With the presidential debate almost upon us, this is the right time to think about the two candidates and America’s political situation.
The years to come will demand a strong president. The New York Times wrote an utterly ludicrous endorsement of Hillary Clinton, one that should be in the dictionary next to the phrase “damning with faint praise.” It basically concedes that she’s done nothing of note and says that the main reason to vote for her is that she’s been around a long time and holds the correct points of view.
While I disagree with the NYT’s conclusion (“vote for Hillary”), the sub-text that the NYT tries so hard to hide is accurate: Hillary is weak, not just physically, but also when it comes to accomplishments. To date, all she’s really done is use her husband’s fame to ascend the political ladder.
Hillary’s own people are desperately afraid of her physical and intellectual weaknesses, which is why they’re trying so hard to have the supposedly neutral moderators be her partners in the Presidential debate:
“It’s unfair to ask for Hillary both to play traffic cop with Trump, make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people,” Robby Mook said on ABC’s “This Week.”
When pressed by host George Stephanopoulos that that’s “what a debater is supposed to do,” Mr. Mook said this case is “special.”
“Well, I think Donald Trump’s special,” Mr. Mook said. “We haven’t seen anything like this. We normally go into a debate with two candidates who have a depth of experience, who have rolled out clear, concrete plans, and who don’t lie, frankly, as frequently as Donald Trump does.”
“So we’re saying this is a special circumstance, a special debate, and Hillary should be given some time to actually talk about what she wants to do to make a difference in people’s lives,” he continued. “She shouldn’t have to spend the whole debate correcting the record.”
Think about Mook’s statements as you contemplate the fact that the American people, as much as anything, are watching to see how the candidates perform under pressure. Hillary’s team has already conceded that she cannot perform at all under pressure. How’s that trait going to work out when Hillary is in a face-off with Russia or Iran?
And there will be face-offs. As Victor Davis Hanson chillingly details, Obama’s eight years in office will have left us with a scarily dangerous world, one that requires strong American leadership if we are to survive in something resembling our historic self:
Russia has been massing troops on its border with Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir Putin apparently believes that Europe is in utter disarray and assumes that President Obama remains most interested in apologizing to foreigners for the past evils of the United States. Putin is wagering that no tired Western power could or would stop his reabsorption of Ukraine — or the Baltic states next. Who in hip Amsterdam cares what happens to faraway Kiev?
Iran swapped American hostages for cash. An Iranian missile narrowly missed a U.S. aircraft carrier not long ago. Iranians hijacked an American boat and buzzed our warships in the Persian Gulf. There are frequent promises from Tehran to destroy either Israel, America, or both. So much for the peace dividend of the “Iran deal.”
North Korea is more than just delusional. Recent nuclear tests and missile launches toward Japan suggest that North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un actually believes that he could win a war — and thereby gain even larger concessions from the West and from his Asian neighbors.
Radical Islamists likewise seem emboldened to try more attacks on the premise that Western nations will hardly respond with overwhelming power. The past weekend brought pipe bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey as well as a mass stabbing in a Minnesota mall — and American frustration.
Europe and the United States have been bewildered by huge numbers of largely young male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. Political correctness has paralyzed Western leaders from even articulating the threat, much less replying to it.
Neither of the candidates has touched upon these issues, and the president has disengaged entirely. Their disengagement, though, doesn’t prevent these issues from touching the US, the only question being whether that happens sooner or later. VDH, the historian, likens this summer to the one that predated WWI when nobody imagined the “the war to end all wars” was waiting to explode.
Regarding Trump, he hasn’t touched upon these issues because he understands that they’re not persuasive. That is, they’ll scare American voters, but it’s unlikely that they’ll make them more likely to vote for Trump. North Korea is something one tut-tuts about, but it doesn’t play well in the ballot box. Also, to the extent he’s not a policy wonk, if he doesn’t have briefings from quality advisers, he risks falling into media traps about the minutiae of these issues (as happened to Gary Johnson, when he totally blanked on Aleppo).
Despite his deliberate decision not to go there when it comes to the post-Obama world, the reality is that whatever else one thinks of Trump, “weak” is not one of the adjectives that comes to mind. Aggressive, persuasive, agile, manipulative, adaptable — those are all good adjectives to describe Trump. None describe Hillary.
So at the end of this last summer before the next world war, who would you rather have in the White House? The woman too physically frail and mentally rigid to participate in the usual presidential debate or the man who is sharp as a sword and as crazy as a fox (and who actually likes America)?