If you believe the pundits – and why should you given that virtually every one of them emphatically assured us that Donald J Trump would never be the Republican nominee? Anyway, if you believe the pundits, they claim that Hillary Clinton’s so-called foreign policy speech Thursday was “a turning point in the campaign.” If I had the time and patience, I could perhaps construct one of those rapid-fire montages that the Daily Show made famous: [cut to Eugene Robinson: “turning point,” cut to Rachel Maddow: “turning point,” cut to Hendrik Hertzberg, “turning point,”]. A turning point, I assume, in that Clinton has gone from reactive to proactive, has taken control of the news cycle.
People were expecting a boring speech on national security, but instead they got sardonic stand up:
”There’s no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf course deal.”
“Donald Trump says, ‘I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.’ Well, [semi-eye roll] I don’t believe him.”
The speech was well delivered, more conversational, less strident.
Not surprisingly, Clinton didn’t mention her foreign policy legacy during the speech, the vote on the Iraq war, the debacle in Libya, etc. Essentially, she used Trump’s own words to illustrate just how unstable, intemperate, and megalomaniacal he is, something Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were loath to do until it was too late. Obviously, Clinton has nothing to lose by alienating the Republican base, that fraying quilt of evangelists, secessionists, country club members, and unreconstructed Confederates.
It may also be a turning point in that on the Friday before the New Jersey and California primaries none of the pundits were talking about the Democratic horserace.
To politically correctly emend that operatic cliché, “the big-boned lady has sung.”
Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, and she might be more of an effective campaigner than we had imagined.