The tone and tenor of the most recent autobiographies of our presidential nominees follow the same tone and tenor of their convention speeches. But Donald J. Trump’s convention speech was painted a pessimistic view of America underscoring crime and violence in America.
In her convention speech, Hillary Clinton had the advantage of going second, which allowed her to respond to Trump’s depressing view of the country and underscoring her own view that the country has many great aspects, including the hard work of Americans who continue to make America great each day.
In this blog, I present chapter summaries from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s most recent autobiographies to help readers discern their view of America, their experience to be president and to get a sense of how they would lead.
PART 4: of Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices – Between Hope and History
Chapter 10: Europe: Ties That Bind
This is a social chapter, where Hillary Clinton lists her many friends in Europe, attends many dinners and shakes many hands. When not discussing NATO or Turkey — two of the biggest challenges to watch in Europe during her tenure — she often looks back to how foreign policy has changed since she was first lady. She spends a significant amount of time discussing Serbia and Kosovo, and ends the chapter in Northern Ireland. She admired German Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite the austerity, and once called French leader Nicolas Sarkozy “her Prince Charming.” Not surprising, given Clinton’s recent emphasis on climate change, she singles out her U.S.-E.U. Energy Council proposal as one of her big focuses in Europe.
Chapter 11 – Russia: Reset and Regression
Much of the chapter works as a defense of the “reset” with Russia and gives Clinton the opportunity to look incredibly prescient on Russia in hindsight. The reset begins with a blunder, when American diplomats hand the Russian foreign minister a reset button that reads “overcharged” instead of “reset.” Clinton thought U.S.-Russian relations were going swimmingly with then-President Dmitry Medvedev but knew things would go downhill when Vladimir Putin returned. When Clinton left the State Department, she warned Obama to take a harder line with Russia.
Chapter 12/Latin America: Democrats and Demagogues
Clinton’s hard choices in Latin America include saying that the problem of drug cartels “is also an American problem” and that the United States has a responsibility to address it; working to keep Cuba out of the Organization of American States while also working to increase the United States’ soft-power influence on the isolated country; and helping Honduras after it suffered a coup.
She says not bringing back USAID contractor Alan Gross was one of her regrets as secretary and described the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez as “a self-aggrandizing dictator who was more of an aggravation than a real threat, except to his own citizens.”
Chapter 13/Africa: Guns or Growth?
Clinton begins her chapter on Africa by posing the question that plagued the State Department during her time there: How to help the progress happening in so many countries while also stemming the “chaos and privation” that still dominate? Clinton’s priorities in the region included working to reward countries that were succeeding at democracy, helping stop violence against women, expanding PEPFAR — President George W. Bush’s program to fight HIV/AIDS in the region — and helping poor and hungry families. She discusses China’s growing economic influence in the region, South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela’s influence and that time a Kenyan councilman wanted to trade 40 goats and 20 cows for Chelsea Clinton’s hand in marriage.
Donald Trump’s Crippled America / Chapter 6 The Energy Debate: A lot of hot air
In this chapter Donald Trump contends that climate change is a myth. He argues that there is oil in America and natural gas and we should use that. It will last us until next century and by then we’ll all be dead anyway. He also believes that the Keystone XL pipeline should be allowed to go ahead. We should drill everywhere oil is accessible. He also argues that wind power is the worst because it ruins the view from golf courses.