I was a real fan of Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady. I thought it was wonderful that her interests expanded beyond selecting a new china pattern for the White House. That’s why it really pains me to have to ask, Hillary, have you lost your mind up in here?
Throughout her campaign, Hillary has been dropping little comments about Obama’s lack of experience and therefore qualifications as commander-in-chief, and touting her own experience as preparing her for the job. The pointed focus of her 3:00 A.M. phone call commercial is her vast experience versus Obama’s lack of experience. However, she has outdone herself with her assertions at a recent press conference on March 6, aligning her own experience with Republican nominee John McCain and dismissing Obama as not being in their league.
“I think that since we now know Sen. (John) McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. We all know that. And I think it’s imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold,” the New York senator told reporters crowded into an infant’s bedroom-sized hotel conference room in Washington.
“I believe that I’ve done that. Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you’ll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy,” she said.
Calling McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee a good friend and a “distinguished man with a great history of service to our country,” Clinton said, “Both of us will be on that stage having crossed that threshold. That is a critical criterion for the next Democratic nominee to deal with.”
I first read the text of this press conference in my friend Bruce’s blog, Self-Sufficient Steward, and was in total accord with his astute assessment that Hillary is trying to scare the American public into voting for her with a message of “nominate me or suffer the dire consequences!”
Hillary’s ongoing litany about her vast experience has puzzled me from the start. Thinking that perhaps I had missed some significant part of her career, I did a little research. (I love the Internet!)
Yep, Hillary has an impressive pedigree as a lawyer; she was the first woman to make partner at the Rose Law Firm where she worked from 1977-1993, with a few breaks to birth Chelsea and aid Bill with his political campaigns. I’ve never made partner anywhere but I am a lawyer; maybe I have the experience to answer that call at three AM. Dang, but I’ve never been First Lady. Hillary has been First Lady twice, but I don’t think that First Lady is an elected position, it’s just a title bestowed on you because you’re a woman married to the president. Maybe Nancy Reagan should be president, after all someone had to be running the country towards the end of her husband’s presidency, given his unfortunate affliction with Alzheimers.
So what exactly has Hillary Clinton done to demonstrate that she is qualified to cross the commander-in-chief threshold?
She alleges that she was active in foreign policy decisions during her tenure as First Lady, but there seems to be a lack of evidence to back up her claims. She visited Northern Ireland and says that she was essential in helping peace to that region; unfortunately, no one else recalls it that way. She also claims credit for brokering the deal that resulted in Macedonia opening its borders to refugees from Kosovo. However, official records confirm that the Macedonia accord regarding the Kosovo refugees was signed the day before Hillary arrived in the country. Hillary also cites her one day visit to Bosnia, accompanied by comedian Sinbad, musician Sheryl Crow, and daughter Chelsea (her foreign policy advisors?) as evidence of her foreign policy experience.
Granted, Hillary presumably had the president’s ear during her time in the White House, and no doubt provided him with her insight on issues of domestic and foreign policy, but the one issue that she and Bill have avowed that she advised him to act on was to take US military action to stop the genocide in Rwanda. Evidently, Bill didn’t listen. The official buzz is that there was never any consideration of US military intervention in Rwanda during the Clinton administration, and in memoirs by each of the Clinton’s and Madeline ALbright, no mention is made of Hillary’s advice regarding Rwanda. Her advice has only been announced during her presidential campaign.
Hillary’s own political experience consists of her terms from 2001 to the present as the junior senator from New York. That is the sum total of her experience. Not that such experience should be dismissed lightly, but I’m hard pressed to understand how it makes her any more qualified to cross the three AM phone call threshold than Barack Obama, who served as an Illinois state senator from 1997-2004, and is currently the junior senator from Illinois in the US Senate (elected in November 2004).
I’m angry with and embarrassed for Hillary Clinton. This fabrication of a non-issue is beneath her. It is rare that any first time presidential candidate has any noteworthy foreign policy experience. Our constitution places limits on who gets to negotiate foreign policy (I know that you might not believe this if you’ve seen Tom Hanks’ movie, Charlie Wilson’s War.) Even John McCain has not had substantive foreign policy experience (being a POW doesn’t count).
Hillary has not only opened her own record up to attack, but she has also dealt a negative blow to her own party. If the measure for choosing a president were strictly based on foreign policy experience, John McCain appears to have a slight edge over either Clinton or Obama, but no election should be based on a single issue or factor. Presidential Campaigns have to be about the multiple issues that affect the citizens who live in this country.
Shame on you, Hillary, shame.
PS In the interest of full disclosure, I support Barack Obama for president; however, until now, I still had respect for Hillary Clinton.