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Democrats talk tough, channel Republicans circa 2004 on national security

David Harsanyi of the Federalist summed up the 2016 Democratic National Convention perfectly with a single tweet after Hillary Clinton delivered her acceptance speech last night:

Back in September 2004, when it was becoming clear that the U.S. occupation in Iraq was going terribly wrong, and President George W. Bush’s approval ratings had dropped to the lowest they’d ever been, Republicans organized a convention brimming with patriotism and American exceptionalism. The Democratic Party, and its nominee John Kerry, were depicted as wussy, unpatriotic, French-loving girly-men who were insufficiently loyal to the United States.

The speakers that were lined up to endorse Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were unapologetic supporters of the Iraq war, and they were proud to wear patriotism on their sleeves. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former New York governor George Pataki, Arizona Senator John McCain and General Tommy Franks were all given prime time speaking slots and all delivered the same message: George W. Bush is a steady commander-in-chief and a killer of Al-Qaeda terrorists. John Kerry? He was a privileged politician who would rather engage in meaningless summits than unleash the full might of the U.S. military.

RELATED: Former defense secretary Leon Panetta says Trump’s world positions are a crazy “gamble”

“The contrasts [between Bush and Kerry] are dramatic,” Giuliani said at the time. “President Bush will make certain that we are combating terrorism at the source, beyond our shores, so we can reduce the risk of having to confront it in the streets of New York….John Kerry’s record of inconsistent positions on combating terrorism gives us no confidence he’ll pursue such a determined course.”

Twelve years later, it’s the Democratic Party that’s making the national security argument. Granted, they may not have been as gung-ho about the military, but speaker after speaker with immense national security experience lined up at the podium to deliver a blistering warning: Donald Trump and the GOP he leads are a danger to the security of the United States.

Former CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta:

In an unstable world, we cannot afford unstable leadership. We cannot afford someone who believes America should withdraw from the world, threatens our international treaties and violates our moral principles.

Former Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen:

We will lead and strengthen NATO…and America will stop the spread of nuclear weapons and keep them from dangerous states and groups. Our armed forces will be stronger. They will have the finest weapons and equipment. They will have the support of the American people, and the American military will continue to be the shining example of America at our very best.

Vice President Joe Biden:

No major party, no major party nominee in the history of this nation has ever known less or has been less prepared to deal with our national security. We cannot elect a man who exploits our fears of ISIS and other terrorists, who has no plan whatsoever to make us safer.

President Barack Obama:

He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men and women and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom and dignity and human rights. He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, tells our NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection. Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. We bear our burdens.

The examples from the past four days are endless.

RELATED: Democrats try their hand at throwing a Republican convention, with mixed results

Democrats, the party that historically polls lower on national security than Republicans (think Reagan vs. Carter, Reagan vs. Mondale, Bush vs. Dukakis, Bush 43 vs. Gore, Bush 43 vs. Kerry), are flipping the script and categorizing the GOP as the party of isolationism, backward thinking and shrinking global leadership.

Hillary Clinton’s speech last night was dominated by the theme of American exceptionalism. America, she said, is not as weak as Trump describes, but is rather the same guarantor of international peace that past Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan believed it was.

Clinton took that Reagan mantle and ran with it. Trump, on the other hand, couldn’t have sounded further from the Reagan doctrine.

This post is from RareRare. Click here to read the full text

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