Hillary, Donald and the true meaning of ‘tough’

(AP)

In her well-delivered closing speech of the 2016 Democratic convention, Hillary Clinton laid out her vision for America’s future and the argument for her candidacy for president. Speaking in the city where Thomas Jefferson first scrawled out those magic words “We, the People”, she talked of what Americans could achieve together by drawing upon their diversity, their hard work and commitment to freedom, and she repeatedly contrasted that approach with the “I alone …” rhetoric of her Republican opponent.

Meanwhile, campaigning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Donald Trump was also appealing for votes.

“If you really like Donald Trump, that’s great. But if you don’t, you have to vote for me anyway. You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges. Have no choice — sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice.”

Clinton took a slightly more holistic approach in her speech. She didn’t shy from her long resume of public service, instead using it as evidence of her competence, experience and devotion to public service. She also took the time to stress the importance of character and calm in the inevitable moments of crisis that any president will have to face:

“Ask yourself: Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be commander-in-chief? Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign. He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. When he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he’s challenged in a debate. When he sees a protestor at a rally.

“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

Donald, do you have anything to say to that?

 

“I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard. I was going to hit them …. I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy.  I was going to hit this guy so hard that his head would spin, he wouldn’t know what the hell had happened.”

As Trump told the story, though, he held back thanks to the pleadings of a “highly respected” Republican governor who had called to calm him down. Of course, even that restraint proved short-lived, as we knew it would.

Because not too long afterward:

Donald does love him some Twitter. After Clinton’s speech last night, he tweeted out an angry string of responses, focusing mainly on her supposed weakness in taking on ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism. He clearly intends to focus his campaign on his promise of taking tough action against our enemies, contrasted against what he repeatedly describes as the weakness of Clinton and President Obama. So as this general election campaign goes into high gear, let’s explore what those vague terms might actually mean.

First, we should note that when Trump had the opportunity and even the legal and moral obligation to turn bluster into personal action, he found an escape route. He likes to brag about his athletic prowess, but during the Vietnam era he obtained a medical deferment thanks to a doctor who diagnosed him with a bone spur in a heel, which would make it difficult to march or walk long distances.

“Which heel was it?” Trump was asked years later by reporters. He didn’t remember, apparently because once the war ended, it ceased causing him problems.

Second, let’s look at the specific proposals offered by Clinton and Trump about taking on ISIS, a problem that Trump promises to resolve so quickly that we can’t believe how quick it will be. Clinton, as is her nature, has been a little more circumspect.

“We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground,” she said in her speech Thursday. “We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country. It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake — we will prevail.”

She also noted Trump’s claim that “I know more about ISIS than the generals do,” and she politely disagreed.

So what’s Trump’s plan? He hasn’t really said, because as he told Megyn Kelly, he wants to keep it secret:

The closest that he has come to explaining his approach came in a “60 Minutes” interview with Leslie Stahl and his vice presidential nominee, Mike Pence.

TRUMP: We’re gonna declare war against ISIS. We have to wipe out ISIS.

STAHL: With troops on the ground?

TRUMP: I am going to have very few troops on the ground. We’re going to have unbelievable intelligence, which we need; which, right now, we don’t have. We don’t have the people over there. We are going to use —

STAHL: You want to send Americans–

TRUMP: Excuse me — and we’re going to have surrounding states and, very importantly, get NATO involved because we support NATO far more than we should, frankly, because you have a lot of countries that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. And we have to wipe out ISIS….

STAHL: But I still don’t know if you’re going to send troops over–

TRUMP: Very little. I’m gonna get neighboring states and I’m going to get — we are going to get NATO; we’re going to wipe ’em out. We’re gonna — OK, so we declare war, and we’re gonna …”

At that point, Pence broke in to declare that “this is the kind of leadership that America needs and it begins with deciding to destroy the enemies of our freedom.” Because that’s his role, to break in and declare such things.

STAHL: How?

PENCE: And how we do that? I have every confidence. You– you remember I served on the Foreign Affairs Committee. And I’m very confident that when Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, he’ll give a directive to our military commanders, bring together other nations, and we will use the enormous resources of the United States to destroy that enemy.”

Thanks Mike.

As you may have noted, Trump’s semi-secret “tough” approach to ISIS bears a startling similarity in every detail to the “weak” approach laid out by Clinton. In fact, it’s identical to the approach already being carried out by the current administration, to good effect.

The only difference that I can discern is Trump’s plan to produce “unbelievable intelligence,” which is a breakthrough that frankly, nobody else had yet considered. All of this time we’ve been focused instead on finding believable intelligence; intelligence of the unbelievable sort is something that most people had given up after the effects it had in Iraq.

I’ll close with a final telling excerpt from Clinton’s speech in which she laid out the problem quite clearly:

“For the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments — excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show. They think he couldn’t possibly mean all the horrible things he says — like when he called women ‘pigs.’

Or said that an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage.

Or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability.

Or insults prisoners of war like John McCain –a true hero and patriot who deserves our respect.

At first, I admit, I couldn’t believe he meant it either. It was just too hard to fathom — that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things. Could be like that. But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump … This is it.”

Make your choice, America.

Reader Comments 0

2638 comments
rimsky
rimsky

Paul Manafort (Trumps campaign manager) used to work for Yakenevich (used to run Ukraine for Putin) (a Putin lackey) in Ukraine.  How conveniently Mr. Pinko avoids talking about him.

rimsky
rimsky

One of many reasons why Trump likes Putin.


Putin is bombing in Syria irrespective of who the people are below.

Putin don't discriminate between fighters and civilians.  

And doesn't hide the fact he is killing civilians as much as ISIS is.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Fly-On-The-Wall 

Ten minute delayed response.

Repeating for the umpteenth time...

I am not a Trump fan for the very reasons you bring forth. He's unreliable.

If you're looking for a military hawk, Hillary's your candidate.

I've heard more than one progressive pundit express concern about her record on military intervention.

Hillary the Hawk: A History

From Haiti to Syria, the Democratic candidate’s long record suggests she’s looking forward to being a war president on day one.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/27/hillary-the-hawk-a-history-clinton-2016-military-intervention-libya-iraq-syria/

^^^ there's your war president. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Good morning, felicia. I hope you had a good weekend. I'm looking forward to a day of word salads from you today. So far, you haven't disappointed!

rimsky
rimsky

@FIGMO2 @Fly-On-The-Wall If you're looking for a military hawk, Hillary's your candidate.////

Why because Mr. Pinko (that is a lie he keeps saying) has been preaching to you?  Now that is funny.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky @FIGMO2 @Fly-On-The-Wall

Nope! Because I've been watching Hillary Clinton for decades knowing that her ultimate goal was to become president.

Have you not read where I said i would be fine with Hillary as president?

It's THAT that should concern you seein's how I'm considered a right-wing extremist 'round these AJC parts.

rimsky
rimsky

@FIGMO2 @rimsky @Fly-On-The-Wall Nope! Because I've been watching Hillary Clinton for decades knowing that her ultimate goal was to become president.///// 

If you have been watching her then why didn't you mention the Universal Healthcare system (failed in the 90s) and her pushing children getting medical care issue she has pushed for.  

Also she stood for women issues like equal pay.  May be you are not interested in them.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky @FIGMO2 @Fly-On-The-Wall

I'm not down with her domestic policies. I preferred Bill's concessions.

I've never opposed children's healthcare initiatives. 

The women's issues? Naahhh, not big on carving my gender out as special.

Democrats have held the WH on numerous occasions...had the majority in house on a couple of those occasions so why are we still wrestling with equal pay for women?

It's mere lip service, rimsky.

lvg
lvg

Trump intends to use Reagan as a model in how to handle Syria.

242 Marines killed by Iranian backed  militants -wet your pants and run. As to the Russians- Trump will let Paul Manafort handle them since  he has such close ties with the Russians

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@lvg  Trump intends to use Reagan as a model ... /  Psst. Your party beat him to it.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

As Obama Dithers, Syrian Rebels in Aleppo Brace for Putin’s Onslaught

The Russians are pursuing a strategy lifted from their playbook in Grozny during the last Chechen war, and Aleppo could soon become the new “most destroyed city on earth.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/01/as-obama-dithers-syrian-rebels-in-aleppo-brace-for-putin-s-onslaught.html

By prior agreement between Russia and the U.S., any country can freely target the Islamic State extremists (ISIS) or Nusra on Syrian territory. In actual fact, Russia has repeatedly attacked U.S.-backed moderate rebels and civilians, claiming it was attacking Nusra.

By invitation only.

This means that Russia will feel free to target any location in rebel Aleppo and level it, Abdah said.

“The Russians want to apply the example of Grozny to Aleppo,” he said. “There will be no red lines. Every hospital, every school, every civilian area, everything is targeted.”

OUCH on the "red line."

Echoing the bitterness of many Syrians, Abdah said the United States is playing a role that no one can understand.

“I feel the international community has abandoned us at this critical stage,” he said. “What the Russians are demanding is very clearly a war crime. I believe the U.S. could stop this. Russia would not do this without the implicit feeling that there will be no consequences.

As promised, Obama's been very flexible.

schnirt

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@FIGMO2 Had he ordered massive troops in, you'd have criticized him for that, so no big whoop. "Echoing ..... many Syrians" sounds like classic Trump Trash - pretty sure they don't vote here.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@OldEngineer @FIGMO2

It has more to do with how we're perceived.

Obama DID invite Russia into the Syrian mix and now he will be seen as responsible for Russia's actions.

It all began with his imaginary "red line" behind which there was nothing.

Stupid words that DID NOT matter.

Obama really does suck as a leader!

Peachs
Peachs

@OldEngineer @SFM_Scootter @FIGMO2 how much has he shoveled out when he was not watched by the press?  He should be sued and tattooed when this election is over, who can believe this guy to invest with him?

Peachs
Peachs

@FIGMO2 @OldEngineer there are Americans alive today because of his choice of wars, not on the menu with Republicans who deem life cheap if it keeps them what the want..

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@TBS

Exactly. I was not and still not a proponent of US involvement in Syria

Then Trump may very well be the candidate you should choose.

Hillary WILL put boots on the ground. After being burned by Putin, she WILL reset Russia's button.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@FIGMO2 @OldEngineer  "Obama DID invite Russia into the Syrian mix and now he will be seen as responsible for Russia's actions." 

"Did invite Russia..."?  Russia has had a naval base in Syria for decades. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@OldEngineer @FIGMO2 @TBS

She's your typical politician. Will say one thing, then do something entirely different claiming justification.

TBS
TBS

How we are perceived?

You would have been more correct to say how you and many on the right perceive him.

Perception of the US is much higher at this point than it was under the last administration

Did you vote for GWB?

How were we perceived toward the end of that administration?

Guess Bush really sucked as a leader, huh?

Year old but still relevant

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/jun/04/gretchen-carlson/gretchen-carlson-most-polls-show-world-has-lower-r/

Have a great day

Peace

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@FIGMO2 @OldEngineer @TBS  And Trump doesn't say things like that now?  Geez, he won't answer any question specifically and if he might then he changes his answer two more times in the same day!


TBS
TBS

@PaulinNH @FIGMO2 @OldEngineer 

Reminds me of when td stated sometime back that Russia had no military presence in the ME before US involvement in Syria.


Of course the conversation ended when I mentioned the military base in Syria, the bases they once had in Egypt and that excursion the Soviets had in Afghanistan.

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@SFM_Scootter @FIGMO2 @OldEngineer Trump fact topic. It is what it is. I observed two new ones yesterday. First, he did not appear to know about Russia's involvements in Ukraine, and he claimed to have received a nonexistent letter from the NFL about the debate schedule.

TBS
TBS

Exactly. I was not and still not a proponent of US involvement in Syria

But the facts are Russia was already backing Syria with supplies then intervened military at the request of the Syrian government.

This notion that we know for a fact that Russia would not have intervened to help bolster their ally if the US had stayed out is all simple Simon speculation

Maybe it would have been the case but Russia was not going to allow their ally to go down without a fight.. US or no US involvement

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@FIGMO2 @OldEngineer I'm never voting for him again. So on to Trump and the Khan family then. You know, things relevant to our NEXT President.

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

Did Donald Trump leak Nude photographs of Melania to distract from the Khan Story?

Peachs
Peachs

@OldEngineer @tireOfIt Trump is FOX news in the flesh, he doesn't slow for facts or reality, he just keeps attaching and feeding the red meat..

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

I was definitely disgusted for about 15 minutes.

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@tireOfIt That actually would not surprise me at all. I cannot help but to think that when the Khan mess came up, if Trump had been gracious and adult enough to meet with him and his wife, sit down and read the Constitution together and part more or less as "friendly" Trump might have actually had a shot at becoming President. It all goes back to a personal favorite borrowed quote: "You can bait Trump with a Tweet, but to bait my puppy you will need a treat.  Puppy smarter."

lvg
lvg

@tireOfIt She clearly has had a boob job since those pix were taken. 

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

So, the question is: Is this it? Is this the incident that finally cuts Donald Trump off at the knees and causes his support to crater? Is attacking the family of a man who died defending his country a bridge too far? It could be—recall how quickly Ben Carson's support evaporated following his fumbling on foreign policy. But the smart money is that it is just not possible for Trump to go "too far." We have seen evidence enough that, for supporters of The Donald, saying outrageous things is a feature, not a bug.

Congratulations Republicans. To paraphrase our local hero down here, 'We have found the bottom and it is You'

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

@St Simons he-ne-ha I wish it would, but I doubt it. I think he remains popular with who he's popular with and it's really close in November. I don't think there will be many staying home on Election Day. He must not become president.