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.Bush's last name was very dirty! Whoopi let everyone know!
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.”
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.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.
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.
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.