Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Despite everything, Stephen Colbert still can't get Hillary Clinton to actually say I told you so

Stephen Colbert, Hillary Clinton
Stephen Colbert, Hillary Clinton
Screenshot: The Late Show

With the virtual balloons and virtual bunting of an all-Zoom Democratic National Convention coming virtually down, Hillary Rodham Clinton—former First Lady, former Secretary of State, former Senator, forever person who won the popular vote—appeared on Thursday’s Late Show to give her (virtual) take on Joe Biden. Unsurprisingly, she’s a fan, calling the Democratic nominee “thoughtful,” “deliberative,” “prepared,” and a man possessed of “profound decency,” and praising Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ “confidence” and love of “being in the arena” as more than enough armor to weather the “slings and arrows” of what, for women in politics, is always a misogynist shitshow. (Just paraphrasing there.) And while those descriptors might count as carefully chosen slams against Donald Trump, who possesses the opposite of all of those qualities, Clinton was unsparing in laying into the person currently occupying the White House and panic-rage-tweeting schoolyard insults at the tee-vee box while the country literally burns.

“I take cracks at him all the time,” Clinton responded to Colbert prodding her once more to just let out a big, cathartic “I told you so” concerning literally everything she warned us about. And while she joked that she did entertain the fantasy of her entire DNC speech consisting of that one sentence, followed by a mic drop, she, instead, went all in once more on Donald Trump’s daily-documented unfitness for the gig. “He just either is incapable or unwilling to fulfill the responsibilities of being our president,” stated Clinton plainly. (Not to give notes to the esteemed Clinton, but “both” is also an option..) Calling Trump’s three-plus years of bigotry, incompetence, and blundering authoritarianism “simply unimaginable to most Americans,” Clinton called the November election “truly existential,” asking of this deeply imperfect yet perpetually aspirational experiment in human governance, “Will we have a country that resembles, at all, who we think we are?”

Good question. As Colbert put it, he finds himself seeking hope in the idea that there are Americans who voted for Trump the first time thinking he could, in no way, be as thoroughly awful as he’s been as president. Clinton echoed that to some extent, explaining that she lives now in a “constant state of both anxiety and possibility” regarding the prospect of America as a nation clawing its way out of the rubble of its supposed ideals, dusting itself off, and recognizing that this whole democracy thing is worth giving another shot. “It’s simply unimaginable that we are not going to retire Donald Trump and all of his enablers,” said Clinton.

Shooting the breeze about the potential end of American democracy as they were, Colbert and Clinton also shared a laugh over James Comey’s recent internet pic of the former FBI head sporting an “elect more women” T-shirt. You know, because Comey helped sabotage Clinton’s campaign at the last second on what turned out to be completely unfounded “But her emails!” concerns. Clinton, not addressing Colbert’s question of whether an eye doctor visit was necessary to un-roll her eyes at Comey’s newfound respect for women candidates, said, with the diplomatic shade of a true leader, “I believe in redemption—I guess.” Noting that—in non-nonsense 2016 political scandal news—the Republican-led, bi-partisan Senate Intelligence Committee revealed just this week that, yeah, of course the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government to undermine an American election on behalf of Donald Trump, Clinton tried once again to warn us.

“The real story here is that the Russians are still doing it,” stated Clinton, explaining that disinformation against Democratic candidates and weaponizing stolen information are the chief tools being used all over again. Oh, and that the Republican-led Senate has done exactly nothing to prevent a Trump-Russia do-over. For some reason. “There’s no question any longer that the Russians interfered in our election to help Donald Trump,” stated Clinton, with Colbert pitching that only a Biden-Harris victory will pry the actual and complete details of the GOP-Putin scheming for all to see. It’s as good a reason as any, one supposes, although Clinton still offered up some battle-born debate advice for her Democratic successor, telling Biden’s people that Trump “lies with impunity, with actual, real delight.” “His idea of preparation is making stuff up,” said Clinton, barely concealing her contempt/disbelief, “just throwing it out there.” Her main advice to Biden—advice we as a nation should have been following from the start of this whole nightmare—is that, “You cannot be diverted by the reality show going on on stage right next to you.” She really did tell us so, you guys.


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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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