Is It the Cover-Up, or the Crime?


On October 8 appeared a tape of Donald Trump’s indecent remarks about how to deal with attractive women — a tape justifying Democratic attacks on the crudeness of his character. At virtually the same hour emerged partial transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s secret remarks to Wall Street about her dream of “open borders” and her possession of two “positions,” one public and one private — transcripts justifying Republican assertions about her habit of lying to the public.

These revelations will be a test of the purported wisdom, repeated ad nauseam by political professionals, that what counts is “not the crime but the cover-up.” Trump would certainly have wanted to cover up the tape, but he may not have known it existed. Clinton labored mightily to cover up her private speeches, thereby creating a long-running campaign issue against herself, but the cover-up was palpably less important than what she actually said.

We’ll see whether real people, as opposed to pundits and spin artists (is there a difference?), see it this way. Simultaneously we can test the truth of an even more drearily repeated slogan, “All politics is local” — because in no way are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton “local.” They live on Mars, not in Springfield, USA.

There’s a third clich√© that’s interesting. Will the American people continue to “suffer fools gladly”?

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Hillary's lies and Trump's crass remarks are, of course, the tip of their respective icebergs. What has gotten mostly overlooked amid the GOP desertion of the latter is Trump's continued weird insistence, apropos of absolutely nothing, that the Central Park 5 were guilty and should have been executed, despite DNA evidence exonerating them.

Obviously Hillary will do nothing to ease police militarization or runaway prison populations, but she can at least be expected to maintain the status quo, whereas Trump at every turn has indicated (as also in his support of nationwide stop-and-frisk) that his election would be a boon for police and prison guard unions, and almost nobody else.

Scott Robinson

Dear Wayland,

This is a very good question to consider. I conclude that the crime is the determinant of the wrong for the person who commits the crime. The cover-up is the determinant of the wrong for the person who buys it, it has no bearing on the person who commits it. This relates to the old catch phrase, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Does this mean that the crime committer who then covers it up is forgiven for their cover-up? No. It just means that you can trust them as far as you can throw them and they're obese and you're weak. This is a cliche way to say that they've mortally sinned and this means that you know that they're wronging you and nice guys finish last, so you better fight them to preserve yourself.

Cliches wouldn't exist if they weren't true,

P.S. I know, "true" is a flexible word that does need further description to qualify it fully.

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