Stripped of its excesses, Donald Trump's Wednesday speech contains all the ingredients of a campaign that can defeat Hillary Clinton this fall. Indeed, after the speech ended Clinton was suddenly defending the Clinton Foundation against the charge that it is a front for a racket for her family's enrichment.
The specific charges in Trump's indictment of Clinton: She is mendacious, corrupt, incompetent and a hypocrite. "Hillary Clinton ... is a world-class liar," said Trump. She faked a story about being under fire at a Bosnia airport, the kind of claim for which TV anchors get fired. She has lied repeatedly about her email server. She lied to the families of victims of the Benghazi massacre by implying the atrocity was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video, not the premeditated act of Islamist terror she knew it to be.
Drop "world-class" and Trump's case is open and shut.
His second charge: "Hillary has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft" and "may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency."
Bill Clinton got $750,000 for a speech from a telecom company facing State Department sanctions for providing technology to Iran. The Clintons got the cash; the telecom company got no sanctions. "Hillary Clinton's State Department approved the transfer of 20 percent of America's uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation." Trump added, "She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund — doing favors for oppressive regimes ... for cash." Together, she and Bill have raked in $153 million since 2001 in speaking fees from "lobbyists, CEOs and foreign governments."
These figures are almost beyond belief.
Sherman Adams had to resign as Ike's chief of staff for accepting a vicuna coat from Bernard Goldfine, who had problems with federal regulators.
When ex-President Reagan, after brain surgery, visited Japan to receive that nation's highest honor, The Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, and got a $2 million fee from the media company that hosted his nine-day visit, our liberal editorial pages vomited out their revulsion and disgust.
Where are those media watchdogs today?
Rather than condemning the Clintons' greed, their conflicts of interest and their egregious exploitation of their offices, the media are covering for Hillary and digging for dirt on Trump.
To substantiate his charge of incompetence, Trump notes that Clinton as Senator voted for arguably the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history, the invasion of Iraq.
She pushed the attack that ousted Col. Gadhafi and unleashed terrorists who took over much of Libya and murdered our ambassador.
She played a leading role in launching the insurrection against Bashar Assad that has left hundreds of thousands dead, uprooted half of Syria and sent millions of refugees to seek asylum in Europe.
Primary beneficiary: ISIS, with its capital in Raqqa.
And the hypocrisy charge?
Though Hillary and Bill Clinton profess to be the fighting champions of women's equality and gay rights, they have banked millions in speaking feels and tens of millions in contributions to the Clinton Foundation from Islamic regimes under whose rule women are treated as chattel and homosexuals are flogged, beheaded and stoned to death.
Why do major media let them get away with such hypocrisy? Because, ideologically, politically, socially, morally and culturally, the major media are with them.
While making the case for the indictment of Hillary Clinton, Trump also outlined an agenda with appeal not only to nationalists, populists and conservatives but working-class and minority Democrats.
If Trump is elected, an economic system "rigged" to enable big corporations to leave and take factories and jobs abroad, and bring their goods back free of charge to kill companies that stay in America, will end. "Globalism" will be replaced by "Americanism."
Trade and tax policies will be rewritten to provide incentives for companies to bring jobs and factories here. Was this not also Bernie Sanders' message? He stood against NAFTA in the 1990s when the Clintons colluded with Bush Republicans to impose it.
In his peroration, Trump spoke of what we Americans had done, how we had lost our way, but how we could, together, make her great again. His finale was surprisingly aspirational, hopeful, inclusive.
In the political year just ended, several unmistakable messages have been delivered. First, the record turnout for Trump and remarkable turnout for Ted Cruz represented a repudiation of Beltway Republicanism. Second, the amazing success of 74-year-old Socialist Bernie Sanders in keeping Clinton embattled until California, showed that the Democratic young have had enough of Clintonism.
A majority of the nation said loud and clear: We want change.
Hillary Clinton's vulnerability is that Americans distrust her; no one believes she represents change; and she has no agenda and no vision. Her campaign for president is all about her. As Trump noted, even her slogan is, "I'm with her."
Rough and raw as it was in parts, Donald Trump's speech on Wednesday contains the elements of a campaign that can win.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)
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