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Tilting at Windmills

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December 26, 2007

DO FIRST LADY YEARS COUNT?....When Hillary Clinton touts her years of experience, she's quick to emphasize foreign policy lessons she learned as First Lady.

But do those eight years really count? The NYT has a front-page piece on the subject today, though it's still a matter open to some interpretation.

Asked to name three major foreign policy decisions where she played a decisive role as first lady, Mrs. Clinton responded in generalities more than specifics, describing her strategic roles on trips to Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, India, Africa and Latin America.

Asked to cite a significant foreign policy object lesson from the 1990s, Mrs. Clinton also replied with broad observations. "There are a lot of them," she said. "The whole unfortunate experience we've had with the Bush administration, where they haven't done what we've needed to do to reach out to the rest of the world, reinforces my experience in the 1990s that public diplomacy, showing respect and understanding of people's different perspectives -- it's more likely to at least create the conditions where we can exercise our values and pursue our interests."

On the other hand, Clinton probably couldn't help but gain unique insights on the process.

Friends of Mrs. Clinton say that she acted as adviser, analyst, devil's advocate, problem-solver and gut check for her husband, and that she has an intuitive sense of how brutal the job can be. What is clear, she and others say, is that Mr. Clinton often consulted her, and that Mrs. Clinton gained experience that Mr. Obama, John Edwards and every other candidate lack -- indeed, that most incoming presidents did not have.

"In the end, she was the last court of appeal for him when he was making a decision," said Mickey Kantor, a close Clinton friend who served as trade representative and commerce secretary. "I would be surprised if there was any major decision he made that she didn't weigh in on."

I suppose it's close to one of those Rorschach tests Kevin's been talking about. If you're sympathetic to Clinton, her eight years in the White House offer her the kind of experience and insights that few presidential candidates can even hope to match. If you're unsympathetic, Clinton shouldn't count her eight years in a ceremonial position in which she made practically no substantive decisions relating to foreign policy or national security, did not receive intelligence briefings, and did not, as some former officials put it, "feel or process the weight of responsibility."

It's the same background, but it's up to you which version to prefer.

Steve Benen 9:02 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Comments

No matter who is elected they will ask the last previous Dem president for advice. The more they use him, the more they will accomplish.

Posted by: bakho on December 26, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

The Clinton years are beginning to look like the golden ages aren't they. Certainly Hill can take some credit for the underlying utilitarian quota... and also her recent adjustments to anti-war reality. I now no longer see any huge gulf between her and the the other two and I coightonly see no obstacle to any one of their ascension's to the throne of thrones. The one next door to the oval oriface.
Come back Kevin - all is forgiven.

Posted by: professor rat on December 26, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

I don't want her to get the nomination, but if you think that electing her is the same as electing any other senator with 7 years experience, you are naive and/or fooling yourself.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 26, 2007 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary can't win on this. The Right will assail her regardless her experience. If she could credibly demonstrate she was integral to policy decisions from '92 to 2000 (fully briefed by the intelligence community and State) there'd be hackles she was illegaly made privy to information. Claiming acquired experience shy of possessing such knowledge also is denigrated. Plod on and look and sound presidential. It is what it is.

Posted by: steve duncan on December 26, 2007 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Even though I'm not a Hillary supporter, I'm willing to grant that eight years of being a very politically involved First Lady do count for something in terms of experience.

But it's hard to gauge how much they should count for, without more details from the candidate herself about just what decisions she played a role in, what she learned and how.

But if, when asked, she's going to "respond[] in generalities more than specifics," I think we have to aim more towards the low end - that her White House days should be counted as being on the same level as an extra couple of years in the Senate.

I'm genuinely open to arguments that it should count more than that, but I think those arguments need to be based on specifics from Clinton herself.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 26, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting Quandary:

Previously, the Clinton's had to deny any real Hillary role in policy to fend off the right-wing witch-hunters who were bent on crowing that she'd overstepped her bounds.

NOw, Hillary has to lay claim to some substantive policy role to prove she actually has some experience.

Seems the 'experience' she's collected as Senator isn't coming off as sufficient or substantive enough to carry her into the White House.

But, then, that's understandable given how much the Senate, and the Senator(s) from New York, have accomplished with Bush in office.

Posted by: richf on December 26, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Mrs. Clinton responded in generalities...

Our Lady of Triangulation is quite the "gifted television commentator."

Posted by: Jesus is a metaphor for Santa Claus on December 26, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Do we REALLY want the Clinton Restoration? I really do not.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 26, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, PO'd....let's just hand it back to the Repubs and let them continue their destruction...Oh, yeah, BAD Bill Clinton, BAD!

Posted by: Pat on December 26, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

My primary vote is elsewhere, but I definitely think Hillary Clinton gained a shitload of foreign policy experience in her eight years.

I think that does distinguish her to no small degree from the next two candidates.

My primary vote is still for Phoebe Cates.

Posted by: jerry on December 26, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

If experience counts, then her miserable failure with health care counts against her. She set out to do the wrong thing - to keep insurers in the game - and failed. Another Rorschach test: is that failure something that strengthened her, made her a grizzled veteran prepared for the worst, or is it a "once burned, twice shy" situation? My money is on the latter.

Posted by: Carl Manaster on December 26, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

When Hillary Clinton touts her years of experience, she's quick to emphasize foreign policy lessons she learned as First Lady.

Oh, do please stop saying these things! I shall have another stroke and pass out.

Hillary Clinton's years as the Co-President of the United States of America should DEFINITELY count--and under the Constitution, she is INELIGIBLE to serve as the President!

"In the end, she was the last court of appeal for him when he was making a decision," said Mickey Kantor, a close Clinton friend who served as trade representative and commerce secretary. "I would be surprised if there was any major decision he made that she didn't weigh in on."

And that's exactly what sunk his presidency--every time he SHOULD have listened to David Gergen, he went traipsing off into her offices and she put that hillbilly in a headlock and made him lurch to the left. Then they would laugh their sinister laugh and feast on veal and speed up the economic ruin of this country with their insanity.

Who in their right minds wants to sit down after a long day and turn on the "CBS Evening News with Christina Aguilera" or the "FOX Evening News Roundup With the Illegitimate Child of The Britney Spears" or the "ABC Evening News with a Flaming Liberal who Lies" and watch this hectoring, nagging woman tell the American people to stop eating carrots because they cause children in the Ecuadoran rain forest to want to cry? Do you want to be howled at for four long years every day by a crazy woman?

Not me, you dingbats. Not me.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 26, 2007 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

jerry:

I don't know that Hillary gained any foreign policy experience when Bill was Prznt.

Think: Bill was basically on the same track as H.W. AND George W. Bush re Iraq. Sanctions, bombings, all with the same intent of getting Saddam to knuckle under, as though Iraq was not a sovereign nation, at all costs.

Bill believed everything George W. does. And he makes no apologies.

Third, if Hillary learned anything about foreign policy as First Lady, then why didn't she apply that as a Senator??? Rhetorically, substantively, or effectively?

My primary vote is reserved for someone who'll be a difference maker. If Hillary's the nominee, I'll be voting Ron Paul should he be the Repuglican nominee---or a viable Democratic non-nominee. More Repuglican policies for the 21st Century--to drive home the point to Hillary & the DLCers that a valid alternative is not only demanded but required, and cloning the Repuglicans won't work---is just what the doctor ordered.

Reid and Pelosi's behavior has been out-and-out heinous, esp re Chris Dodd and the double standard they apply to their Democratic peers. That's gotta end.

Running as Dems but ruling as Republicans is just as much a betrayal as Bush's treasonous decisions.

Posted by: rich on December 26, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

What a red herring. If the current Retard-In-Chief didn't permanently dispel the notion that you need any kind of relevant experience whatsoever to be President, you haven't been paying attention.

What did Bush do or accomplish the first 40 years of his pathetic life - snort coke, get drunk, beat his wife and drive around Midland and Houston, Texas, trying to act cool? While Hillary was serving on the board of Fortune 500 companies, being named one of the most outstanding female attorneys in the U.S. and serving on the staff of the Watergate Committee, Numbnuts Bush was getting popped for DUI, jogging and snorting coke off the toilet lid at Camp David, while visiting there when his daddy was President. Even when Bush was Governor of Texas he reportedly spent more time playing video games and working out, than he did pretending to be Governor.

Don't give me this shit about Hillary not being qualified. Compared to Bush, she is the most qualified human being on Planet Earth. Qualifications are not where Hillary is lacking...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on December 26, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

And that's exactly what sunk his presidency--every time he SHOULD have listened to David Gergen, he went traipsing off into her offices and she put that hillbilly in a headlock and made him lurch to the left. Then they would laugh their sinister laugh and feast on veal and speed up the economic ruin of this country with their insanity.

Norman - can't say I noticed either those lurches to the left, or the economic ruin of the country, during the Clinton Administration. Just sayin'.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on December 26, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, let her have it both ways. No really, let her have it every possible way. Everything good that happened in the 90s counts as good experience for Hillary. But she is her own person with her own ideas and policies, so it would be horribly offensive to suppose any similarity to all those elections of the wives of term-limited 3rd-world presidents. Because none of the Republican legislation that Bill Clinton proposed and signed should count against her either. See? It all makes sense. She's got all this great foreign policy experience that she acquired at cocktail parties and late night discussions with Bill.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on December 26, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

My primary vote is reserved for someone who'll be a difference maker. If Hillary's the nominee, I'll be voting Ron Paul should he be the [Republican] nominee---or a viable Democratic non-nominee.

You are insane. Ron Paul is a demon sent by the devil to besmirch my Republican Party. He should be driven from the fold by a torch-wielding mob.

Don't give me this shit about Hillary not being qualified. Compared to Bush, she is the most qualified human being on Planet Earth. Qualifications are not where Hillary is lacking...

Oh, bah! She has no qualifications whatsoever to be the Commander in Chief of the military. She'll likely order all US nuclear submarines to surface and wave pink flags so that the enemy won't feel cheated when they launch their peace missiles full of candy and nuts at them. She'll probably make all of our military men wear skirts and she'll definitely get rid of the Marine Corps. Do you want to live in a world where the Marines are relegated to serving drinks on cruise ships? Not me, sir. Not me.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 26, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

I basically agree with you rich on her decisions, but I do think she gained the experience.

As I said, I am not planning on voting for her in the primaries due to her poor decisions.

Phoebe Cates 08! Tanned, rested, and ready. Oh.... So ready!

Posted by: jerry on December 26, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Do you want to be howled at for four long years every day by a crazy woman?
Not me, you dingbats. Not me.
Posted by: Norman Rogers

With every post you make, we get used to being howled at by a crazy person.

Posted by: DJ on December 26, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I don't like Hillary (I'm an Obama fan), but I do think having been first lady gives her some amount of a leg up. Even playing a ceremonial role counts for something, and Bill probably did keep her fairly well-informed and listen to her advice on some occasions.

Posted by: CatLover on December 26, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Keep in mind two things:

1) Republicans have a knack for picking their strongest candidate.

2) Dems have a knack for picking their weakest.

Which is all to say:

My prediction is that Hillary and McCain will face off in 08.
It really is the perfect storm...
That's the only set of candidates that gives the Republicans a fighting chance.

Here's the kicker:
McCain will win by an Ohio or a Florida.

Afterwards, the comment sections of liberal blogs will be filled with wrath:

I'm moving to Canada... blah, blah, blah.
I'm going to NZ...
I want my mommy...

But this time the threats of self-deportation will ring even more hollow.
The value of the US dollar means you aren't going anywhere.
You can't afford to, unless you want to live in the hollowed-out bole of a maple tree.
Nope.
You are going to stay and help the Dems choose another loser for 2012.
It is your fate...
Hey here's a great idea:
Maybe you can run Hillary again in 2012.
She'll have even more experience...

LOL.


Posted by: koreyel on December 26, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

...can't say I noticed either those lurches to the left, or the economic ruin of the country, during the Clinton Administration. Just sayin'.

You weren't alive for the dot com bubble burst, apparently. And you certainly didn't pay massive amounts of your income for all of those confiscatory taxes that Chairman Clinton and his politburo took from people like me. So, what's your point, exactly? Oh, that's right. You ate a lot of tuna fish and didn't know what the hell was going on back then. Now I get it.

I don't like Hillary (I'm an Obama fan), but I do think having been first lady gives her some amount of a leg up. Even playing a ceremonial role counts for something, and Bill probably did keep her fairly well-informed and listen to her advice on some occasions.

Yes, her leg was up, and we know what she was ruining--the American way of life as we know it! And just so no one mistakes me for being enlightened and cautious in my dealings--every man who's been married three times or more knows that you have to nod and basically appear to be paying attention when a woman stands there, harping about something or other. I have it down pat. Once in a while, I might tilt my head and say "I know that you're speaking from the heart" and "I know how that makes you feel" and "but I've always known that you have been honest with your emotions."

Ever heard of a thing called "earlid?" It's when the human ear is trained to drown out background noise, such as a woman yapping about her makeup or what's on a credit card bill.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 26, 2007 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

And just so no one mistakes me for being enlightened and cautious in my dealings...
Posted by: Norman Rogers

Rest assured, no one would ever mistake you for being enlightened. Or sane, for that matter.

Posted by: DJ on December 26, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

From what I've read, Hillary Clinton did serve as a sort of co-President, so I would consider her more qualified than other 1+ term Senators, like Obama, Edwards, and Fred Thompson. What I would like to know is, what she taken away from being a part of that administration?

By comparison, I believe George W. Bush resolved to not make mistakes his father had made. Thus (for better or for worse), he has been steadfast on not raising taxes and he overthrew Saddam.

Would Hillary govern as Bill did? Are there areas where she feels his approach was ineffective, so she would do the opposite? I wish I knew.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 26, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

By comparison, I believe George W. Bush resolved to not make mistakes his father had made. Thus (for better or for worse), he has been steadfast on not raising taxes and he overthrew Saddam.

In the case of the latter, the idiot son went charging off half-cocked and made a tragic mistake his father steadfastly avoided. As to the not raising taxes bit, that's bullshit too - his cronies did quite well, but now the Chinese own our country. Heckuva job...

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on December 26, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

On Hillary-- First Lady years should count only if she was making decisions with Bill. Yes/No.

Given no one spoke of a co-presidency at that time, I think for Hillary's sake it should be NO.
http://manchestersquare.blogspot.com

Posted by: Kit on December 26, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: "She has no qualifications whatsoever to be the Commander in Chief of the military."

Yeah, right -- like you're really a bona fide resource that people should consult on such matters. Now, go take your meds and let the grown-ups talk, will ya?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 26, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that HRC's experience as first lady can be read in two different ways depending on ones POV illustrates an important principle: Systems of power seek to maintain themselves. The Clinton system of power is intact, and it is trying to reboot and regain its former influence. Regardless of her experience and competence, HRC is a legacy candidate just as GWB was the legacy of the Bush power system. As a principle, a corollary of term limits, first degree relations of any POTUS should be excluded from the WH for, say, 16 or 20 years, long enough for the previous power system to dissipate.

Of course Hillary gained experience and learned lessons as First Lady, but the Clinton system of power also made many enemies, and if she gains the Democratic nomination, that anti-Clinton power system will also be re-energized. I am astonished that so many Americans are so focused on the individual that they miss the context.

Posted by: PTate in MN on December 26, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

[IP Check reveals a banned troll. Content deleted. --Mod]

Posted by: Al on December 26, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

[IP Check reveals a banned troll. Content deleted. --Mod]

Posted by: Al on December 26, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

So do you think Eleanor Roosevelt's years in the White House helped in the foreign policy work she did post Franklin's death?

Hell yes it did.

Posted by: Mardg on December 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

[IP Check reveals a banned troll. Content deleted. --Mod]

Posted by: Al on December 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

... but the Clinton system of power also made many enemies, and if she gains the Democratic nomination, that anti-Clinton power system will also be re-energized. I am astonished that so many Americans are so focused on the individual that they miss the context.

I'm not sympathetic to a Clinton presidency for a variety of reasons, but I find this one of the less persuasive arguments against her. There's little reason to think that an Edwards or Obama candidacy/presidency wouldn't inspire the same kind of rabid batshittery that we saw from '93-2000. If nothing else, the Republican Party is big tent when it comes to visceral & irrational hatred of any Democrat in power, so whether they take the shape of Norquist's antitax jihadists, the Swift boaters of 2004, or conspiracy theorists like Richard Melon Scaife, you can count on Whitewatery Vince Foster-ish inanities thrown at whatever Democrat finds him or herself in the Oval Office.

Posted by: junebug on December 26, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

watch this hectoring, nagging woman tell the American people to stop eating carrots because they cause children in the Ecuadoran rain forest to want to cry? Do you want to be howled at for four long years every day by a crazy woman?

We've gotten a lot of experience by listening to the petulant hectoring of the present resident of the White House.

Posted by: Ray Waldren on December 26, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

No, Shillary's 1st lady years don't count, even when the pitching of the Martha Stewart wreath from that Rose Garden balcony the day after Christmas is factored into the judgement. Neither do the seven abysmal Senate years, wherein Shill has only poorly served as a hawkish placeholder, covetously eying her Oval Office prize.

Had Bill been a lauded orthodontist, would being his wife have qualified Hillary to put braces on your kid's teeth? I'll even grant the give-me that she worked in his dental office, scheduling appointments and working with insurers to be sure that the bills were paid, and she ordered all the supplies he needed to be the best dentist in his state. Would that experience be substancial enough to trust her with your teeth?

Posted by: rage on December 26, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK
….Bill believed everything George W. does. And he makes no apologies….rich at 10:30 AM
Clearly untrue. Bill Clinton on the Iraq war,

On the eve of war with Iraq, former President Clinton said we should avoid war and seek a new U.N. resolution. Here's what he said in New York on March 14, 2003, less than a week before the war began:…

…wave pink flags…ab-Norman Rogers at 10:42 AM
That should go well with your frilly pink undies.
….You weren't alive for the dot com bubble burst…ab-Norman Rogers at 10:51 AM
You must not have been alive during those boom times.
….I believe George W. Bush resolved to not make mistakes his father had made….ex-lax at 11:11 AM
Instead he made the mistakes his father didn't.
….Do you want to be howled at for four long years every day by a crazy woman?…Ray Waldren at 1:36 PM
We have ab-Norman. We're used to it.
….Had Bill been a lauded orthodontist, would being his wife have qualified Hillary to put braces on your kid's teeth….rage at 1:45 PM
I dunno, would the equivalent be that she would have had the position of assistant? Your analogy is extremely silly. Posted by: Mike on December 26, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Think about it a second. If a former White House chief of staff with substantial Senate experience (such as a Howard Baker) were running for the presidency, everyone would credit that person with substantial experience and insight due to his or her time with the White House. Almost nobody disputes the version of history in which Hillary was a critical adviser to her husband, directly involved in the decision-making process.

The argument that she gained nothing in those years is either anti-woman or simply anti-Hillary, and is not fact-based.

Posted by: anoregonreader on December 26, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Another good comment by Bennen. Hillary obviously has some valuable experience from being the wife of the president even if it was mostly observing what was going on. Obama has virtually no experience of the type that traditionally would be considered good prior experience for a president.

But it is ridiculous for Hillary to campaign based on "experience" when it principally is just being the wife of a governor and president. How the media and voters can take that argument seriously is beyond me. It is the kind of argument (and election if she is elected) that people will look back on and laugh about in the future.

Posted by: brian on December 26, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

….Do you want to be howled at for four long years every day by a crazy woman?…Ray Waldren at 1:36 PM

Actually, I asked that rhetorical question, but is it possible for a liberal to get ANYTHING right in a polite conversation? Of course not.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on December 26, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

junebug: "... you can count on Whitewatery Vince Foster-ish inanities thrown at whatever Democrat finds him or herself in the Oval Office."

I agree that fear of a re-energized wingnuttery is not a strong reason to prefer the Not-HRC candidates, and it is useful to wonder if there was something special about the Clintons that energized wingnuttery: The Swiftboat attacks against John Kerry and the preliminary attacks against Barrack "Osama" and Hair-do Edwards are evidence that, no, such vitriol is the way of wingnuttery.

However, the world has changed since conservatives and the Contract on America hit their stride in 1994. After seven years of GWB's spectacular failures, conservative myths have lost allure. The most certain way to restore explanatory power to those myths is a vote for HRC, legacy candidate. I am sympathetic to the Clintons's desire to restart the clock and accomplish some things that the crazy wingnuts blocked between 1992-2000. However, my primary point, a strong reason to prefer other candidates, is that systems of power should not be perpetuated, on principle, even if the particular system was "our" system, and we quite liked it.

Posted by: PTate in MN on December 26, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Even if Hillary could properly claim some credit for policy decisions when she was First Lady, she would still have to explain why they killed welfare, signed NAFTA, repealed Glass-Steagal (leading to the mortgage problems) and a whole host of other things).

Experience isn't always a plus!


Edwards for President -- Leadership America needs!

Posted by: MarkH on December 26, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I asked that rhetorical question, but is it possible for a liberal to get ANYTHING right in a polite conversation? Of course not.
Posted by Norman Rogers

He was quoting, and refuting, you. Dunce. Get back on your meds and into the straight jacket.

Posted by: DJ on December 26, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

HRC has as much Presidential practice as Nancy Reagan or Laura Bush. Chitchat with foreign dignitaries doesn’t qualify as “international” experience any more than 8 years in prison equals as “law enforcement” experience.

Posted by: JerseyMissouri on December 26, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's a net plus for HRC. Neither Obama nor Edwards have any convincing foreign policy creds; if we were just counting their Senate experience, it would be a wash between the three. It is, once again, a chance to remind voters of the Clinton presidency. Bill Clinton, after all, had no foreign policy creds whatsoever; I think all Democrats would consider Clinton's foreign policy administration to be superior to Bush's. Republicans, at least for now, can ecstatically praise the foreign policy creds of Rev. Huckabee, Romney, Giuliani,...

Posted by: coldhotel on December 26, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Rorschach tests, how about St McCain's foreign policy experience: Critics will say his sum total was spent in a cage; supporters will claim he "was abroad for many years."

Posted by: Rula Lenska on December 26, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

" Almost nobody disputes the version of history in which Hillary was a critical adviser to her husband, directly involved in the decision-making process.

The argument that she gained nothing in those years is either anti-woman or simply anti-Hillary, and is not fact-based."

That's not quite why people worry about her candidacy. The question is whether the experience she got was near enough to the Presidency itself to disqualify her from running.

To make an analogy, does being the wife of a company executive make any stock trades you make (of your husband's company) fall under the heading of insider trading?

The answer is yes if he talks to you about the company and no if he doesn't. The optics could be bad either way.

Clinton has been pushing the idea that she was almost President herself, which will come back to haunt her when the Republicans ask the Supreme Court for a decision on whether she's eligible. Don't anyone delude themselves that they won't.

The questions are:

1) Can the Republicans get the Supreme Court to declare Clinton ineligible and throw the Democratic candidacy into disarry?

Possibly. They got what they wanted from the Supreme Court in 2000 and they've made several pro-Republican appointments since then.

2) Can they get enough people in marginal states to worry about Clinton's eligibility to move some electoral votes into the Republican column?

Almost certainly. The election is going to be closer than some people seem to think, and the Republicans won't be afraid to hit below the belt in order to win. Clinton's prevarication on this issue isn't much more appealing than Mitt Romney's, and the Republicans will exploit it to the max.

Posted by: Splitting Image on December 26, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know what medications Splitting Image is (isn't?) on, but that entire post resembles nothing so much as a 2:00AM gab fest in the dorm after closing every bar in town.
Noone becomes president without being sworn into the office. Sen. Clinton was never sworn into office as president. Therefore, Sen. Clinton is eligible to run for, be elected to, and serve as president.
The giving of advice to a president by someone does not make the one giving the advice also president (except in the fevered imaginations of various mouthbreathers, foil collectors and other denizens of Fantasyland). If giving advice to a president was the same as being a president where are the statues of Presidents William White, Walter Lippman and Horace Greeley?
As for the Republicans "pushing" the idea that Sen. Clinton would be unable to serve since she had already sort of served as president during 1993-2001 (even though she was never elected) so as to discombobulate enough Democratic and independent voters so that they wouldn't vote for her - well, all I can say is Binkley would be proud of you! Now, be quiet and let the adults talk.

Posted by: Doug on December 26, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why do so many people feed the troll? Good lord, I only check out these comments once every few weeks or so, and even I know that Norman Rogers lives for your impotent rebukes.

JUST IGNORE IT and maybe it will go away. Even if it doesn't, then it will be ignored so it won't hijack 50% of all conversations.

Posted by: Trickster on December 26, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think experience as first lady does count for something in terms of foreign policy experience. A first lady, particularly an intelligent and highly educated one like Clinton, is used as an ambassador at large by the president. Of course they will tend to get direct experience in softer than average areas (touring schools, aid projects, etc), but an intelligent and educated wife like Clinton would probably speak with her husband and his staff about such things as well gaining foreign policy experience sort of like a senior adviser who popped into existence without the extensive experience they have before getting a job like that.


I also think that Obama having lived overseas for quite a while, even though it was when he was young, and his having been part of a family which had lived overseas is relevant experience for foreign policy. Perhaps this level of experience is similar to that of Bill Clinton, who had lived overseas as a young adult.

Edwards is, I think, simply smart enough, competent enough, and human enough to do the job on foreign policy well enough despite having no obvious experience beyond his term in the senate.

Note that that argument about Edwards, isn't the one that was made about Bush. With Bush it was more "Yea he's dumb, and he knows nothing about foreign policy (heck he enthusiastically supported the Vietnam War right to the end) but his advisers will be more like his dad, and an ignoramus like him will just be a puppet for his advisers". And you know, except for the quality of those advisers, that still seems reasonably accurate.

Posted by: jefff on December 27, 2007 at 4:05 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe what she have said is true! Recently, I have read a book about Hillary--"For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton" by Sally Bedell Smith. The author has cut through the clutter and managed to show a juxtaposition of the couple. She shows how together they make the whole in a political partnership. The stories and anecdotes reveal a study in contrasts - Bill's smoothness to Hillary's steel, Bill's talking to Hillary's planning, Bill's meandering to Hillary's focus. I have to say that the book will not get Hillary elected, but it won't keep her out of the White House either. I found the book with a nice price only $17 here: http://dealstudio.com/searchdeals.php?deal_id=75031 , you can have a look.

Posted by: Ben on December 27, 2007 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

HRC's Living History gives a thorough account of her years in the White House, which is the primary focus of the book.

Posted by: Mina on December 27, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK
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