Professor Mike Clark waited until his honors class had all taken a seat at the conference table. It amused him to see, that with few exceptions, they had taken the seats they had taken at the first class. The room got quiet as he entered and stood at the head of the table.
“Good morning. I assume you are all prepared so I’ll call on the first speaker. Who is supporting Secretary Clinton as our next Commander-in-Chief?”
Several hands raised, and he said, “Okay, Alice, the floor is yours.”
Alice stood and looked around the table and began her ten minutes of reasoning. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t imagine electing anyone to sit in the White House who hasn’t had some years of military or civilian command experience in the ranks of Government. Nothing the President does is as important as keeping our citizens and the nation safe from foreign threats. Premier Putin is acting as if he were a Russian Czar in the eighteenth century. China is expanding and consolidating both its internal territory and its aggressive development of control of the South China Sea. Who can believe that dredging up the sea bed to create military strong points in the South China Sea and challenge the claims of its neighbors to the economic wealth of undersea oil deposits and the traditional right of all nations to the use of international sea lanes is for anything but Chinese domination of the area?
“What better preparation is there for anyone seeking to be President than the experience gained from years as Secretary of State? Secretary Clinton has traveled extensively throughout the world and personally knows nearly all the world’s leaders. She has studied the Middle East and understands the complexities of the competing powers and the cultural and religious dynamics of this volatile area. The Secretary was a key designer of our new relationship with Iran. This was a very complex undertaking that will provide peace and security to the region and, indeed, to the rest of the world. You shouldn’t minimize her tenure as a Senator representing perhaps our most important state. How else could a candidate understand from their first day in office the actual working relationship of the Congress and the White House?
“Her experience is unique due to her close understanding of the interrelationship of the White House, the Defense Department, the Department of State, and the various intelligence players. She knows the people who make up the government’s national security force. What other Presidential candidate has ever had her depth of experience and knowledge? I vote for Secretary Hillary Clinton to be our next Commander-in-Chief.”
Alice sat down amid some applause. Professor Clark said, “Thank you,” and asked for show of hands of those who wanted to explain why they chose Donald Trump to be their next CINC. Looking over the several raised hands he said, “Edward, you have the floor.”
Edward smiled and stood behind his chair. He opened by saying, “We have had several effective and ineffective Presidents who came from many different backgrounds. I don’t think their backgrounds mattered much in their governing. In fact, in some cases, their backgrounds, although they seemed very desirable for filling the chair of Commander-in-Chief, were actually a handicap. There is no previous background that prepares anyone for the role. Instead it is the intangibles of leadership, character, vision, discipline, intelligence, judgment, people skills, ego, and toughness – physical and mental – that enable a candidate to be a good Commander-in-Chief.
“Donald Trump has many of those attributes in his makeup. He has used all of them to acquire immense wealth from a business empire he personally developed and managed. He had to be a good judge of the potential of subordinates, have an understanding of the power of maintaining morale, maintain a consistent effort on a broad front of competing areas for attention and resources, an ability to learn from mistakes, and as the gambler said, ‘Know when to hold them and when to fold them.’ That characteristic is necessary in today’s world of shifting alliances.
“Donald Trump has those qualities and he does not have a rigid ideology that drives his actions. If it furthers the mission and deserves the resources required, then the activity is good and should be continued as long as the mission remains desirable and resources are available. The Commander-in-Chief must be his own man. He cannot be owned or directed by others for their own gain. Donald Trump doesn’t need more wealth. People too often keep doing what they know how to do even when taking on new and different tasks. Mr. Trump doesn’t have that debilitating fault. He will not be limited by his past experience. He will be a truly pragmatic Commander-in-Chief. Thank you.”
“Alice and Edward, thank you both for a good opening. I want both of you to divide the others into two groups, one for Clinton and one for Trump. Alice and Edward will lead their respective supporters, at least until the next class gets started. If anyone else believes they have something to say that is pertinent, you will have to convince your two current leaders to give you the time. You may spend the rest of our class time preparing for the next meeting.”