Virtually since he announced his candidacy for President of the United States, Donald Trump has been subjected to a stream of demands that he issue specific plans on subjects ranging from national defense to immigration to tax reform.
With the exception of his economic plan, a field in which he has more than a passing acquaintance, Trump generally has avoided getting into "the weeds" as pundits and political operatives refer to the fine print, preferring to work in generalizations.
The media obsession with specifics was obvious on a recent broadcast of the O'Reilly Factor, hosted by FOX News political commentator Bill O'Reilly. Trump was being quizzed on his approach to the quickly unraveling situation in the Middle East where Saudi Arabia, ostensibly our ally, and Iran, definitely not an ally, are becoming increasingly belligerent toward each other.
O'Reilly wanted to know whether Trump would send troops to Saudi Arabia to help in case of war, and Trump would not give O'Reilly a definite yes or no, despite the host's insistence. "The American people want some unpredictability," Trump said several times, to O'Reilly's obvious displeasure.
Trump is taking the smart road in his response to the media and other candidates' incessant demands for specifics which, if he obliged them, would then be torn apart and ridiculed even if they are the best plans ever seen on the political stage. It is obvious that American leaders should not be announcing their plans for military action, as has been the case since the Johnson Administration gave our enemies in Vietnam a near daily security briefing on what we would and would not be doing.
In fact, being specific on what you will or won't do in certain situations when you don't have access to all the background information, is pretty stupid. Trying to look like the class genius by having all the answers when you can't possibly have all the intelligence needed to make an informed decision actually makes you look like the class clown, or the class know-it-all. And candidates who do get specific on all manner of issues when they don't have the facts, not only look stupid, but they are playing right into the media's hands, as well as that of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
It is no secret that the media, including most commentators on FOX, don't like Trump and would love to see him knocked out of the box. Failing to get Jeb Bush to the top of the heap, the media, through use of phony polls, has attempted to help one or another of the other GOP hopefuls upset Trump, only to see them all fall. The most recent media darling on the GOP side – a grudging replacement for Bush – is Marco Rubio, a 2nd tier selection of the GOP establishment, who is faring no better than those who preceded him.
But so far Trump, and to a lesser degree Ted Cruz, are avoiding the trip wires and pitfalls. By not getting into specifics on what course of action he would take in the Middle East, Trump is leaving all options on the table and leaving our enemy, in this case Iran, which barely missed hitting one of our aircraft carriers in the Strait of Hormuz with a missile last week, unsure of what we will do if they keep jerking our chains under a Trump presidency.
President Obama by contrast, tells our enemies not only what we will or won't do in current situations, but broadcasts his intentions for weeks, months and years into the future; which is why America has become a laughingstock among the nations of the world.
Nonetheless, pundits regularly mock Trump, using his refusal to get specific as proof that he doesn't know what he is talking about. But it is the pundits who are lacking, not Trump.
He is well aware, through a lifetime of successful business dealings that you don't telegraph your punches and you don't show your cards. You don't do it in military situations, you don't do it in diplomatic situations and you don't do it when you are the president of what used to be the most successful country in the world. Period.
The aforementioned polls also are used as evidence that once past the primaries, voters will flock to Hillary Clinton if Trump is the GOP nominee. Aside from the fact that there still are a dozen GOP contenders for the nomination and no poll is immune from loyalties to other candidates swaying the opinions of respondents, the polls themselves are ridiculous in that many of them involve fewer people than the number of sycophants who turn out for a Clinton campaign appearance.
Mike Huckabee made that point on FOX recently, asking why he should care about the results of a poll that has only a couple of hundred respondents, or the opinions of myriad pundits who have been dead wrong about Trump every single time.
Trump is on the right track by keeping to generalities. He will rebuild the military, he will attack illegal immigration, he will rebuild the economy, he will restore greatness to America, and all he needs to convince most voters than he can do it, is a lifetime of doing, not talking.
And frankly, based on the rabid attacks on Trump from the full spectrum of the mainstream media, including FOX, and the massive turnouts at his campaign events, contrasted to the meager showings at Clinton's, I believe that if he is the GOP nominee he will trounce Clinton in the manner of Reagan vs. Mondale. And I believe that most in the media know that too, and are scared to death that it will happen.