I watched the whole hour of the live national security forum with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump last night and came away with the impression that Ms. Clinton knows her stuff, knows how to answer tough — even hostile — questions with calmness and steadiness, and Donald Trump is a whirling dervish of talking points, demonstrably false statements about himself and his record, a thorough lack of knowledge about how things work in our own government, including the military chain of command, and a creepy admiration for the style and legacy of Vladimir Putin, who is clearly not the role model for a democracy.
I thought NBC’s Matt Lauer did a passable job as moderator between the questioning and the follow-up, although I wonder why on several occasions he let Mr. Trump get away with whoppers such as “I never supported the war in Iraq” when the record clearly indicates that he did, and his why his insistence on setting Ms. Clinton’s e-mail history at the State Department as the benchmark for how to run the country.
If you tuned in and had no idea of the history of the people being interviewed, I think you would have come away with the impression that Hillary Clinton is vastly more prepared to do the job than Donald Trump who came across as incapable of having a coherent thought and stating it clearly. He says whatever pops into his head and doesn’t filter or even conjugate the verbs; it just spills out and leaves it to you to put it together, much in the same way you put together one of those 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles of a Jackson Pollack painting. He also seems to have the attention span of a sugared-up eight-year-old: in one simple sentence he’s condemning the generals who advised President Obama and then praising them to the heavens. It’s like a Robin Williams monologue where he crams in as many characters and voices in as short a time as possible. That makes for a great Youtube clip but not someone you want with his hands on anything more consequential than the TV remote.
If this is a preview of the upcoming presidential debates, then prepare yourself for one side of the stage being a TED talk while the other is an audition for “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”