Hillary, I Hardly Know You

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.


9 responses to “Hillary, I Hardly Know You

  1. freadine johnson

    What this country needs is OBAMA, someone not already tainted by the corruption in the government. New ideals,fresh approach…..I truly believe in what he sees for this country. The world is watching……..

  2. The dealbreaker for me was her response on 60 minutes to the charges that Obama was a Muslim. “To my knowledge there’s no basis for it.” To my knowledge? Trying to leave open that smidgen of doubt, Hill?
    I don’t blame her for pushing any button she can to cast Obama as less qualified than her. I just think she’s trying so hard she’s coming off as 1) desperate and 2) entitled. She seems to have the idea that she deserves this, just because it’s the deal she made with Bill back in 1980-something–first you, than me. You really feel like Obama is coming from the idea of wanting to serve the country, and she’s wanting to serve her ambition.
    She should just call Obama now and ask to be his running mate. For the good of the country and the party.

  3. Come on. Obama is not any cleaner than Hillary when it comes to politics. He accepts money from exhortionists, quotes and respects his pastor who is a flag waver for Louis Farrakhan, a known Islamic, and lives with a woman who has “NEVER” been proud of her country, and now wants to be MY first lady. Get real. Go McCain. At least he was proud of his country enough to withstand being a POW.

  4. McCain spent 5 1/2 years as POW and that in some way prepares him to be president?

    Personally, I think that he left some of his marbles at the Hanoi Hilton when he insists that the Iraq fiasco is a noble cause.

  5. I’ve often wondered the same: how much foreign policy experience can a NY Senator have gained during her tenure? And talking up her role as first lady seems a shifty and disingenuous act. At times I have to ask myself when reading Hillary’s claims to foreign policy (and other) fame, was Bill even president at all?

    Besides, the argument that experience is the only or overriding characteristic that qualifies a candidate for leadership seems flawed to me. If that were the case then Cheney would make a better president than any of the current contenders. And that’s, frankly, scary.

    (“… a known Islamic”? WTF?)

  6. It is my policy to welcome comments, even those that I don’t support. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t respond to those comments.

    I also had a WTF reaction to the phrase in exemployee’s comment re ” a known Islamic. ” Farrakhan leads the Nation of Islam and I’m guessing that is the source of the reference, although I hesitate to call what Minister Farrakhan professes as religious belief to have any more to do with the Islamic faith than bombing family planning clinics and murdering doctors and nurses who work there has to do with Christianity. As for Barack Obama, he hasn’t minced any words in reproaching his pastor’s support of Farrakhan and rejecting Farrakhan’s anti-semetic rhetoric. The trouble with Farrakhan isn’t his professing to believe in Islam; the trouble is that he is a bigot, and like all bigots, must be checked.

    As for Michelle Obama and her pride in this country, it’s a bit difficult to have unqualified pride in a country that enslaved your people for centuries, released them from bondage but then enacted laws to strip them of basic rights of citizenship–voting, living where you wanted, marrying whom you wanted, receiving a quality education, owning your own business, what the hell, the list is way too long to type out here.

  7. i empathinze with your shifting position. i have been less than concrete in my support of her after listening to unnecessary remark after unnecessary remark. i just don’t think that more of the same is any good. even if something else is completely not guaranteed.

  8. First, as Sheria kindly noted above, I am appalled by Hillary’s scorched earth strategy. I expected better from her, and I foolishly expected that the Democratic Party elders would not allow such fratricidal behavior during the primaries. However, it’s apparent that they are increasingly uncomfortable with Obama as the nominee, for the same reasons that I am increasingly convinced that he’s the only prophet who truly desires to lead us out of the wilderness.

    In short, Hillary and her BBF McCain are more of the same, and if I have to watch the powers that be twist the Democratic Party nomination process to ensure that outcome, they will lose this lifelong Democrat.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if, in the struggle to push Hillary into the lead, they made the Democrat Party irrelevant, just at the time when GWB’s reign of error had almost ensured the same for the Republican Party?

    That’s my (former?) party – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory yet again.

  9. bestchildrensbooks1

    Great Post & thanks for sharing.

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