Watching Hillary Clinton’s latest attack ad on Donald Trump, I am struck by how effective the commercial is in driving home the fatal flaw of the presidential candidate. Though not for the candidate the advertisement targets and not for reasoning behind the ad. The commercial aims at some of the crasser comments made by Donald Trump, and concludes with an admonition that our children are watching.
Indeed Mrs. Clinton, it is the fact that our children are watching that disqualifies you to be president because of your morally bankrupt decision to leave Americans behind to die in Benghazi. It is the fact that our children are watching that disqualifies you to be president because of your Machiavellian decision to set up a private email server while secretary of state to avoid accountability for fatally flawed decisions like Benghazi and to hide your pay-to-play scheme aimed at feeding yours and your husband’s seemingly insatiable desire for money and power.
It is the fact that our children are watching that disqualifies you to be president because of your concerted effort to obstruct the Department of Justice investigation into your reckless handling of classified communications through that same private server and your obvious perjury in testimony before the House oversight committee investigating the matter. It is the fact that our children are watching that disqualifies you to be president because of the way in which you and your political hacks tear the country apart at the seams waging class and race warfare in a raw and desperate play for political power. The list goes on and on.
Your legalistic acrobatics and moral obfuscations should, of course, come as no surprise. After all, it was your husband’s moral bankruptcy and misogyny that led to the sexual abuse and subsequent character assassination of a young White House intern and countless other women. This tragic deconstruction of the U.S. presidency resulted in the now infamous, classically Clinton-esk phrase: “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”
There was a time when we imbued our children foremost with the importance of honesty. When we told them stories of George Washington confessing: “Father, I cannot tell a lie,” having been caught chopping down the cherry tree. Or the tale of Abraham Lincoln walking miles after a long day’s work to return a few pennies to a lady who had left her change behind. Donald Trump surely does not possess the politically correct, slick-tongued skills of a trial lawyer or career politician. He uses the plain-spoken language of the men and women who work the construction trade where he made his bones rather than that of the ivy-towered elites that are clinging desperately to the house of cards they have built for themselves at the expense of the country and those who built it.
Yes, Mrs. Clinton, our children are watching. This is why you can never be president. Donald Trump may have the sharp elbows and tough, straight talk that is the tradition of American populist candidates, but he is no liar. Our children and our country depend on a return to the truth.
John T. McNabb, a former executive at the Willbros Group and Duff & Phelps, is an emeritus member of the Board of Visitors of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.