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Brent Budowsky: Hillary beats the bully

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If Jeb Bush were as tough as Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonSanders calls on Calif. Dems to pursue 'new direction' Reid: 'Lay off' Sanders criticism Report: Nearly 5K felons have registered to vote in Virginia MORE in dealing with Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls on Calif. Dems to pursue 'new direction' Reid: 'Lay off' Sanders criticism Reid: Trump's Vince Foster comments 'show how desperate he is' MORE the bully, the Bush campaign would not be on the verge of extinction.

Too bad for Jeb. Good for Hillary.

First and foremost, Clinton was absolutely right in charging that the GOP front-runner is using what many call bigotry against Muslims, and in the process helping terrorists who are trying to kill Americans. A large majority of national security officials at home, as well as foreign leaders allied with the United States to defeat and destroy terrorism, agree very much with Clinton’s charge against Trump. Trump could not even schedule a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Americans will not vote for a potential commander in chief who praises Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and helps terrorists who are trying to kill Americans.

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Beyond the issue of Trump’s destructive comments about Muslims, and his bizarre but revealing bromance with Putin, is how Clinton showed woman and others how to deal with bullies such as the real estate tycoon.

When the former first lady addressed herself to girls who have been bullied, as she did on Tuesday, she demonstrated a warmth, compassion and sensitivity that was worthy of a president as she advised them to stand up for their rights.

When Clinton addresses Trump, who provides the gold standard for low-end bullying in American public life, she provides the gold standard of toughness, firmness and resolve that is needed to lead the nation in a hard and tough world.

Trump has insulted, berated and demeaned women, repeatedly using terms such as fat slobs and bimbos. He even dished personal insults against the highly respected Fox News host Megyn Kelly, whom I strongly supported and applauded in a column earlier in the campaign. If Trump ever tried to make these statements about women in a presidential debate with Clinton standing across the stage, she would administer some serious schooling that he would remember for the rest of his life. 

Trump had the audacity and ignorance to insult heroic American POWs when he virtually bragged that he prefers American troops who were never captured. For a man who accumulated draft deferments to be so condescending and arrogant toward American POWs is an act of delusion and disgrace that is unprecedented in the history of presidential politics. If he were to repeat his derision of POWs in a presidential debate with Clinton sitting across the stage, he would be scorned from coast to coast for the rest of his life!

Trump has insulted Hispanics by using dog whistle language about rapists and murderers. He has offended blacks so egregiously that even some he once considered friends in the black community have felt a need to denounce his tactics. He has insulted and demeaned disabled Americans with his ludicrous and ugly physical impersonations of a reporter for The New York Times. He has even insulted and berated Republican opponents such as Bush who have appeared hapless and feckless trying to defend themselves.

The belligerent billionaire is often like a child who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. First he levels the insult. Then he says he didn’t mean it. Then he refuses to apologize for his insults. Then he claims that many of the people in the groups he insulted are really his closest friends.

Trump may fool many Republican voters. He may fool many in the mainstream media who persist in claiming that his tactics are working, when a basic RealClearPolitics search tells the truth of the story, which is that Hillary Clinton might well administer serious punishment to Donald Trump and Republicans in a general election. 

Bullies need to be put in their place, with the kind of strength, resolve and character that the former secretary of State has shown in the way she takes charge in the campaign against Trump. And Trump knows Clinton has gotten the better of him, which is why he is reduced to vulgar, sexist and offensive comments as she stands her ground.

Trump can cite his poll numbers all he wants, but it must drive him up a Christmas tree to know that the woman who would become the first female U.S. president will, according to polls, beat him to a pulp in the general election if the GOP is suicidal enough to nominate him.

When Trump degrades himself by suggesting that Clinton taking a bathroom break during the most recent Democratic debate is “disgusting,” he is making it clear that he knows Clinton is the superior candidate and he has nothing better to offer the nation than junior high school vulgarity and discredited nonsense that led the independent fact checker Politifact to conclude that his repeated false and inaccurate statements give him its 2015 Lie of the Year.

Trump is now “warning” Clinton to stop standing up for women, and raising issues that are important to women, and fighting back against those who would bully women.

Let me warn Trump instead: he is going to keep losing this battle. He should apologize to Hillary Clinton for his vulgar, sexist and offensive words against her.

If Trump persists in his bully tactics against Clinton he is going to learn the hard way that while he may be the favored candidate of Putin, Americans by landslide numbers would prefer Clinton to be dealing with Putin while sending Trump back to the reality television circuit where he belongs.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sens. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Contributors blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.