Now, How About That “Experience”?

On top of everything else going on right now, a Freedom of Information Act suit has resulted in the release of about 11,000 pages of White House records detailing Hillary Clinton’s schedule and actions as the First Lady.

For the first time, journalists all over the place get to fina lly dig through at least 8 of the 35 years that Clinton has been selling off as experience in order to judiciously decide if this is valuable experience or not.

To clarify, time is time, and with time always comes experience.  Obama is in his mid forties, meaning that he has a grand total of over twenty years of adult experience to lean on.  Hillary, 60, has 42.  McCain, 71, requires higher math to calculate how many years of adult experience he has accrued.

But there are two questions that must be asked when it comes to experience.  The first is, how much of that experience is particularly relevant?  The second is, even if the experience is relevant, is it good?

One of my favorite lines from the Obama campaign remains to this day, “Nobody had longer resumes than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfield, and that didn’t work out too well.”

Absolutely germane to Hillary Clinton’s 35 years of experience is her 8 years as the First Lady.  This was to be the crucible in which she was cut to be the next President of the United States.  Her proximity to Bill Clinton when he was making the important decisions in this country supposedly lent the kind of experience she would need when it becomes her turn in the Oval Office behind the desk.

That’s been the sales pitch, but does it truly match up?  We won’t know definitively for some time; 11,000 pages is a lot to go through, and I’m sure a great deal of it is absolutely mind numbing.  But already, on the same day they were released, two items have already thrown up red flags.

The first is regarding NAFTA.  She was for it.  Really for it.  So for NAFTA that the women she had a meeting with regarding NAFTA are a little cheesed off to find she’s now panning the thing.

Now, this was years ago, so people’s minds change, so I suppose this is okay except two things are kind of bothering me here.  For one, in Ohio, Clinton really tried to not only run a hard edge against NAFTA, she also kind of tried to retroactively distance herself from it, putting us at odds with the news we learn of today.  The other thing is that not only did Hillary run this hard edge against NAFTA, she attacked Obama for his duplicity on the subject that in truth she apparently was also guilty of.

My point.  If you’re for NAFTA, say you’re for it.  If you were for NAFTA, but you aren’t, say so.  This kind of game of you’re guilty of the same thing I am but I’m pointing the finger at you because you got caught before me stuff has got to kindly leave.

The other red flag goes to the heart of Hillary Clinton’s claims that she has passed a Commander in Chief “test”, one that she had apparently taken while serving as the First Lady.  She was, after all, standing right by Bill Clinton during all of the big foreign policy decisions of the nineties, right?

Not so much.

During two key events, Hillary Clinton was nowhere near the actual decision making process.  Of these two key events, she has actively claimed that she played a vital role in one of them.

When Bill Clinton ordered the air-strike on Serbia, Hillary Clinton was on vacation touring the pyramids, and while Clinton says she helped negotiate the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland, she was actually at the National Press Club in Washington.

Again, my aim here is not to completely disparage.  Mrs. Clinton could possibly become the nominee of my party, and I’m increasingly coming to a point where I don’t want to sling mud on her unduly.

But there is a lesson to be learned about all of this.  She needs to find a new schtick, and find it fast.  The experience thing is workable against Obama because he doesn’t have much of a claim to traditional experience.  He has a lot of life experience, but different people are going to take that in different ways.

Even if she had a White House record that absolutely sparkled and matched up word for word with the claims that she has been making on the campaign trail, though, it would still be a hard sell for her to make that her experience is even worthy  to be compared to McCain’s.

I’m not trying to say that McCain is better than Hillary, I’m just saying she is setting herself up for a fight that she is guaranteed to lose.  The idea, folks, is not to have an experience contest, it is to make the case that McCain’s experience will not equate to a beneficial presidency, and while neither Obama nor Hillary have the experience he has, they have the intelligence, the comprehension, and the ideas to guide this country to a better direction.

3 Responses to “Now, How About That “Experience”?”

  1. Dynamic says:

    I agree with the notion about stopping the mudslinging towards Hillary (I made a post about living up to Obama’s example today over at Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/20/03043/9802/576/480459 ), but it’s also important to ensure that the facts are laid bare.

    It’s good that this has arrived in time for Pennsylvania’s primary.

  2. Well, I don’t want to be a downer, but I don’t think that Pennsylvania is going to be particularly kind to Obama no matter what. We’ll have to wait and see.

  3. Dynamic says:

    I don’t think it has to be all that kind; it just has to be over.

    Once it’s over, the superdelegates can start siding with Obama because the contest will be essentially over, and Obama will have won it. Yesterday the NYT had an article titled “Clinton’s Path To Nomination Narrowing” about how she really didn’t have a serious chance. People are starting to turn against her, and PA is less a firewall and more a polite send-off in that context.

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