A month after we go to the polls next week to decide whether Andrew Barr or Jeremy Hanson will lead us for the next four years, United States voters will elect the successor to Barack Obama.
How many of you saw the debate between the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton and the Republicans’ Donald Trump? Apparently about 30 million tuned into the telecast. I don’t know if that is worldwide or just in the good old US. But it is a record.
My thoughts are that Clinton was measured, dignified (most of the time) and well versed. She had obviously rehearsed and had listened to advice on the attacks likely to come from Trump. She had taken advice on how to deal with the email issue and probably any reference to Bill’s indiscretions.
She showed a command of foreign and domestic political issues, as she should have as a former Secretary of State. I thought she handled the Donald very well and tickled him up a bit along the way.
She showed Trump to be the bully and the xenophobic misogynist that he is. His reference to the weight of the Miss Universe and his description of a women as being pigs, slobs and dogs, and his diminution of Ms Machado as Miss Housekeeping showed his underlying contempt for women. She also showed him as being capable of lying whenever it suits him. He said that he opposed the invasion of Iraq when he did no such thing. She also showed him to be thin skinned and trigger happy.
But an outstanding knock out performance it wasn’t. She didn’t win the debate, rather Trump lost it.
Trump huffed and puffed but didn’t blow the house down. He resorted to flowery language, bluster, illogical answers to reasonable questions and was not able to articulate his policies other than he rhetorical sloganeering that has characterized his campaign thus far.
Now I know that most of the people I associate with are left of centre in their politics and have a dislike for the Republican Party almost by instinct. But here we have abundant reasons to do so. We have a party in the Congress hell bent on opposition for its own sake, and a presidential candidate who is downright dangerous.
His utterances on foreign policy are as outrageous as Kim Jong-un and as dopey as Tony Abbott’s threat to shirtfront Vladimir Putin. His attitude to Muslims, Latinos generally and Mexicans specifically are xenophobic in the extreme. His solutions to the madness which is the Middle East is to bomb ISIS out of existence. Yeah right!
And many people in the US want to give him the red button and the nuclear codes!
Back to the debate. I hadn’t seen much of either candidate until that telecast and I was amazed at the gulf between them.
I haven’t spoken to anyone who has had a good word to say about Trump’s performance. But I guess there are some out there in the ether who would say that the man is an “agent of change”, that he is just the tonic to make “America great again”, that a man who is a financial success is just what they need. A three-time bankrupt who was given $US13 million by his father to start off his working life and who lost $1US billion last year and hasn’t paid taxes for ages is a success? Mmmm.
But is a man who has no compassion for the struggling class, as evidenced by his purchase of buildings housing low income battlers and turning them out, “to make money”, and avoiding tax as being “good business”, a good choice for the leadership of the free world? Is a man so driven by his own ego and sense of destiny fit for the Oval Office?
Is Clinton fit for the job? I think so. She showed dignity and class against Trump’s bullying and bluster, she showed a command of her subject against Trump’s meanderings and illogical thought processes, she showed calm under stress against Trump’s reaction to being tickled up, she, when fact-checked, was not telling porkies yet Trump’s fact-checks revealed a porkie every three minutes.
Clinton will make history as the first female President of the US after the November 8 vote, but nowhere near the first female leader of a democracy. There have been many more leaders of the free world who have been women. Some have paid a high price, Golda Meir, Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Indira Gandhi for example, and some have strutted the world stage successfully and less so, Angela Merkel, Helen Clark, Julia Gillard and Margaret Thatcher to name a few.
No, Clinton is fit for this job because she is an all-round good performer, who is highly regarded internationally, she is experienced and she is politically tough. I think she is and always was better than her husband.
Anyway, that’s how the debate struck me. If you want a counter view check out Andrew Bolt in the Daily Telegraph of September 29. It is a good laugh.