Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

November 21, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CLINTON vs. OBAMA....The latest sniping:

Barack Obama, on Monday: "Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact I spent four years overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia."

Hillary Clinton, on Tuesday: "Voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face. I think we need a president with more experience than that."

Barack Obama, later on Tuesday: "I was wondering which world leader told her that we needed to invade Iraq."

I don't know who "won" this exchange, but Obama practically painted a bullseye on his chest with his initial comment. No opponent with a pulse would have passed up the chance to throw it back in his face.

The good news for Obama, however, is that it gave him a chance to tweak Hillary yet again about Iraq. I don't know for sure if that's a winning strategy, given that his forward strategy for withdrawal isn't very different from HRC's, but it's a helluva lot better than Social Security. If he wants to distinguish himself more sharply from Hillary, this is the place to do it.

Kevin Drum 1:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (72)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

To my of thinking, the whole exchange makes them both look "bad".

Posted by: TK on November 21, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta score this one for Hillary.

I think that Obama's comeback was extremely lame -- all it managed to do was reiterate the Iraq war argument that already played out for Obama months ago.

Jesus, does Obama himself think that his experiences at age 10 are the strongest thing in his background qualifying him for conducting foreign policy? How is that not an argument against his competence at foreign policy?

At bare minimum, it's an argument against his being anything but the most naive of politicians. Maybe they ooh and aah when you say that sort of thing and are running for President of Harvard Law Review, but man is it sorry coming out of the mouth of someone who intends to be the next President of the United States.

Posted by: frankly0 on November 21, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

If he wants to distinguish himself more sharply from Hillary, this [Iraq] is the place to do it.

At this point, winning Iowa is not about drawing distinctions on policy or experience. It is solely about (a) who can be trusted and (b) who is more likely to bring about real change.

Obama can win if he focuses on driving home these two messages. He will undermine his chances in Iowa if he or his campaign lose those two focuses -- especially the first -- and instead focus on some inconsequential policy differences.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 21, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is being quoted out of context by both Clinton and the media. Read the original interview in Salon and the question Obama was asked: http://www.samspeak.com/2007/11/for-record.html

Posted by: Floyd Waterson on November 21, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

And we are going to be hearing this sort of rubbish nonstop for the next year.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 21, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact I spent four years overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia."

He's right! That probably is the most foreign policy experience he has!

Posted by: JC on November 21, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I think the point that Obama -- unlike pretty much every US presidential candidate to date --- has real-life experience of living overseas instead of just visiting is a valuable perspective. He just needs to find a better way to get that point across.

Oh, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family, Kevin!

Posted by: lux on November 21, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Floyd: You've got the wrong quote. Here's what Clinton was responding to:

"I sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So I have frequent interaction with world leaders who come to visit here, and I take trips on various fact-finding missions, whether it's to Iraq or Russia or Africa. But you know, probably, the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact that I spent four years living overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia."

Posted by: Kevin Drum on November 21, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is being quoted out of context by both Clinton and the media.

And he better expect to be misquoted every time he speaks -- from now until the caucases. He has to stop fighting the wrong battle and shooting from the hip. Folks in Iowa don't care about the experience issue anywhere near as much as the issues of trust and change.

All of his statements should be about "trust" and "change." Those issues are sticking; the issues of differences in experience and policy are not sticking.

At this point, if he wants to control the terms of the debate, he has to do so with sharp, continued attacks directed at HRC's (alleged?) weaknesses: insincerity and more-of-the-same politics.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 21, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still waiting to hear why Hillary is considered to be the more "experienced" candidate.

Posted by: believe it when I see it on November 21, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

uh, Tony Blair for one, Barack.

This round goes to Hillary for the high quality of her snark. I'm not going to pretend that either one of them is a foreign policy expert.

Posted by: Dawn on November 21, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary has as much International experience as any as "First-Lady" (e.g. Laura Bush or Nancy Reagan)which is probably why she got the votes on Iraq and Iran soooo wrong. Unfortunately, her First-Lady "experience" could lead to another foreign fisaco while her "strength" would prevent her from acknowledging it. Hillary wasn't co-president and Obama got it right on Iraq and Iran.

Posted by: jerseymissouri on November 21, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thought experiment: imagine Hillary making a remark like Obama's about her own experience.

Can't do it? Maybe that's because we all know that Hillary's just way too savvy to utter some backfiring, sentimental inanity like that.

A good part of being an effective President is being an effective politician (though obviously there's a lot more needed in the mix).

Obama doesn't exactly cover himself in glory on that score does he?

Posted by: frankly0 on November 21, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

>>Obama is being quoted out of context by both Clinton and the media.

>And he better expect to be misquoted every time he speaks -- from now until the caucases.

But by Kevin?

Posted by: scruncher on November 21, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

My health care plan must be the best, because I had the measles when I was 10.

My respect for Obama's viability as a national candidate just went down by about half.

Posted by: thersites on November 21, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Living in foreign countries from age 6 to 10. Visiting a bunch of countries as an adult. Both of these are miles ahead of what Dubya could have claimed before 2001.

Posted by: art smith on November 21, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

So what are the candidates saying about the REAL issues? Like global climate change, the tanking dollar, lack of real jobs, corporate rule of our democracy, health care for all americans, illegal powers granted to the executive party, corporate control of the media, election fraud, the Iraq war, curbing carbon dioxide and a host of other real problems.

Posted by: slanted tom on November 21, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

I have an idea. Why don't they start attacking some of the clowns on the Republican side instead?

You don't see Romney and Giuliani getting into spats like this and the media isn't egging them on.

Posted by: Joshua on November 21, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Add this comment to his recent snide adolescent remark about Hillary's economic experience. He said something like "well she wasn't Treasury Secretary". Next thing you know he'll be saying "I know you are but what am I". He just does not have the emotional maturity for national office.

Posted by: Chrissy on November 21, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is presently totally fluent in Inonesian/Malay and used to frequently visit Indonesia as an adult.

To learn a foreign language and to live in a foreign country when you are quite young means you know infinitly more about another country than sitting in a seminar with a bunch of white suburban kids who just spent three weeks getting to know the natives during summer vacation.

Indonsians do not have the same foreign policy views as white graduate students, or God help us, undergraduates.

Most State Department staff posted to Indonesia never get out of the chattering class of diplomatic parties and none can match Obama's lanugage ability - the ability he got as a child.

My ten year old kid, born and raised in Indonesia, can speak better English than his Timorese mother and certainly better Indonesian than his American father and can and does feel comfortable in both cultures.

Foreign policy/relations means understanding how foreigners think and it sure isn't possible with folk who speak only English - like Bush

Posted by: Bill R on November 21, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK
I don't know who "won" this exchange, but Obama practically painted a bullseye on his chest with his initial comment.

Do you think that was an accident? I think he was setting up the counterattack that he then delivered.

The good news for Obama, however, is that it gave him a chance to tweak Hillary yet again about Iraq.

Actually, it gave him a chance to tweak Hillary yet again about her lack of foreign policy judgement.

don't know for sure if that's a winning strategy, given that his forward strategy for withdrawal isn't very different from HRC's, but it's a helluva lot better than Social Security. If he wants to disinguish himself more sharply from Hillary, this is the place to do it.

Its hardly as if its an "either/or" situation. He can distinguish himself from Hillary in more than one area. Indeed, the more areas in which he does so, the harder it is for Hillary to blur the lines and campaign on the inertia of "there are no real differences, and I'm already in the lead".

Posted by: cmdicely on November 21, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, with all this talk of being in foreign lands and so on as qualifications, my 11-year-old daughter, who was born and lived in Ukraine the first 15 years of her life, and trips to Mexico and Canada, has had more "foreign policy experience" than the current idiot had when he was appointed President. I'm sure my daughter, at her age now, could have done a better job. Oh, wait, she's not eligible; she wasn't born in the US...

Posted by: art smith on November 21, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Score one for thersites!

To me it seems like Obama keeps digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole. He should stop.

Posted by: optical weenie on November 21, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Dawn on November 21, 2007 at 1:51 PM:

This round goes to Hillary for the high quality of her snark.

Nah. Edwards trumps both Clinton and Obama:

EDWARDS CAMPAIGN: THE DEFINITION OF MUDSLINGING
Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, John Edwards for President communications director Chris Kofinis released the following statement on the definition of mudslinging:
mudslinging |məd sli ng i ng | (also mud-slinging)noun informal the use of insults and accusations, esp. unjust ones, with the aim of damaging the reputation of an opponent. As in: Hillary Clinton said about Barack Obama, "Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face."
Now we know what Senator Clinton meant when she talked about ‘throwing mud’ in the last debate. Like so many other things, when it comes to mud, Hillary Clinton says one thing and throws another.

Heh.

Posted by: grape_crush on November 21, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Add this comment to his recent snide adolescent remark about Hillary's economic experience. He said something like "well she wasn't Treasury Secretary". Next thing you know he'll be saying "I know you are but what am I". He just does not have the emotional maturity for national office.

A tendentious summary from Crissy. I'm shocked. Context, and the complete text of Obama's remarks, might help. Delivering a speech on economic policy, Clinton said, ''There is one job we can't afford on-the-job training for -- our next president. That could be the costliest job training in history. Every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families. And they cannot afford to keep waiting.''

His response, in full, was, "I am happy to compare my experiences with hers when it comes to the economy. My understanding was that she wasn't Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration.

"I think she's a capable person. She's been a senator, like I have. But rather than just assert experience, if she has specific differences with me with respect to economic policy, I'm happy to have those debates. But this general notion of experience based on longevity in Washington I don't think is sufficient."

Apparently, some folks don't see much value in spending formative years living abroad in a developing nation. Fine. Those same folks, though, might explain how being married to the guy who appoints the Treasury Secretary makes you an economic expert.

Posted by: junebug on November 21, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I know it displeases the wonks and really upsets folks who think politics doesn't have to be this way, but the choice for Iowa caucus goers is now between a candidate who is "wet behind the ears" and one who is "duplicitous." Everything else -- especially policy differences -- is noise.

So far, Iowans seem to be a little more concerned about "duplicitous" than about "wet behind the ears."

But time will tell.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 21, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

>>Obama is being quoted out of context by both Clinton and the media.

No he wasn't. What made the statement notable was his saying that his strongest qualification was that he spent time overseas as a child.

If Obama had reversed it, and mentioned that his experience overseas as a child helped him understand foreign policy, but "probably was strongest qualification was my service on the Foreign Relations committee", nobody would have batted an eyelash.

Actually that's not true, because he hasn't even been on that committee for three years, and he would look ridiculous saying that. (But it would at least be a different kind of stupid statement.) I guess the bottom line here is that Obama doesn't have enough foreign policy experience to use the words "strongest qualification" without looking ridiculous.

*************
btw, Kevin, the response to Hillary that you cite was not the first response -- the first response was pure Iraq/Iran boilerplate. I guess presidential candidates do get "I shoulda said" do-overs.

Posted by: p_lukasiak on November 21, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Obama's campaign has been long on platitudes, but woefully short on substance. I like the guy, but I feel that he just doesn't have the experience that I think is necessary to beat the GOP.

Let's not forget that Obama gained his Senate seat in 2004 practically by default. His main Democratic primary opponent, Blair Hull, was brought down by allegations of domestic abuse. Then, his GOP opponent, Jack Ryan, imploded in a major sex scandal. That left him facing the carpetbagging right-wing wackadoodle screwball, Alan Keyes.

In Obama's only other try for federal office, he was handily defeated in the 2000 Democratic congressional primary by Congressman Bobby Rush.

I'll gladly support Obama if he's the nominee, but we better go into that campaign with our eyes wide open and our fists clenched, ready to scrap. Like it or not, and it pains me to say it in the year 2007, but the GOP will make Obama's race the primary issue down South, and we better be prepared for all that entails.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 21, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - while I think the bulleye analogy captures this latest dust up perfectly, don't you get the feeling that the GOP smear machine is taking careful notes? I wish these two would just go to the back alley, have it out, and then come back and talk actual policy. Geesh!

Posted by: pgl on November 21, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK


Having lived in a foreign country, even as kid, is a valuable bit of life experience. It may not be "foreign policy" experience, but Obama is correct to point out that genuwine foreign policy experience sometimes makes people smart enough to outwit themselves. There's no getting around the fact that it was (some of) our "foreign policy experts" that instigated the Iraq war. They did not reluctantly go along with the public's clamor for Saddam's head; they whipped up the public clamor for Saddam's head. Obama scores any time he brings up Hillary's AUMF vote.

As for his Iraq plan being similar to Hillary's: plans are one thing, inclinations are another. You are more likely to stick to your plan, in the face of opposition or setbacks, if your heart is in it. I find it impossible to believe that Hillary's _inclination_ to get out of Iraq is as strong as Obama's.

Either of them is miles ahead of il Rudy or St. John of McCain, of course.

-- TP

Posted by: Tony P. on November 21, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

The full sad irony here is that Hillary, like McCain, has proven how unfit she is for the office of President...and I feel sadder for it.

If Hillary hadn't voted for the KL bill, I'd probably be still supporting her, but once she did that...it's obvious to me she just doesn't get it...despite her "experience" and "smarts."
Experience only counts when it shows in displays of wise judgement...and smarts only counts when it is used to the benefit of all, not just the one.
So, perhaps Hillary will be a good President, and if she make it to the ticket I will hold my nose and vote for her...just to make sure no damnable, traitorous Republican gets into the President's office.
That's right I said it, and I'll even state it more clearly:
The Republican party are fucking traitors to the Constitution and the United States of America, and should be disbanded and banned from ever forming a political party again.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on November 21, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

As someone who lives overseas, I know that living abroad gives you a kind of insight that you can't get in America. And those of us who've raised children over here notice a big difference in our kids, too, compared with their counterparts back home. Yes, it's on a different scale than that of adults, but it is an invaluable experience that he brings to the table, simply by living in a country that was not America.

That's why many of us living abroad are so excited about his campaign. Any why non-Americans see him as a different kind of American--the first Global President?

Posted by: KathyF on November 21, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug, being married to the guy who appoints the Treasury Secretary is enormously valuable, unless you are some sort of potted plant and WH fixture like Laura B. If you have a first rate mind and are involved and interested like Hillary, there is probably no better perspective on learning the job except actually being president. The opportunity to meet experts and just plain citizens and travel should not be dismissed. I haven't been a Hillary supporter, but since Edwards is listening to Obama supporter Joe Trippi for advice, I may switch to Hillary. Experience counts. Being a little kid in a foreign country is interesting (I did that) but that is about the extent of it. It does not give you any special insights.

Posted by: Chrissy on November 21, 2007 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know that this was a win for Hillary. I think that Barack needs to create some sort of contrast between himself and HRC on Iraq and our middle east policy, and anytime she helps him do that, he does okay. She may indeed be more experienced than he is, but that experience has not helped her make better decisions on crucial issues such as KL.

Posted by: bucky on November 21, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Spending four of one's formative years abroad is certainly more valuable experience wrt relating to the non-USA world than spending 8 yrs as an adult attending WH state dinners.

That HRC 1) doesn't get this, and moreover, 2) sees this as an opportunity to attack simply underscores her lack of understanding of how the world works.

I suppose it is a good thing that Obama didn't refer to his "foreign" father in his response, or HRC would have graced us with some "your daddy" joke.

Posted by: Disputo on November 21, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'll gladly support Obama if he's the nominee, but we better go into that campaign with our eyes wide open and our fists clenched, ready to scrap. Like it or not, and it pains me to say it in the year 2007, but the GOP will make Obama's race the primary issue down South, and we better be prepared for all that entails.

Can we please be done with this tired assumption that there's a Democratic candidate out there somewhere who's not going to be viciously attacked & slandered by the Republican party for all kinds of baseless & ridiculous shit? Yes, Obama is black. Yes, Edwards is a pretty trial lawyer. And, yes, Clinton is a woman. (And, well, a Clinton.) Rest assured that there are plenty of people all over the place who resent every one of these facts, and rest assured that the right wing noise machine is going to create every opportunity for people to nurture those irrational resentments into a full blown hatred of All Things Democrat. The reluctance to nominate a female or black or gay or whatever candidate because of fears stoked by other people's prejudices is just another type of self-censorship, and it means that a female or black or gay or whatever candidate will never be elected president. This fear of offending the rabid right is precisely what gets us those tiresome & ineffectual centrists -- the very same centrists who wind up caving to Republicans.

Posted by: junebug on November 21, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

On second thought, I do believe that this is a win for HRC, because she took the opportunity to remind all the racist xenophobe voters (hi Chrissy!) that Obama is one of dem feriners/moolims/darkies that are out to git us.

Posted by: Disputo on November 21, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo, why you don't you tell us all about racism and xenophobia? Since I am the daughter of an immigrant and of an American great gran born on a reservation - a tri-racial!! Indian tribe reservation, I am sure you could enlighten me. Where you'd get this ability? Did you read about race and immigration in a book? See a movie? And you're an expert. Imagine that.

Posted by: Chrissy on November 21, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's a good retort, but maybe not so much better than about Social Security. Hillary just about blew it for me by saying she wouldn't drop the cap on SS-taxable income, which Obama smacked her over. I expect Democrats to act like Democrats, not suck up to the aristocracy about SS and the taxing of fund-management bonuses, etc.

PS - with Big O on his side now, and planning to campaign for him, could it be a slam dunk for the former basketball player, also a #23?

Posted by: Neil B. on November 21, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

... being married to the guy who appoints the Treasury Secretary is enormously valuable... If you have a first rate mind and are involved and interested like Hillary, there is probably no better perspective on learning the job except actually being president. The opportunity to meet experts and just plain citizens and travel should not be dismissed.

This isn't about Clinton's intelligence, or her engagement with the issues. The problem with her harkening to this "experience" is that it's completely vague, and essentially false, in that it allows her to take credit for anything good associated with her husband's administration, while owning none of the bad decisions & questionable judgment. What were her positions with regard to Don't Ask/Don't Tell, NAFTA, the Telecom Reform Act, & the bombing of Yugoslavia? Is her vote for the AUMF the logical consequence of the "experience" of watching her husband sign the Iraq Liberation Act? And what, in God's name, gives her any reason to claim greater experience than anyone else at managing the biggest economy the planet has ever seen?

Posted by: junebug on November 21, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

junebug:, "The reluctance to nominate a female or black or gay or whatever candidate because of fears stoked by other people's prejudices is just another type of self-censorship, and it means that a female or black or gay or whatever candidate will never be elected president. This fear of offending the rabid right ..."

And just where the fuck do you get off, junebug, insinuating that I -- or anyone else here, for that matter -- am reluctant to support Obama's candidacy because he's black?

You sound like a very angry person with a great big chip on your shoulder, which you so desperately want knocked off just so you can get in someone's face. For whatever your reason, you took exception to one single paragraph out of four that I wrote in an earlier 2:56pm post, and you then re-posted it completely out of context, in order to justify your half-assed rant.

Why you did that, I don't know and don't really care. If you feel compelled to do so because it somehow makes you feel morally superior to me, that's entirely your problem.

But I very much resent your mendacious presumption that I'm so lilly-livered politically that I'd eminently prefer to nominate straight white males over other possible Democratic presidential candidates of a differing gender, race, ethnicity, and / or sexual orientation.

Your holier-than-thou, take-no-prisoners brand of liberal politics, when waged against people supposedly on your own side, certainly does our party no favors. Rather, I find it just as fucked up as whatever it is that you so vociferously profess to abhor.

I'm done for the day. Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 21, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Junebug, the Clinton years were good years economically. I don't suppose Hillary just chit-chatted about the weather with Rubin and the economic advisers.

She does not get a pass on AUMF. She needs to address that head on. She also needs to confront your schmaltzy hero, Obama on his one-note broken-record "I didn't vote for the war". Yeah, cause that turkey was not even there for that vote either (just like a bunch of other important votes Mr. Bigstuff missed). He is just Monday morning quarterbacking in a game he did not have any skin in.

Posted by: Chrissy on November 21, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

You know whats funny kevin, I could have sworn, you reviewed Tetlock's book on "experts". This is almost comical that we talk about "foreign policy experience" when we mean utter bullshit. I rather have someone who has some minimal experience, but is more atune to looking at data and could give a fuck less what the villagers think.

Posted by: Jor on November 21, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, when I said "drop the cap" I meant as in get rid of, not lower it (it should be removed, or raised much higher.)

Posted by: Neil B. on November 21, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

And just where the fuck do you get off, junebug, insinuating that I -- or anyone else here, for that matter -- am reluctant to support Obama's candidacy because he's black?

Um, you might put your glasses on & try reading it again. As the very excerpt that you cited from my comment indicates, I'm not insinuating that you, or anyone else here, for that matter, is reluctant to support anyone's candidacy because of prejudice. I very clearly pointed out the reluctance born of fear stoked by *other people's prejudices* -- namely, that of the racist, Southern Republicans to which you refer in your comment. I was simply responding to caution you expressed regarding your vote for Obama, should he be the nominee. Democrats had better be ready to scrap (as you put it) no matter who the candidate is, and voting for Obama doesn't require any more caution than does voting for either of the other top tier (polling-wise, people) candidates.

As for your comment about chips on shoulders & getting in people's faces, that's looking like an interesting bit of projection. That said, I'll certainly admit to being a little impatient with people who express reservations for a candidate based solely on his or her electability. (As in, "I don't want Obama to win the nomination, because America just isn't ready for a black candidate," or, "I don't want Clinton to win the nomination because she's polarizing.") And before that gets you pounding out another furious screed, no, I'm not attributing those statements to you. But if we start compromising our votes according to how we think the redneck & wingnut ballot is going to go, we've already lost.

Posted by: junebug on November 21, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

"forward strategy for withdrawal"

Alas, the humor in Kevin's little phrase is unintentional.

Posted by: a on November 21, 2007 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

What lux and KathyF and Disputo said. Living abroad even as a kid does affect your world view and strongly. For starters, a visceral understanding that there are frames for seeing the world other than the Yankee one. That Hillary sees this as an opportunity to knock Obama says much about her - and from my perspective much that's not good. God knows the world doesn't need another Washington villager in charge.

Posted by: snicker-snack on November 21, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

junebug, you and disputo are perfect examples of why Obama has no chance. You and many Obama supporters are strident and angry. You personally attack people who disagree with you. You simply will not tolerate any talk of electability. Who the hell do you think you are? People want to win this election and questions of electability are vital. And you need to get out of your urban elite milieu and talk to ordinary working people in the south and border states. Effete Obama and his Whole Foods arugula just doesn't relate. Furthermore, people have a right to say they just plain don't like Obama - he is cocky and arrogant. You and Disputo have insulted commenters here who have been posting here for years. You both owe us an apology.

Posted by: Chrissy on November 21, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

You personally attacked people who disagree with you.

Okay, genius, locate the attack in my comment -- personal, or otherwise.

... people have a right to say they just plain don't like Obama.

Of course you do. But don't be surprised when people expect you to explain yourself when you try to dress it up as a preference for Clinton's experience -- economic, foreign-policy, or anything else.

You and Disputo have insulted commenters here who've been posting here for years. You both of us an apology.

If you have poor reading comprehension & can't string a decent argument together, that's your problem. That you feel insulted simply means you need to grow up.

Posted by: junebug on November 21, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

I have often wondered about whether candidates actually believe such childish back and forth between campaign spokespersons helps them, or even whether they know about it.

Neither Hillary nor Obama have any significant foreign policy, or much significant experience in numerous other issues. The fact that Hillary can run based on her alleged experience is a joke, an indictment of the media, a reflection of the feebleness of her opponents, and an extraordinary example of how a politician can get away with the most absurd arguments.

Posted by: brian on November 21, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

and an extraordinary example of how a politician can get away with the most absurd arguments.

Well, brian, once again I ask you to put up or shut up. What, pray tell, are these absurd arguments and why, pray tell, are they absurd? Please be sure to amply support each point and try to avoid your usual unsupported sniping...

cheers,

(and oh the irony of being called on your FP chops by b-b-b-b-w-ian...)

Posted by: snicker-snack on November 21, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

The absurd argument is how Hillary is well qualified based on experience to be president. She was FIRST LADY!! She has lived her entire adult life based on nepotism. Her husband goes around the country claiming she is the most qualified non-incumbant to seek the presidency in his lifetime. Can you get any more absurd?

Posted by: brian on November 21, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, a lot of name-calling here over silly, soon-to-be-forgotten campaign name-calling months before any primary even takes place. Save the vitriol for the general. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: jrw on November 21, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Great observation:

"The latest kerfuffle in the Democratic primary centers on whether living abroad as a child carries more weight on foreign policy than being First Lady. It's akin to watching two guys in a bar debate whether playing Pop Warner football gives more credibility than playing Madden 2007 when criticizing NFL head coaches."

Posted by: brian on November 21, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

junebug, you seem to have anger issues. You should try to lighten up and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Chrissy on November 21, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, cause that turkey was not even there for that vote either (just like a bunch of other important votes Mr. Bigstuff missed).

Er, Chrissy, Obama "missed" the AUMF vote because he hadn't been, you know, elected to the Senate yet.

Posted by: Swift Loris on November 21, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

HRC has a lot of experience with presidential politics, and is very interested in sensible government policy. There really isn't a better candidate for the Democrats.

At the end of the day, Obama is a professor of constitutional law more than anything else. He wants to get us excited about the possibility of a better America but has no plan to get us there.

One is perhaps too grounded, another not grounded enough...

After eight years of mismanagement, I would prefer someone with a healthy sense of reality!

Posted by: Mina on November 21, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Er, Swift Loris: Like I said, he was not there. Yet he thinks he can take credit for having voted against it. He did not.

Mina, Obama was not a professor. He was a part-time lecturer. There is a difference. Reality bites!

Posted by: Chrissy on November 21, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed, I stand corrected. Guess I shouldn't have taken the words from the horse's mouth...

"I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution," Obama told an audience at a campaign fundraiser. "I believe in an attorney general who is actually the people's lawyer, not the president's lawyer."

Posted by: Mina on November 21, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, there's something hilarious about being taken to task over "experience" by a Bush supporter. Hell, there isn't a Democrat running who is less qualified than the most qualified of Republicans. Have you seen their joke field?

1) A mayor whose primary qualification is that his preparations against terror were all for nothing because he put his control center in the single most likely target?

2) An ex-governor whose positions change with the wind and hasn't got the good sense to keep a dog off the roof of his car?

3) A guy whose principles were so steady that he endorsed torturing - even with his personal experience with it.

No, sorry, the GOP field is so weak that no one who supports them has any business speaking on the issues - any of them.

Posted by: heavy on November 21, 2007 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

... he thinks he can take credit for having voted against it.

Perhaps you can provide a link to his having said that, Chrissy. Or was that Mina? Kind of hard to tell.

Posted by: junebug on November 21, 2007 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Responding to a couple of things:

Econobuzz at 2:52 PM: I know it displeases the wonks and really upsets folks who think politics doesn't have to be this way, but the choice for Iowa caucus goers is now between a candidate who is "wet behind the ears" and one who is "duplicitous." Everything else -- especially policy differences -- is noise.

That has the ring of truth to me. This implies that HRC's claim to experience is crucial for her. There is little other reason to vote for her. Put another way: Without HRC's claimed experince, Iowa would have two candidates who are both "wet behind the ears," one of whom they trust more.

I believe her claim is hollow. I'm in a stressful profession, and I know how hard it was to go from school to being the person responsible for real decisions. All the thoughtful, engaged, intelligent observation in the world can never fully prepare you for that moment when it's all you and what you decide matters. The sudden jolt of responsibility must be immeasurably greater for someone becoming President. The fact the HRC claims to be fully prepared tells me she can't be.

Sen. Dodd actually said something similar to this the other day:
http://www.salon.com/politics/roadies/2007/11/18/dodd_update/index.html

Donald from Hawaii at 2:56 PM: Let's not forget that Obama gained his Senate seat in 2004 practically by default. His main Democratic primary opponent, Blair Hull, was brought down by allegations of domestic abuse. Then, his GOP opponent, Jack Ryan, imploded in a major sex scandal.

Please remember also that HRC initially ran for the Senate in a blue state as a sitting First Lady with no significant Democratic opposition. Her Republican opponent, a certain Rudy Giuliani, withdrew due to prostate cancer and marital troubles, leaving her a much easier race against Rick Lazio.

Peace and plenty to all....

Posted by: Rebecca on November 22, 2007 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Barack clearly won this one. How many opinions in the last few days have been ridiculing her supposed experience. Got nothing real to run on, so she decides she wants to claim Bill's experience for her own and pass all her failures off on him. She needs to get it together. The problem is that Barack's platform isn't based on experience, but hers is. Everyone one is trying figure out: what experience?

Posted by: Uzoma on November 22, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's greatest foreign policy asset is that he was absolutely 100% correct about the Iraq war in October of 2002, when he made the following statement, while that duplicitous neophyte HRC was following Bush's lead:

"But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors...and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences."

junebug, you seem to have anger issues. You should try to lighten up and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Your writing such a dishonest, transparent insult leads me to believe that you have being-a-stupid-bitch issues.

Posted by: Andrew on November 22, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

I thought, painfully for him, that referencing his youth with foreign policy experience was unwise, especially coupled with the alpha male discourse with an elderly woman at a campaign stop.

Posted by: consider wisely always on November 22, 2007 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK


brian: ....lived her entire adult life based on nepotism.


you say that like its a bad thing....

Posted by: george w. bush on November 22, 2007 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

I'm commenting here because the twerp formerly known as Andrew Sullivan doesn't allow postings of real people, only his "peeps."

I see a lot of slamming of Hillary that is easily reduced to the fact that she's a woman. To all of the men who are threatened by her, I ask you to get a life (or, drink another Bud).

The US will not be electing a black man any time soon. Just like the Republicans won't be accepting gays as human.

But, Hill does have a chance at becoming president and whether you think serving in the Senate is a cakewalk or not, she has the experience and seems to have the ability to be an effective president.

Give the lady a chance already.

Posted by: LuigiDaMan on November 22, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

lived her entire adult life based on nepotism.

This bit of inanity coming from a BUSH SUPPORTER, presumably with a straight face, illustrates the douchebaggery of bwian the bwainless perfectly.

Can you even fucking stand it?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 22, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Barack clearly won this one.

He may have, but if he did, he was lucky. Sooner or later Obama is going to shoot from the hip and get himself in real trouble. If not he, then his totally undisciplined wife will do it first.

Having been on a college faculty, I recognize Obama's false confidence that, because he taught constitutional law, he can get up in front of a crowd and just speak off the cuff. But he can't -- not without putting his campaign at grave risk.

I remember once listening to a tape of myself giving a lecture. I quite literally didn't recognize the guy speaking. What I was saying on the tape was subject to a wide variety of interpretations and misunderstandings. Needless to say, it was a very humbling experience. Thereafter, I became much more careful about not only what I said but the order in which I said it. Also, and maybe most important, when answering questions, I made sure my first sentence or two comprised the answer to the student.

Obama has to simplify his message -- his winning themes, that is -- and stay on it. Not what he thinks his winning message is, or, god forbid, what his wife thinks his/her winning message is, but what is actually sticking with voters in Iowa. He has to understand that opening up new issues and differences with HRC is counterproductive at this point.

Over my career, I have worked as staff to several would-be leaders who were literally incapable of being briefed. They had all the answers already. They had a false sense of confidence that they could answer any conceivable question. More often than not, especially before Congress, they got obliterated.

I have this sinking feeling about Obama that he doesn't know why Iowa is as close as it is. Or, that if he does know, he doesn't care. He doesn't seem to realize that folks have listened to his whole spiel, and have narrowed it down to just a few things they really like about him. (And, btw, it's not his stand on the issues.) More importantly, they have done the same with HRC. Put another way, I think at this point winning Iowa is much, much simpler than he (or his wife -- who, god forbid, is going on "The View") wants to make it.

Actually it was Mrs. Obama who capsulized all my concerns in this area in one crazy statement: "We're not in this to win." She then went on to talk about when "we" are in the White House. She added that: Black folks will sooner or later wake up, or something to that effect. WTF?

Perhaps I'm overreacting to the ego and apparent lack of discipline in the Obama campaign -- fully on view when he flubbed the very same question on drivers' licences that HRC had flubbed in the previous debate. But I've seen folks in the past who could have won, but lost simply because they insisted on dwelling on what they thought folks should like about them, rather than emphasizing what folks really did like about them.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone -- even Al.

Posted by: Econobuzz on November 22, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

douchebaggery

ROTF...

So true!

Happy Thanksgiving, Blue Girl et al.

Thanks, Kevin, for your gracious hospitality.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 22, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

This was an Obama setup. Put out a fairly inane comment, get a reply, then send YOUR reply on the actual subject at hand. In this case, it gets people again talking about Hillary's Iraq-Iran errors. Pretty standard to me.

Posted by: orion on November 22, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Once again Obama says something that sounds stupid (foreign policy, living overseas as a kid).

Once again Hillary triangulates her little heart out and claims experience she herself doesn't possess. I mean, really, since when has Hillary got more experience on foreign policy than any other candidate (think Biden or Dodd).

Skip the garbage, vote for John Edwards. He has a vision for a better world and the intelligence to carry it out.

Posted by: MarkH on November 22, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly