With the death-knells of Donald Trump’s election campaign reverberating across the world, am I the only one worried that this latest implosion won’t be enough? Being as apolitical here as possible, his comments, more than a decade stale, are the equivalent of stepping on a WW2 landmine, surely. I’d give it a 50/50 chance of going ‘click’. While the anti-Donald camp want to see him figuratively if not literally dismembered, I’m hearing that the pro-Donald camp by and large have come out punching: “Meh, The Donald chews WW2-era landmines as throat lozenges! Let’s get on with making American great again!” That said, it’s always fun to see how unapologetic people fake an apology, because, let’s face it, The Donald don’t give a shit.
Only time will tell what, if any, effect this auspiciously timed scandal has on the final result. Historically, unearthing political ‘dirt’ on an opponent is like handling sweaty gelignite, a risky business, and not just because it sets the bar very, very low. That said, and while I’ve always maintained that I’d never want to be in politics, that’s not entirely true. I would have worked in the dirt unit of a political party as a so-called ‘opposition researcher’ schooled in the dark arts of what people in another shabby occupation euphemistically call investigative journalism. The godfather of opposition research, Larry Zilliox, spins the job-requisite amorality this way: “If it’s illegal just don’t do it. You just want the opponent to come off message. You’re not a spy. You’re a researcher.” But would you not care, perhaps come to regret, à la Oppenheimer, how your research is used?
While it’s easy for Chuck Norris to flame Hilary Clinton for alleged dodgy deals, or for Carly Simon to allow Trump-haters to ‘repurpose’ her song, both are willing participants in the muck-raking process. But what if it’s just your day job, trolling the interwebs from 9 until 5 looking for the youthful indiscretions of now high-profile individuals; skeletons in closets, elephants in rooms, a stained blue dress that might bring down a President? What if your job is to find the assassin’s knife, and then catch the bus home to your wife and kids? Proud of yourself? Hey daddy, what did you do at work today?
But that’s only half of this shitty job; the other half is digging dirt on your employer. Smart operators make this the first order of business because, as Sir Winston Churchill once said, “The opposition occupies the benches in front of you, but the enemy sits behind you”. Either the moles in the Republican dirt unit were caught snoozing, or they were not; either way, it appears that at least some of Trumps ‘Second Amendment people’ have taken his advice. Donald should have shut his mouth and stayed on the bus.