Thursday, September 22, 2016

How Should Hillary Act During First Debate?

Advisors are counseling Hillary Clinton to be firm but ladylike during the first presidential debate next Monday with Donald Trump. The public, they say, does not embrace a woman in attack mode.

I, on the other hand, would prefer if she looks to Margaret Thatcher as her debate model, not in policy but in demeanor and comportment. The Iron Lady of British politics confronted head-on those who would challenge her. It is time for Hillary to stand up to the vicious, insulting lies, innuendos, misstatements and falsehoods promulgated by Trump and his cohorts. Do so not in a belligerent way but in a detailed, controlled fashion of righteous indignation not just for herself but for the American people who have been hoodwinked by a carnival barker masquerading as a serious candidate for the presidency.

Hillary needs to show emotion to demonstrate how passionate she is to serve the American public and to defend them against the regressive, repressive policies Trump wants to impose. It is time to take the gloves off, time to expose Trump for the clueless, shiftless character he truly is.

Trump does not react well when confronted. He doesn’t react well to strength and criticism. It makes him fabricate the truth and lash out with insults, the type of behavior that makes him an unstable candidate to be president. 

So here’s a sample of what Clinton should say during the first debate: 

If there’s a question about the Clinton Foundation, she should say … “Mr. Trump has questioned the role of the Clinton Foundation. Here’s the truth. The Clinton Foundation has raised and allocated tens of millions of dollars to fund social welfare programs overseas. My husband and I have donated (put amount here) to the foundation. Meanwhile, since 2008 Donald Trump and his family have given zero dollars to the Trump Foundation. He has made a point of saying he is giving away lots of money but it is other people’s money. Moreover, the Trump Foundation has paid out more than a quarter of a million dollars to settle lawsuits against Trump companies and to buy two portraits of Donald Trump for Donald Trump properties, both actions that are illegal. Perhaps Crooked Donald would be an appropriate nickname.

If there’s a question on taxes … “Donald Trump wants to overhaul the tax code. During the last eight years my husband and I have paid (put in actual amount here) in federal taxes. X percent of our annual income. During that same time we have no idea how much Donald Trump earned or paid in taxes because he has cowardly refused to release his taxes. Even though he is being audited the IRS has said he is not prevented from releasing his tax forms. We can only assume he has something to hide, such as his low tax rate, or his entanglements with Russian and Chinese investments that would make it impossible for him to objectively deal with these countries. Donald Trump wants to eliminate the estate tax. The estate tax affects only the wealthiest in our country. It’s another example of how Donald Trump wants to change the tax code so that he and his family and his billionaire and multi-millionaire friends and cronies can benefit while working people bear the burden of their greed."

If there’s a question on Iraq … Donald Trump claims he was against the second Iraq war from the get-go. Not so. Donald Trump  was interviewed on The Howard Stern Show on September 11, 2002. When directly asked by Howard Stern if he was for the invasion of Iraq—before it occurred—Donald Trump said, “Yeah, I guess so.” Yet, the man who has said he would never lie to the American people continues to this day to lie about his support for the war. I regret my vote for the war, but Donald Trump is too cowardly to stand up for his actions.

If there’s a question about how to defeat ISIS … Donald Trump has advocated illegal activity by our military. He has specifically said our military should kill the families of terrorists. He has said we should torture suspected terrorists. He has said we should have taken Iraq’s oil. These are all violations of international law and our own code of military conduct.

If there’s a question on child care … “Mr. Trump last week said he supports child care benefits for employees. Yet he does not provide that benefit to his own employees and had the chutzpah to claim he did so at his hotels when the truth is he provided child care benefits to his wealthy hotel guests but not to his own workers. He would have some credibility if he would be providing child care benefits to those already under his control but he doesn’t. His proposal is nothing more than a campaign come-on. He has no more interest in seeing it put into law than he has shown in his own companies. What’s more, a Republican controlled Congress would never pass such a benefit.”

If there’s a question on the environment … Donald Trump went to Flint, Michigan, recently to provide comfort to the families affected by the polluted water. That was commendable, but let him explain how residents of Flint and the rest of the country would be safeguarded from similar incidents if he follows through on his plan to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency.

If there’s a question on immigration … Donald Trump’s signature theme has been he will build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. And that he is a great negotiator. Yet, when he met with the president of Mexico he was too weak to say during his press conference that the Mexican president told him Mexico would not pay for the wall.

If there’s a question on improving the economy … Mr. Trump claims to be a great businessman. Yet his companies have filed for bankruptcy protection six times. He has claimed he never settles suits. Yet he has done so numerous times. His Trump University is under investigation in several states for fraud. In Florida his charitable foundation made a large contribution to the re-election campaign of the state attorney general within days of her decision not to join other state attorneys general in the investigation. Good business decision by Mr. Trump? I think it looks highly suspicious.

If there’s a question on terrorism … Mr. Trump is against our Constitution. He questions the very foundation of our legal system that you are innocent until proven guilty and that you are entitled to legal defense. He would deny Ahmad Khan Rahami, the alleged pressure cooker bomber, his legal right to an attorney. And he questions our civility in providing medical treatment to his wounds. Is that the type of society America wants to become? I think not.  I hope not. Mr. Trump wants to have a national stop-and-frisk policy even though a federal court ruled it unconstitutional.

If there’s a question on gun control … “Donald Trump falsely claims I want to repeal the second amendment. No, I want to limit the proliferation of assault rifles. I want background checks on all gun purchasers. But tell us, Donald. What would be your words of comfort to the next families whose loved ones are gunned down with an AR-15 or similar type weapon? What would you have told the parents of Sandy Hook? Do you really want us to go back to the days of the Wild West when everyone carried around a revolver? Is that your idea of a civilized society? While citizens of the rest of the free world walk around without weapons you would have us turn into an armed camp.

If there’s a question on the federal budget … Mr. Trump claims to be fiscally conservative. Yet he wants to raise the Pentagon budget beyond what our military leaders want. He wants to build a wall. He wants to lower taxes, all actions that independent tax experts say would increase our national debt. But does Mr. Trump care? Apparently not as he says if he were president he would renegotiate our debt. He would single-handedly destroy the financial credibility of the United States. And that would be a legacy all of us, our children and our grandchildren would pay for for generations to come.

Enough examples. 

The debate is billed as Trump vs. Clinton. But really it is between the values upon which America was built and a re-imagined America that would repress minorities and specific religions, would shun our immigrant heritage, would look to curtail the freedom of the press, the separation of church and state, and the right to vote without harassment,  and would question our national commitment to the good and welfare of all our citizens while rewarding the elite.