Frequently accused of being a robot, the consumate politician and basically someone who is always blowin’ in the political winds, Hillary Clinton does sometimes manage to remind people why they’re bothering to make her the Democratic Party nominee.
When she’s good, she’s good. And the former Secretary of State’s Thursday speech, mostly on foreign policy and Donald Trump-bashing, was well-crafted and well-delivered. It was also a hawkish defense of her credentials and a nationalistic attack on Trump and his “America sucks now” shtick.
Though Clinton defended immigrants (delivering a good line about how Trump needs to lay off of Mexico and Mexican immigrants because “We’re lucky to have two friendly nations on our land borders”) and delivered some quips about how Trump can’t be trusted to be in charge of a nuclear arsenal, and is too reckless to lead, she was in many ways attacking him from a conservative-friendly perspective. Clinton called Trump “dangerously incoherent” and swept him away as a candidate with some rhetoric as muscled as her foreign policy plans.
The former Secretary of State said she plans to “keep America’s security at the heart of my campaign.” She sold her history, and sold herself as a serious person, who is serious enough to go to war a lot. Trump, from her POV, is a weird, America-hater who might nuke us all at a moment’s notice.
Perfect combination of substance and humor. She’s meticulously laying out the serious case against Trump, but doing it in a humorous manner.— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) June 2, 2016
She’s the sensible, dependable centrist hawk that she usually sells herself as. But she works well with a teleprompter. Her tone was warmer, and more passionate than usual–with less striving towards rhetorical peaks that she invariably fails to climb. (Clinton … doesn’t … do … the … epic … pauses! Well!)
Nothing about her fondness for sanctions and war was surprising here. The interesting thing is that on the day Speaker of the House Paul Ryan finally endorsed Trump for president, a lot of right-wingers thought Clinton was having a moment.
If Hillary runs like this she will win big. https://t.co/xM5y7cz0t9— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) June 2, 2016
I’ll never vote for him, but she’s getting there. https://t.co/iuQfymquet— Laura (@laura_lrnzo) June 2, 2016
And they should nod in agreement, based on their own views. Clinton and GOP hawks share some ground in common. Even people who dislike her, or refuse to vote for her, can see that this speech was good in the sense that it makes her look tough, electable and smart.
If Hillary could maintain this exact tone between now and November she will create exactly the contrast with Trump she needs.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) June 2, 2016
Take out the Iran deal stuff and it’s a Rubio speech.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) June 2, 2016
Clinton defended right-wing no-nos like the Iran deal. As war-ready as she is, as much as she said she was ready to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon with military force, she is never ready enough for some people.
First thing HRC has said that won’t speak to neoconservative hearts: defending the Iran deal, and the abandonment of allies that resulted.— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) June 2, 2016
She also defended the existence of climate change.
Clinton hit Trump hard and was correct about much of his goofiness, and that’s what will matter in the race towards the White House–not, sadly, who voted for which Iraq war.
That’s why even right-wingers sat up and were a little impressed in spite of themselves. That’s why filthy peaceniks like myself noticed and thought, “Damn, this is the kind of speech that people elect people over.” But then again, in a nation where Trump is the GOP nominee, maybe it isn’t.