Cast links arms, hands gift to Trump!


Everyone knows this but Us:
At one time, the assignment would have fallen to one of the nation's politically tone-deaf comedians.

During Campaign 2000, it was Larry David, joking at a Gore fund-raiser about Candidate Bush's "personal relationship with Jesus."

Candidate Cheney brought it up in the vice presidential debate. Trust us—he knew what he was doing.

Four years later, it was Whoopi Goldberg. Deborah Orin tattled in the New York Post. But then, so did everyone else:
ORIN (7/9/04): Whoopi Goldberg delivered an X-rated rant full of sexual innuendoes against President Bush last night at a Radio City gala that raised $7.5 million for the newly minted Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards. Waving a bottle of wine, she fired off a stream of vulgar sexual wordplays on Bush’s name in a riff about female genitalia, and boasted that she’d refused to let Team Kerry clear her material.


Kerry could be seen laughing uproariously during part of Goldberg’s tirade—and neither he nor Edwards voiced a single objection to its tone when they spoke to the crowd.

They hailed the fund-raiser as a great event.

Edwards said it was “a great honor” to be there and insisted, “This campaign will be a celebration of real American values.”
Bush's last name was very dirty! Whoopi let everyone know!

Back then, it was a tradition. During every presidential election, some tone-deaf comedian would insist on handing the GOP a political gift—an unsolicited, obvious gift which would be good for at least a week. The Democratic candidates would have to interrupt their scheduled remarks for a week to clean up what had been done.

It's one of the three million ways our self-impressed tribe works to bungle elections. Over the weekend, the cast of Hamilton stepped in to revive this hoary tradition, for which the RNC would be willing to pay a substantial service fee.

Truthfully, no. It isn't polite for a performer or an entire cast to lecture an audience member at the end of a show. Everyone will understand this fact except our tone-deaf tribe. Donald J. Trump surely jumped for joy when he was given the chance to respond to this bit of conduct.

Needless to say, the cast of Hamilton could have written an op-ed column stating their important views about the topics in question. Let's just say that, despite their fervor, they hadn't yet bothered to do that.

Let's also say that, if they had, no one would have read their column. They're in the show because they're performers, not because they're analysts.

Up in The Tower, the Trump gang surely jumped for joy over this unsolicited gift. To see how poorly our tribe understands such transactions, here's what the Washington Post's Peter Marks says at the start of this morning's essay on page one of Style:
MARKS (11/21/16): It is a thoroughly surreal moment. But what a teachable one.

For the first time in our collective lives, a person who is going to run this country has gone to war with a Broadway production. Think about this. For whatever reason—an attempt to deflect attention from other looming scandals, an eternally itchy Twitter finger, a desire to defend a comrade—a president-elect of the most powerful country on Earth is using his pulpit to run down a Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical that is, it’s safe to say, far more beloved than he is.
Hamilton is "beloved" in the minds of a very small number of people like Marks. One thinks of the New York Times movie critic who had never met anyone who voted for Nixon, who had won like 300 states.

Marks tries, and fails, to understand the reason for Trump's angry tweeting. Trump wasn't tweeting for the reasons Marks imagines. Trump was tweeting because he knew that he had been handed an obvious gift—a Christmas present which gave Pence the chance to say this:
MARKS: On “Fox News Sunday,” Pence sought to quell the controversy. “Well, first off, my daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show,” he said. “‘Hamilton’ is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. And it was a real joy to be there. You know, when we arrived, we heard—we heard a few boos, we heard some cheers. And I nudged my kids and reminded them that’s what freedom sounds like. And—but at the end, you know, I did hear what was said from the stage, and I can tell you, I wasn’t offended by what was said. I’ll leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it.”
This obvious gift gave Trump and Pence the chance to play good cop/bad cop. Their play is an obvious win.

Can we talk? Our tribe just managed to lose an election to the craziest person who has ever sought the White House. Even after that performance, our team is still unable to see the ways we engineer defeat.

Actually, our myopia is worse than that. Our team is unable to imagine the possibility that our defeats are somehow connected to our own misbehavior or misjudgments. In that sense, we're very much like Trump himself. It has to be the other guy. The problem can't be coming from us.

If the cast is concerned about Trump and Pence, are they wrong in their judgment? Of course they aren't! We're in completely uncharted waters. There's no way to know what's going to come. The self-impressed statement by Hamilton's lead actor understates the vast potential of the problem we face.

That said, the sheer pomposity of the cast's statement will be apparent to all. They linked arms and handed a gift to Trump. Everyone knows that but Us.


  1. Hamilton is a political play written and performed by people of color, some of whom are also LGBT. The Vice-President Elect is a man who has enacted policies which affected those communities, and moreover, he is part of a ticket that promises to further enact policies which will affect those communities. Not only do the cast have a right to speak out, I would say they have a duty to do so; otherwise they are just 'good Germans'.

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  2. Newsflash: Cast member speaks his mind; Trump attacks!
    Seriously, is this an issue? In what universe? Recently, when Obama defended the right of an elderly Trump supporter to protest at a rally, Trump accused Obama of rudely harassing him. Every other words out of his mouth is a lie, based on fake-news lies, compounded by lying and deluded supporters.
    In what universe does it matter than an actor gave Trump yet another stick to pummel us with? There are no more rules of engagement, no gentleman's agreement, no standards of behavior that apply now.
    One young actor in a young company speaks his heart and Trump runs with it. So what? The election is over - ain't nobody left to convince.
    Meanwhile, Hillary's nearing 2 million votes ahead of Trump and blue states, with larger wealthier populations, are paying more in federal taxes than red and rural states, who receive considerably more than *they* pay in. They take our money and give us the finger.
    Well. The incendiary combo of blue taxation without blue representation - why isn't that a thing?
    What's more, Seattle - where I live - and other sanctuary cities are about to punished by losing federal dollars; screwing us all over again.
    Bob, every protest against Trump provides him another stick to beat us with, regardless of whether it's civil, uncivil, or in bad taste. And I, quite frankly, don't give a damn if the minority who voted for him are aggrieved. Former friends, Trump supporters all, have told me in no uncertain terms that I'm a traitor, that the candidate I supported should be locked up, that the country I believe in no longer supports the basic tenets of the Constitution - with the exception of one misinterpreted amendment. And I'm supposed to regret and condemn the heartfelt plea of one young actor. Shame.

  3. Regarding various meanings of "bush", recall the joke: The two reasons a movie might get an "X-rating" were bush and gore.

    BTW Bob referred to "the New York Times movie critic who had never met anyone who voted for Nixon". That would be Pauline Kael, who actually wrote for the New Yorker.

    1. Yes! and her point was not that she hadn't actually met anyone who voted for Nixon, it was that after Watergate, those who did vote for Nixon refused to admit it. Way to bungle a reference, Bob!

  4. Famed guitarist Steven Van Zandt (a Trump opponent) differs with sherrlock and Anon: "It was the most respectful, benign form of bullying ever. But bullying nonetheless. And by the way, human rights must be won, not asked for....When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests. It’s taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home.”

    IMHO that statement by Brandon Victor Dixon exacerbated the political divide and inflamed race relations to a degree.

  5. Here's where I would differ with Van Zandt et al. For the past year or so, and for the foreseeable future, my country - my *home* - is under actual threat by an actual fascist bully. The candidate I supported is STILL threatened with prison. The "divide" cannot be normalized by those who seek actual comity; its worst features must be pointed out incessantly. Thus when Trump appoints virulent racists, anti-Semites, and misogynists - not to mention the endless parade of lobbyists who'll evidently help him drain that swamp - it is incumbent on all of us to speak out, whenever and wherever possible.
    Pence and his master felt bullied in the theatre....I and my neighbors feel bullied in our literal homes. In the end, it's astonishing to me to hear the calls for civility from the least civil creeps in the country.

    1. sherrlock -- recall Martin Luther King. He was always polite, although he was opposed by people who behaved far worse than Trump. King's opponents didn't deserve politeness. But, King's gentle approach was successful.

      I think your description of Trump and his appointees as facists, virulent racists, anti-Semites, and misogynists is way overblown. But, whether or not Trump and Pence deserved the lecture, Bob says it was bad strategy. I think so, too.

    2. Sorry, DinC, it's still early days; too early to imagine a world in which Trump does or does not behave like Bull Connor. And my description is firmly based in the words spoken by Trump and his supporters. We assume them to be apocryphal at our peril.
      Your memory of King, what's more, is incomplete. As with so many who idolize him, your portrait concludes with his "I have a Dream" moment. When he actively began working on poverty issues and opposing the war, his "gentle approach" resulted in his death. And it's amazing that you would laud him in any case. King is persona non grata to your buddies in the alt right.
      But that's true for the course of the Trumpistas: call for comity and gentleness after the brute, the slouching beast, has employed nothing but rudeness, foulness, and incivility in his quest to win at all costs.
      Just imagine what Trump would be saying if the shoe were on the other foot. He would refuse to accept the "rigged" election and howl to high heaven - as would his pig-ignorant supporters. Again, this is not my opinion, it's what Trump promised throughout.

    3. sherrlock -- It's not the case that conservatives are racists. As a teen-ager, I attended a March on Washington to hear Dr. King speak. I was a member and donor to the NAACP for many years.

    4. sherrlock -- It's not the case that conservatives are racists. As a teen-ager, I attended a March on Washington to hear Dr. King speak. I was a member and donor to the NAACP for many years.

    5. You said yourself that you were a liberal back in those days. Please name a conservative politician who supported MLK before he was shot.

    6. "It's not the case that conservatives are racists."

      This kind of gullibility must be leftover from DinC's days as a liberal.

    7. "it's astonishing to me to hear the calls for civility from the least civil creeps in the country"

      Correct! A Republican Congressman shouting “You lie!” at a President during a joint session of Congress, an unprecedented act, was followed by two overwhelming victories by Republicans in congressional elections. Yet, according to Bob it was the lack of politeness by two comedians well known for their vulgarity that contributed to the electoral failures of Democrats. Maybe the road to victory for Dems is to shout “you lie” at Trump and win back the Congress. Why not, Republican voters seem to be impressed by that kind of behavior.

    8. It's not the case that conservatives are racists. But it is the case that most racists are conservatives.

      "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people,
      it is true that most stupid people are conservative."
      - John Stuart Mill

  6. AnonymousNovember 21, 2016 at 9:31 PM -- you are correct that I was a liberal when I went to hear MLK. However, I continued my NAACP for years after I became a conservative, until they chose an anti-Semitic leader.

    As I recall MLK was supported by most Republicans and Northern Democrats. His opposition came from Southern Democrats. LBJ's Civil Rights Act was supported by most Republicans in the Senate and in the House. Time magazine even largely credited Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) for pushing the sweeping legislation through, putting him on the cover after final passage.

  7. It's called the First Amendment. Check into it.

  8. 1. People do love Hamilton in the heartland. You don't sell over two million cast albums without some non elites buying them. A lot of conservatives really like the show, too.

    2. I agree, it was not the best venue. it was pointed out that it is within production guidelines for a cast member to make a statement from the stage if he is out of character and the show is over. It was within the letter of the law, but not the spirit.

    3. Daveed Diggs, who played Jefferson/Lafayette and some other cast members said that Hillary Clinton was booed at the play during the campaign, and no one reported it. Tit for tat isnt' right, but both candidates were tarred as as exactly the "same" by the far left and disgruntled centerists. So neither candidate was respected.

    4. Having said 4, when exactly is a good time? Being polite isn't enough, rioting is too much. This isn't exactly what I would do, but I'm not in their situation.