I am sure you have all heard about the speech Hillary Clinton gave yesterday eviscerating Donald Trump and his views on foreign policy. If you have not seen the speech in its entirety, I recommend watching it.
In my opinion, this is the best speech I have ever heard Clinton deliver. She mocked Trump relentlessly but did not go into the gutter to do so, a la Marco Rubio. She did not try to pin a corny nickname on him.
This was a surgical dismantling of everything Donald Trump has said relating to foreign policy, his odd praise of dictators, climate change, the national debt, and trade. Clinton also made sure she reminded people about Trump’s lack of plans/knowledge on just about every other issue facing the country.
Time and again Clinton called Trump thin-skinned, bigoted, and politically and mentally unqualified (and unstable) to hold the office of president. She is making good on her promise to ensure Trump is not “normalized” in the eyes of the general electorate, calling his ideas “dangerously incoherent” and “a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.”
It did not stop there. Towards the end of her remarks, she asked Americans to compare herself and President Obama in the Situation Room during the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden to Donald Trump being in charge during a raid like that or during any international crisis. This was her 3:00 a.m. ad from 2008 on steroids.
Clinton consistently polls better than Trump, at times overwhelmingly, on the issue of who has the right temperament to be president. Clinton is well aware of this and she is pressing the issue hard.
Hillary will never be the gifted orator her husband or President Obama are.There are times when she can be hard to listen to. Sometimes she does come off as a bit shrill (and yes I know there is a double standard here); other times her speeches can come across as forced and awkward. Not this one. This was Hillary Clinton at her best.
If she is able to repeat this type of messaging throughout the campaign and consistently draw stark contrasts between herself and Trump on foreign policy, and other issues, she may be able to do what Trump’s Republican rivals could not do in their primary.
Clinton is clearly taking a page from Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 campaign playbook; painting the opponent as an extremist, mentally unfit, demagogue who should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes.
It worked for Johnson is his race against Barry Goldwater. We’ll see if it works for Hillary Clinton.