Posted by: Lister | March 10, 2008

A head in the Polls

Winter Patriot points out this quote of Hillary’s:

“I know I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House, I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience that he will bring to the White House, and Senator Obama has a speech that he made in 2002.”

After which he links to James Fallows, who mentions Bill’s campaign against Uber-experienced Bush senior.

I have reached the point of wanting to scream every time I hear about the primacy of “experience,” knowing how skillfully the 46-year old Bill Clinton waved that argument away when it was used against him 16 years ago by a sitting President who simply dwarfed him in high-level experience.* But to pose it in a form that is poison for the party should Obama be the nominee??? To produce a clip that the McCain campaign could run unedited every single day of a campaign against Obama? That is something special.


* I mean, it’s almost incredible to think about, when you consider what constitutes an “experience” edge in this election. The elder George Bush, by the time he ran for re-election, had been president for four years; vice president for eight; ambassador to the UN for two years; de facto ambassador to China for two; Congressman for four; director of the CIA for one year; plus former head of the Republican National Comittee, decorated combat pilot, and commander in chief during one brief hot war and the end of the prolonged Cold War. Moreover, in his “3 a.m.” moments of real crisis, he had used his experience to make sane decisions:handling the collapse of the Soviet empire, standing up against Saddam Hussein, putting together a wartime coalition so broad and supportive that the United States may have actually made money on the Gulf War, then having the sense not to occupy Iraq. Not bad!

Nonetheless, the young, vigorous, though vastly less experienced governor of Arkansas was a better match for America’s needs in 1992 — or so Bill Clinton argued, and I believed. To hear, 16 years later, the Clinton team stress the transcendent importance of a “lifetime of experience” must drive the elder George Bush mad.

I know it’s wrong, and probably not apt for this election since there is a difference between the candidates. (McCain’s “stay in Iraq 100 years” for instance). But the title of the post is from the Futurama election episode, starring John Jackson and Jack Johnson as Presidential Candidates. Hilarious.


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