of. “I regret saying ‘half’—that was wrong,” she said.
The “apology” came after the “deplorables” took to social media to let her know how insulted they were by her remarks – remarks, by the way, that echoed Mitt Romney’s comment in 2012 about the 47 percent of Americans who he said “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
But that comment was enough, thanks in part to Barack Obama’s loyal fans in the so-called mainstream media, to make Romney look like the rich old white guy with the monocle on the Monopoly board who is totally out of touch with ordinary Americans.
Mrs. Clinton’s mistake, according to more than a few on the left, was simply that it wasn’t smart politics; insulting voters never is. Here’s Charles Blow in the New York Times:
“What Clinton said was impolitic, but it was not incorrect. … Donald Trump is a deplorable candidate — to put it charitably — and anyone who helps him advance his racial, religious and ethnic bigotry is part of that bigotry. Period. Anyone who elevates a sexist is part of that sexism. The same goes for xenophobia. You can’t conveniently separate yourself from the detestable part of him because you sense in him the promise of cultural or economic advantage. That hair cannot be split.”
So anyone who supports Donald Trump, for whatever reason, is a bigot? – “period.”
Does that mean that anyone who supports Hillary Clinton is part of the bigotry – period — because she supports Black Lives Matter and some of its adherents support killing police?
Does that mean that anyone who supports Bill Clinton is a bigot because he maligned white southerners when he more than hinted that “Make America Great Again” is nothing more than a racist code word? “If you’re a white southerner, you know exactly what it means,” Clinton told a rally in Orlando.
I’m no fan of Donald Trump. And I’m no fan of some of his supporters. But neither am I a fan of the many liberals who look down their elitist noses at anyone and everyone who they see as the great unwashed. That’s what Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” little speech really was about – about how she and her fellow progressives see and feel about Americans who aren’t quite as sophisticated as they are.
We don’t usually associate that kind of liberal elitist snobbery with the word bigotry, but we should. And to borrow a few words from Charles Blow, anyone who helps advance that kind of bigotry is part of that bigotry. Period.