Hillary Clinton lays out her foreign policy: Being not-Trump

Hillary Clinton fired up the teleprompter and addressed a crowd of a couple of hundred hand-selected audience members in San Diego yesterday, seeking to take her miserable record of foreign policy blunders as secretary of state out of the political liabilities column.  Her pitch: She’s not Donald Trump, who would, in her view, lead the United States to war in a fit of pique, “just because somebody got under his very thin skin.”

Cue the infamous “Daisy” ad:

By Hillary standards, it was a great speech.  Standing in front of flags, she read well the script carefully written by others, and she did not screech even once.  Chris Matthews, the thrill back in his leg, gushed that it was a “masterpiece” and “exquisitely written.”  (Full speech transcript here.)

I agree that her speechwriters earned their fees, carefully selecting Trumpisms uttered off the cuff and extrapolating them into a horrific vision.  In sum:

He is not just unprepared – he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.

By being not-Trump, she paints herself as the lesser of two evils.  But of course, she has a track record, and Trump has extemporaneous speeches uttered in front of vast and excited crowds.  As the New York Sun editorialized:

Secretary Clinton’s speech at San Diego rang hollow to us almost beginning to end. It is easy to lampoon Donald Trump, and she did a right lively job of it. His record is full of contradictions, after all, his style is so much less refined than that of our greatest presidents, his policies are still in formation, and his eccentricities are larger than life. But who is Ms. Clinton, veteran of the Russian “reset,” to lecture Mr. Trump on how to deal with President Putin? What standing does Mrs. Clinton have to lecture Mr. Trump on making friendly overtures to our enemies?

“I don’t understand Donald’s bizarre fascination with dictators and strong men who have no love for America,” Mrs. Clinton said. She was speaking but weeks after the leader of her own party, President Obama, returned from Cuba, where he embraced the Castro brothers, and then, after stopping in Argentina to lecture the citizens of a country just turning back to capitalism that the arguments about communism don’t matter, went to Vietnam for to lift an arms embargo. Plus, too, she doubled down on the articles of appeasement with the Iranian ayatollahs.

Mrs. Clinton claimed to believe that we have a “moral obligation” to defend Israel (and surely we do). She neglected to address the fact that both halves of Israel’s leadership in the Knesset — the Likud prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the opposition leader, Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union — bitterly opposed the Iran appeasement. She insisted the agreement “should block every path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” but failed to address any of the doubts on that head or the fact that majorities of both houses of Congress were against it. Not to mention the inversion of constitutional procedures.

A highly amusing account of the atmospherics of the speech by Leslie Eastman, who was on hand for the speech in San Diego, can be found at Legal Insurrection.  It highlights the ongoing problem for Clinton: nobody, outside a small group of cronies, is really excited about her candidacy.

I will begin my analysis with crowd size comparisons:

When I arrived, actually expecting to see the candidate (albeit from a distance), I was shocked to discover that she was speaking in a secured room with a maximum capacity of…200.

And this telling detail:

During the address, a handler came out to “shush” the crowd when they cheered at an attack on Donald Trump. About half-way through the 35-minute address, people began filing out. The crowd size was reduced by at least 1/3rd by the time she wrapped up.

Trump has promised to shake up the foreign policy establishment and put our enemies and allies on notice that things will change, that comfortable old arrangements are due for shaking up.  With blustery and imprecise language, he offers the prospect of, to borrow an Obama term, fundamental change.  Hillary, in contrast, offers more of the same, which hasn’t been working very well.

If you buy into the scare-mongering, that Trump, a man who has negotiated complex deals all over the world and come out ahead, will blunder into nuclear war, then Hillary is not quite as toxic, as her record indicates, in comparison.  But if you think the dictator-soliciting Clinton Foundation exemplifies a foreign policy more concerned about the welfare of the Clintons than the interests of the people of the United States, you might want to hear more of Trump’s thoughts as the campaign continues and he speaks at greater length.

Hillary Clinton fired up the teleprompter and addressed a crowd of a couple of hundred hand-selected audience members in San Diego yesterday, seeking to take her miserable record of foreign policy blunders as secretary of state out of the political liabilities column.  Her pitch: She’s not Donald Trump, who would, in her view, lead the United States to war in a fit of pique, “just because somebody got under his very thin skin.”

Cue the infamous “Daisy” ad:

By Hillary standards, it was a great speech.  Standing in front of flags, she read well the script carefully written by others, and she did not screech even once.  Chris Matthews, the thrill back in his leg, gushed that it was a “masterpiece” and “exquisitely written.”  (Full speech transcript here.)

I agree that her speechwriters earned their fees, carefully selecting Trumpisms uttered off the cuff and extrapolating them into a horrific vision.  In sum:

He is not just unprepared – he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.

By being not-Trump, she paints herself as the lesser of two evils.  But of course, she has a track record, and Trump has extemporaneous speeches uttered in front of vast and excited crowds.  As the New York Sun editorialized:

Secretary Clinton’s speech at San Diego rang hollow to us almost beginning to end. It is easy to lampoon Donald Trump, and she did a right lively job of it. His record is full of contradictions, after all, his style is so much less refined than that of our greatest presidents, his policies are still in formation, and his eccentricities are larger than life. But who is Ms. Clinton, veteran of the Russian “reset,” to lecture Mr. Trump on how to deal with President Putin? What standing does Mrs. Clinton have to lecture Mr. Trump on making friendly overtures to our enemies?

“I don’t understand Donald’s bizarre fascination with dictators and strong men who have no love for America,” Mrs. Clinton said. She was speaking but weeks after the leader of her own party, President Obama, returned from Cuba, where he embraced the Castro brothers, and then, after stopping in Argentina to lecture the citizens of a country just turning back to capitalism that the arguments about communism don’t matter, went to Vietnam for to lift an arms embargo. Plus, too, she doubled down on the articles of appeasement with the Iranian ayatollahs.

Mrs. Clinton claimed to believe that we have a “moral obligation” to defend Israel (and surely we do). She neglected to address the fact that both halves of Israel’s leadership in the Knesset — the Likud prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the opposition leader, Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union — bitterly opposed the Iran appeasement. She insisted the agreement “should block every path for Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” but failed to address any of the doubts on that head or the fact that majorities of both houses of Congress were against it. Not to mention the inversion of constitutional procedures.

A highly amusing account of the atmospherics of the speech by Leslie Eastman, who was on hand for the speech in San Diego, can be found at Legal Insurrection.  It highlights the ongoing problem for Clinton: nobody, outside a small group of cronies, is really excited about her candidacy.

I will begin my analysis with crowd size comparisons:

When I arrived, actually expecting to see the candidate (albeit from a distance), I was shocked to discover that she was speaking in a secured room with a maximum capacity of…200.

And this telling detail:

During the address, a handler came out to “shush” the crowd when they cheered at an attack on Donald Trump. About half-way through the 35-minute address, people began filing out. The crowd size was reduced by at least 1/3rd by the time she wrapped up.

Trump has promised to shake up the foreign policy establishment and put our enemies and allies on notice that things will change, that comfortable old arrangements are due for shaking up.  With blustery and imprecise language, he offers the prospect of, to borrow an Obama term, fundamental change.  Hillary, in contrast, offers more of the same, which hasn’t been working very well.

If you buy into the scare-mongering, that Trump, a man who has negotiated complex deals all over the world and come out ahead, will blunder into nuclear war, then Hillary is not quite as toxic, as her record indicates, in comparison.  But if you think the dictator-soliciting Clinton Foundation exemplifies a foreign policy more concerned about the welfare of the Clintons than the interests of the people of the United States, you might want to hear more of Trump’s thoughts as the campaign continues and he speaks at greater length.