And the media plays along, of course, because they love a good cock-fight and it is good for ratings, as CNN recently admitted. And of course, we the consumers of media eat this crap up, so ultimately we are to blame for favoring flash over substance, appearances over reality, character over policy, emotional thinking over logic.
And the sad thing is, there was a little meat on that bone. I mean the perjury thing was kind of thin - expecting someone to admit an adulterous affair is kind of far-fetched. Moreover what relevance does that have to the workings of government? But he did apparently arrange a government job for Lewinsky after the fact, and that could have been (and should have been) the real "crime" if there was one, albeit minor in the scheme of things.
And often the only way to win the "character" battle is to attack your opponent, mercilessly. Bush took what was potentially a liability - his lackluster war record - and turned it against his opponent who was a decorated veteran. By election day, the tables were turned - Bush was the real hero, and Kerry was a draft-dodging medal-thrower.
"Bounces off me and sticks to you" is also a classic Trump move - and it worked, for a while at least.
So Trump tries to smear Hillary with Bill's alleged affairs and an entirely made-up story about how Hillary "laughed at a rape victim" (which is not true at all). Rather than concentrate on real policy issues or real issues of character, he used these tangential claims because they involved sex and Americans are obsessed with sex. Moreover, while Americans are very sexually liberated and our media (movies, television) depicts everyone actually having sex (a lot) - on our public stage we are still puritans, it seems, and we act shocked that anyone is actually doing it, even though we do it ourselves.
He opened the door for this sort of sleaze and Hillary drove a Mack Truck through it. Well, we don't know if the Clinton campaign is behind the sleaze tapes and the numerous accusers (nine and counting) but they certainly aren't upset about this turn of events.
And it turns out that this - like the infidelity thing - is something that goes right to the gut and bypasses the brain. A lot of women really don't like it when you grab their privates, it turns out. Funny, I know, but they are that way. Something to keep in mind, guys. And I think these sort of revelations will help Clinton in terms of voter turnout and also in the number of "secret" Clinton voters in many swing States. A lot of Fox-News-watching husbands will assume their dutiful wives will also be voting for Trump, but when the curtain closes on the voting booth, many a white, middle-class, middle-aged Republican woman may pull that lever (or push that button) for "one of our own." Maybe it is time a woman ran things - after all, their pre-dementia husbands can't be trusted to even take out the trash, right?
But the sad thing about this situation is whether you root for one candidate or another, we don't really get to hear concrete answers (and criticisms) as to policy positions. Trump is very vague on what he would do as President, other than build a wall, deport Muslims, and put Hillary in jail. Hillary has detailed policy positions on her website (snooze!) but we never hear real concrete criticisms of them from Trump.
And perhaps this is by design. If we actually discussed the candidate's positions on the issues, we might actually see through the smoke and fog more clearly. Sadly, it seems many today still vote based on emotional thinking, and if you don't believe this, look at any Trump or Sanders rally footage. People are voting for someone they think is a rock star, not a bundle of policy points.