Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 5, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

LIFETIME OF EXPERIENCE....In the "fair time" category, I'll concede that this really is fratricidal in a way that's not excusable:

In a live CNN interview just now, Sen. Clinton repeated, twice, the "Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience, I have a lifetime of experience, Sen. Obama has one speech in 2002" line. By what logic, exactly, does a member of the Democratic party include the "Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience" part of that sentence?

Hillary needs to knock this crap off. It's disgraceful.

Kevin Drum 1:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (137)

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The way you handle that is to point out that their kind of experience has led us to the mess we are in today. You turn Hillary and McCain's kind of experience into a bug.

By the way, does Hillary think McCain isn't going to use the line against her? He has decades more "experience." The argument isn't just fratricial it is suicidal.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 5, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Strictly speaking, everyone has a lifetime of experience, except possibly the not-yet-born.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 5, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

And this is exactly why everyone is freaking out. Expect more and more of this.

Posted by: Anon on March 5, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Can we just be done with the Bush/Clinton families? Enough is enough.

Posted by: Patrick on March 5, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree. It's just hardball politics. She's just playing to win. Democrats need to get with the program, and stop yielding to their "Always play very nice" instincts. It's what generates missed opportunities and always makes Democrats speak in a less exciting way than their Republican rivals. Whoever runs against McCain will have to exercise both moderation and shrewdness. Hillary is showing that she's not going to miss opportunities to speak to people in a way that will communicate to the less-politically attuned/informed.

Why does everybody always count Barack's state legislature experience against Hillary's? How, in a race for the Presidency, does that even compare to living and working in the White House on very close terms with the president of the United States and all his advisors for 8 entire years? A state legislature politician is nothing like the chief executive of our entire country.

Posted by: Swan on March 5, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think she's saying this to convey the idea that only she is going to be credible opposition to McCain's "experience." That is, her "experience" neutralizes his and the electorate can then go on to consider positions whereas Obama is already behind at that point.

Posted by: sj on March 5, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

There's nothing disgraceful about it. In the GE she can simply point out that his is a lifetime of experience as a Republican (wants more war, doesn't care about you, etc.), whereas as a Democrat, she would bring change (end the war, cares about you). Simple.

Posted by: lurker on March 5, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

When I heard that line the first time, the phrase "lifetime of experience" also grated on my ear. Who doesn't have a "lifetime" of experience? I do. So does Barack Obama. So does Kevin Drum.

She's done résumé padding before, extolling her many, many years of experience, apparently going back to her college years. Maybe the point is that she's trying to raise her level of experience up to McCain's?

I have to say, I like the contrast between "experience" and "judgment," because Dick Cheney has more epxerience than all of them put together.

Posted by: The Pop View on March 5, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that Hillary knows she can't win and that because McCain is her buddy, she stands a better chance of pushing her agenda through under his administration and then having some credibility for the next election.

Posted by: bkt on March 5, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure it's a dumb move. Up to now McCain been working the Right, Hillary working the Left and Obama the Middle (moderate Repubs and Inds). It may be her intent to start working the middle now by remarking like this. Many have belittled her delegate gain yesterday but I think her strategy was to "shut the door" on Obama. She did that. There is a whole lot of politics left before this thing is decided, Stay tuned.

Posted by: fillphil on March 5, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

The Pop View,

Yeah, but Cheney wouldn't have the power he has but for the inexperience of Bush.

Posted by: lurker on March 5, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

This might be why some Democrats think Hillary is a cult. McCain should not ever be considered experienced enough to become president by any rational American.

The only thing Sen. Clinton should say about McCain is he is more likely to destroy the world than any human being on earth.

Posted by: Brojo on March 5, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary needs to knock this crap off. It's disgraceful.

But look: it's a tough campaign. But that's all it is. Hillary Clinton is not destroying Barack Obama, blacks and young people and old people and the working class and everyone else will eventually rally around whoever wins, the party is still in good shape, Republican members of Congress are quitting in droves, we're raising trainloads of money, and John McCain continues to be a putz. Let's stop the hyperventilating, OK?

Posted by: cleek on March 5, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like you're another sore obama loser, Kevin. Take it for what it is: a line that has a measure of truth. Between the msm and most of the blogs, every time you pronounce Hillary dead, she comes back.

If obama can't give and take in the next six months, then maybe HE should step down now. obama (and his fans) needs to grow a pair and quit whining.

Posted by: zaine_ridling on March 5, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

So, using Hillary logic, I should vote for McCain cause he has more "life time" experience than any other candidate. At this point, I just might do that and let a 'publican try to clean up the mess Bush/Chenney made. OK Obama in 2012!

Posted by: David Triche on March 5, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

It's her Precious, dammit -- no one else can have the nomination.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 5, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"How, in a race for the Presidency, does that even compare to living and working in the White House on very close terms with the president of the United States and all his advisors for 8 entire years?"

-Swan

Laura Bush/Nancy Reagan in 2012!

Posted by: WHK on March 5, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

McCain is going to say something like: "I'm a super-old guy who has this amazing POW story, and I was was Senator for 25 years."

Hillary's going to be able to say: "I lived and worked in the White House with the president for eight years, and I was a Senator for a few years."

Barack's going to be able to say: "I was a Senator for a few years, and before that I was a state politician."

???

McCain's experience is going to appeal to many voters in a way that loquacious speeches with flowery phrases won't. Just because you may fall for that stuff doesn't mean a lot of other people aren't like that. When McCain makes the appeal to his experience, Hillary's going to be the one who is going to have the most impressive thing to say back to him, not Barack.

She's just pointing that out, letting people know the reason to vote for her- that's hardly "fratricide," a pretty dirty word, Kevin. There are always criticisms between candidates in a primary. I personally expect my candidates not to behave like limp washcloth losers.

Brojo wrote:

This might be why some Democrats think Hillary is a cult.

Whoa, I've only heard that epithet applied to Obama's campaign.

Posted by: Swan on March 5, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

The two of them are vying to be the most powerful person on the planet. A struggle like that is going to be decorous?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 5, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

By any measure, John McCain has more experience as a politician and a soldier. Senator Clinton's comment about Senator Obama was correct even if it was impolitic for her to say so.

Posted by: ex-liberal on March 5, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

WHK wrote:

Laura Bush/Nancy Reagan in 2012!

They were dumb bimbos whose only role was to bolster the president's conservative image. Hillary was a smart professional who actually worked on things. The comparison to Hillary you try to make is not there, my friend.

Posted by: Swan on March 5, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The corrosive nature of Hillary's declaration is only exceeded by its sheer stupidity. It's as though she's saying, "Sen. McCain is a 71 year old white guy, I am a 71 year old white guy."

Why on earth would she play the game with McCain's rules?

Posted by: Ara Rubyan on March 5, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Your "Lifetime of Experience" comment shows exactly how wrong you are about the "Stop the Madness" Kevin. If Hillary, as expected, keeps using this "fratricidal" line of criticism, what do you think Barack is likely to do? Maybe use some "fratricidal" attacks right back at her? Which will play out very nicely for McCain when he has options to use on either candidate saying terrible things about each other. The only solution is for a) Barack to not respond in kind (unlikely) or b) have both on the ticket (even more unlikely given the likelihood of the attacks traded back and forth growing in ferocity and number.

This is going to be bad.

Posted by: Mike W. on March 5, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

blacks and young people and old people and the working class and everyone else will eventually rally around whoever wins ...

Wrong. As a young black person, I'm sitting it out if Clinton wins. And watch for many, many more people like me to do the same thing.

Posted by: Shine on March 5, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

This seems like the perfect opening for Obama: He is now running against Clinton/McCain. If Clinton wants to ally herself with McCain, then she can ride that anchor to the bottom of the sea.

Posted by: reino on March 5, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I read this as an appeal to independents, and a shot at Obama's "I was against the war" position.

I didn't like Obama's praising of Reagan and calling the Republicans the "party of ideas over the last 15 years" either. But mostly because I think of Bill Clinton as the one guy that kept the 90's from being completely unbearable.

But that's just hardball politics. Quit whining about "unfair" and win.

Bush said Kerry was from "Taxachussets". Why didn't Kerry stand up and say how proud he was to be from Massachusetts, where the divorce rate is half that of Texas? Or something. I'm sick of the whiny, passive Democratic candidate.

This is THE issue I'm concerned with Obama over. She may not always win, or do what I personally want, but she will stay in the fight, and give as good as she takes.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on March 5, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

It is crap, thank you, Kevin. The statement itself was a load of crap (only she and McCain have lifetimes? Obama has a speech? WTF?) But her unctuous and contemptuous delivery was the killer, though. Really masterfully dastardly. Iron fist in a blood-stained velvet glove, and the fabric is fraying badly.

It was this and her Machiavellian reply to Steve Kroft, on 60 Minutes (which nearly everyone has been soft-pedaling), that turned my stomach in the final days of the campaign. The inflection and insinuation about Obama's declared faith as a Christian.

So. She maligns and wins?

Posted by: paxr55 on March 5, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Being the unconjugal wife of a president discredits the experience of being on close terms with the president angle.

Posted by: Brojo on March 5, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

That would be pretty dumb, Shine. Why voluntarily silence your voice in the matter?

Posted by: anon on March 5, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

"...during those two terms in the White House, Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti or Rwanda. And during one of President Bill Clinton's major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal dragged on."

Empty rhetoric.

Posted by: on March 5, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Laura Bush/Nancy Reagan in 2012!

Sorry Swan, that makes sense to me.

Nancy fixed the nation's drug problem?
Hillary fixed health care?
Laura fixed our illiteracy problem?!

Plus we can have Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush/Unkown?Reagan&Bush!

Laura Bush/Nancy Reagan in 2012

Posted by: Craig Johnson's Brother's Son on March 5, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Here's where it's all heading.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Clinton will be ecstatic. He gets a third term, she gets her Precious.
  • The Party regulars will have had their positions cemented for another election cycle.
  • Tom Vilsack becomes head of the DNC. Jobs for the boys!
  • Former DNC head Howard Dean becomes a poli-sci prof at UVM, or return to medical practice.
  • DLC'ers' job security is ensured.
  • And the Democratic world will continue to revolve around the same 1000-2000 people who actually count.

But at the end of the day, that’s what really matters, isn’t it?

If we get another 6-8 swing-states-only campaign, lose narrowly again, and lose a boatload of down-ticket races in the process, thereby eroding the only firewall, and not a strong one to begin with — Congress — between the Republic and the final victory of the Lizard People, that's just too damned bad.

The only upside I can find is that finally all those "Gore lost a race any idiot could have won" and "Kerry lost a race any idiot could have won" blog comments will be swept away once and for all.

Because I've got things growing in my crisper drawer that could win the White House this cycle, and the Democrats won't.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 5, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Kevin. Hillary's right.

Posted by: JoeCHI on March 5, 2008 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

that epithet applied to Obama

It is a subliminal message.

Posted by: Brojo on March 5, 2008 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

If White House experience is the key benchmark for voters, why not GWHBush or Carter for president? Both of them have four real years of Presidential experience. In addition GHWB held the VP seat for eight years as well as being CIA head, and Carter was Career Navy. They're still eligible since the 22nd Amendment hasn't cut in for them yet.

Then again, nothing prepares anyone for being President. As others have pointed out some of the worst US Presidents in history were career pols with long and wide experience of public office, some of the best had little or no public office time before they were elected. It's a crapshoot.

Posted by: Robert Sneddon on March 5, 2008 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's 3:00 AM, the phone rings. and a smart & charmismatic Negro is threatening to take the nomination away from you. Who do you call?

We know who HRC called. Bill "I suggest the politics of fear" Kristol.

Posted by: KXB on March 5, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I've been pretty comfortable with both Democratic candidates, but one thing after another has been turning me off Hillary. I expect her to campaign hard and to attack Obama, but she's demonstrating an amoral strain of ruthlessness, which is beginning to convince me that those who don't like her may have detected something that escaped me: Could she be so personally ambitious that she has no loyalty to her party or a cause beyond becoming president? I'm thinking she is. I had no other explanation when I was watching 60 Minutes last Sunday. This exchange took place, on whether Obama is a crypto Muslim:

Kroft : “You don't believe that Senator Obama's a Muslim?”
Clinton: “Of course not. I mean, that, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.”
Kroft : “You said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not…a Muslim. You don't believe that he's…,”
Clinton: “No. No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know.
[emphasis mine]

"I take him on the basis of what he says" and "As far as I know"? She knows Obama is not a Muslim, not because he says so, and not as far as she knows, but because there's simply no evidence that he is and the insinuation is inane. What sort of person would add these qualifiers, so that on one hand she's rejecting the rumors and on the other hand allows for the possibility of the rumors being true? I dare say, as much as I don't like McCain, I can't imagine him being this nakedly devious. Only Karl Rove comes to mind as someone who's capable of this sort of dirty, disgusting politics. And please don't tell me that this shows that she's capable of standing up to the inevitable Republican dirty tricks. I'd like someone who can diffuse the Republican attack machine, not emulate it.
____________________________________________

Posted by: Aris on March 5, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

She is using the line every lamebrain parent has used to no avail since the year dot! It has a subtext of whining despair in it.

Posted by: Bob M on March 5, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I have said this before, but the problem with going negative is that it drags your own positives down. Hillary has to maintain high positives among the Democratic base. If she doesn't she has no chance in the general because she already has permanently high negatives among Republicans and independents. I wonder if she isn't trying to commit political suicide. What do they call the kind of victory she is likely to attain, Pyric?

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 5, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK
…. her Machiavellian reply to Steve Kroft, on 60 Minutes (which nearly everyone has been soft-pedaling), that turned my stomach in the final days of the campaign…. paxr55 at 2:01 PM Aris on March 5, 2008 at 2:11 PM
Nonsense, you've been shilling for Obama constantly and her response to Kroft's question was a clear disavowal even through media distortions.


KROFT: "You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?
CLINTON: Of course not. I mean, that's -- you know, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.
KROFT: And you said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim.
CLINTON: Right. Right.
KROFT: You don't believe that he's a Muslim --
CLINTON: No. No. Why would I? There's no --
KROFT: -- or implying, right?
CLINTON: No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know.
KROFT: It's just scurrilous --
CLINTON: Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time."

Obama supporters, like Republicans, love to distort, truncate quotes, and take statements out of context.

Posted by: Mike on March 5, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any construction plausibly applied to those comments except 'Vote for me. Vote for Sen. McCain if you must. But under no circumstances vote for him!'

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 5, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

That would be pretty dumb, Shine. Why voluntarily silence your voice in the matter?

That's the prevailing attitude of the Democratic establishment, "what other choice do black folk have?" F' that. I am so sick of that attitude. If white Christian people can threaten to do so for force Republicans to start pandering, then why not black folk.

Besides, exactly how is a McCain admin going to substantially be worse for black folk than a Hillary admin? She's already thrown us under the bus in order to get support for Latinos and poor, dumb hillbillies in Ohio.

With Clinton who know who she'll throw under the bus in order to get her health care plan passed. A war with Iran? Latinos? At least with McCain there will be no surprises.

Besdies, I've grown up hearing how wonderful Clinton has been for black folk but no one has shown me any concrete examples. So I'd like to start getting them. Anyone?

Posted by: Shine on March 5, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Mike you are right on the transcript, but in the tape the "as far as I know" makes your teeth rattle. She could have said "No, of course not" and left it at that. That would have been emphatic. It is all the rest that gives rise to the impression that she was engaged in a very clever smear.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 5, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton has become Samson, pulling down the temple on everyone. If she can't win, then everyone dies. The Democrats are fucked in November.

Posted by: on March 5, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, some wise person just wrote "Hillary Clinton is not destroying Barack Obama." No, but she is trying her best with crap like this.

Posted by: on March 5, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Although maybe a bit risky, perhaps there is some way for Obama to take this clip and use it: "Hillary's and McCain's idea of experience -- the experience of being wrong, over and over, on the most important issues of our day . . . the wrong experience on Iraq . . . the wrong experience on health care . . . the wrong experience to be president."

Now for those of you who object -- Hillary might have good ideas on health care, but her experience is abysmal.

Posted by: Barbara on March 5, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's better than admitting that you have no experience at all. Obama even goes on to say that McCain has the most experience.


CNN: Well let me ask you, what specific experience do you have in handling a crisis that would make you the better person to field that 3 a.m. phone call?
Obama: Well, and that's the point, nobody does, because nobody's been in that situation unless they've been President. The question then becomes who's got the kind of judgment on these critical issues that shows some evidence that you can in fact understand how the world is operating and when we have to deal with issues in a military way, and on question like Iraq, on questions like Pakistan and Iran, I think that the judgment I've shown over the last several, several years has been superior to both Senator Clinton's and to Senator McCain's. And if longevity is the measure by which we determine who's got the best experience to answer that phone call, then John McCain wins because he's been there the longest.

Posted by: DaveO on March 5, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Obama supporters, like Republicans, love to distort, truncate quotes, and take statements out of context

As I noted above, I watched the 60 Minutes interview, and it is still available online at the CBS site. I suggest that anyone who wants to comment about it should watch it first. Then they can try and explain the qualifiers, "I take him on the basis of what he says" and "As far as I know," as merely figures of speech.

While I preferred Obama all along, I used to think that Democrats has two very good choices this election year, and I would have been happy with either of them winning the nomination. But comments like these on 60 Minutes and comments about McCain being more qualified than her Democratic rival, have really turned me off Hillary. And now you can add the comments of Hillary supporters like Mike who will attack fellow Democrats because they don't like the way Hillary is attacking a fellow Democrat. Hillary is evidently rubbing off on her followers...

____________________________________________

Posted by: Aris on March 5, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

She is emphasizing McCain's experience because (1) he has a lifetime of experience; (2) it will take a lifetime of experience to combat that perceived asset; (3) it emphasizes McCain's age, which will be his major liability in Nov; (4) it emphasizes Obama's lack of experience, which is his major liability.

Obama does not have any credibility on the national or international scene. It is a fact, not an opinion. Objecting to Clinton's use of that fact in her own campaign is like expecting her to box with one hand tied behind her back. Your idea that she should cut it out is just silly.

When you start writing columns because you object to criticism of your candidate, you aren't worth reading any more. Maybe I'll be back after the election.

Posted by: Perry on March 5, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

The message here is simple: this is the comparison Obama is going to get in the general election. If he can't overcome it now, in the primary, get ready for a loss in November. Now that the Repugs are getting nasty on Obama, Dems are starting to become concerned that our favorite sunny optimistic team player isn't going to be tough enough to win. Hillary is simply starting to highlight what is already obvious to many Dem voters. If Obama can knock back Hillary, then we'll start to believe that he can handle McCain.

And as to the 'experience' issue: don't even begin to go there. Like it or not, any spouse of a powerful, successful man feels she has participated in his success, and has in large part, enabled it. Hilary has spent most of her adult as an activist wife of a senior public official, ending with 8 years as First Lady, followed by a Senate career. The attempts to denigrate this lifetime in the public eye sound and are lame.

Progressives seem to be willing to throw our last (and by all measures highly successful) Democratic president under the bus (case in point: successful effort by Obama campaign to paint Clintons as racists). But when Hillary fights back, all of a sudden, it's out of bounds and divisive.

Posted by: MaryLou on March 5, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Obama supporters, make note, and Hillary supporters, be mindful: when you look at the math, and note the upcoming primaries, it is evidently apparent that Hillary Clinton needs Barack Obama, not the other way around. Remember that, and realize where the advantage lies. The rug is being held by Barack Obama, not the other way around.

Why do you think she alluded to a shared ticket? :)

Posted by: Boorring on March 5, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK
Perry: When you start writing columns because you object to criticism of your candidate, you aren't worth reading any more. Maybe I'll be back after the election.

Just make sure you take Mike and MaryLou with you. Be seeing ya!

Posted by: Kanenas on March 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

David Axelrod: "There is no reason she cannot realease her 2006 returns. Talk about change you can Xerox. You can Xerox your tax returns," he said.

Heh.

Posted by: Lucy on March 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure McCain is going to make the same argument whether or not Hillary ever made the argument. Republicans are perfectly capable of coming up with attacks such as these, and much worse, on their own. Does the fact Hillary made the argument then somehow add to its validity when used by McCain? That seems mysterious to me and looked at from the point of view of argumentation theory is highly suspect.

The only possible reason Hillary might want to avoid this kind of argument is that it will needlessly piss off Obama supporters (I'm sure Obama could care less)

Posted by: CSTAR on March 5, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone who's defending this line of attack on Obama as a clean shot: The key sentence in Fallows' piece is the one about lauding McCain's experience while attacking Obama's. Clinton can go after Obama on this score if she wants, but she needn't & shouldn't build up the opposition party candidate in the process!

Ultimately it's an electability argument: McCain's biography is his selling point (plus his biggest weakness is he's really old) so he's going to try to make 'experience' an issue. Clinton's argument is that (1) she can match McCain on that score, or at least defuse the issue, and then (2) beat McCain on other grounds. So far, all she's done is make the first part of that argument. (And not very persuasively, imho, since she relies so heavily on vague inferences about her role when she was in the White House - she needs to explain much more clearly what her role was, exactly. Show us that McCain won't be able to puncture her whole argument on 'experience' with ease. For example, i read on a blog this morning that she never had a security clearance. I can't credit that as true, and don't bring it up to spread the rumor, but that's just the kind of data point that McCain could drop on her in a debate at a key moment & completely unravel her narrative on experience. Until i have a better sense of whether land mines like that exist, count me unconvinced.)

It's the second part of the argument that she really needs to make: tell us what the other grounds are on which you'll win - SHOW US HOW NOMINEE CLINTON WOULD BEAT MCCAIN! If she wants to win in some fashion other than pulling down Obama & the party as a whole, she needs to turn the guns on McCain - don't just tell us you're less vulnerable on this one dimension than Obama would be; don't just tell us you're more electable than Obama. Convince us that you're more electable than McCain, show us how you'll beat him.

I think that may be Obama's best course right now: don't just punch back against Clinton (although he'll probably have to do some of that just to forestall the media narrative about 'whether he's tough enough' or whatever). He should put it very starkly: given the broad popularity of both condidates & the similarity of most of their policy positions, at this point the Dem nominee should be whoever makes the strongest, most convincing case against McCain. From here on out, that's the right basis on which Democrats should make their choice. So instead of ripping each other apart and giving McCain breathing space to shore up his base & gear up for the fall, Obama should propose that he & Clinton agree to gang up on him. Overthe next few weeks, they should each field-test the case they want to make against him, give us all a preview of what we could expect from them as the nominee, and then we'll choose the one we think will make the strongest candidate in the general. E.g. Clinton can make her case on experience, but she'll have to finish the thought: 'not only am i more than experienced enough to do the job, i've got a better, more relevant type of experience than McCain.' Obama can make the case that judgement trumps experience, and then he'll have to follow up on that, showing that his judgement is better than McCain's using examples x, y and z. We get the decide whose argument is the most persuasive, we've got brickbats flying at McCain from two directions, and neither prospective nominee is tearing down the other in the process. (It's also laying the groundwork for seems increasingly likely anyway, a ticket which includes both of them.)

If Clinton takes him up on it, the tenor & focus of the race moves back to ground on which he's more comfortable and, frankly, more effective than Clinton. If she doesn't take him up on it, the story shifts to whether she's being irresponsible, e.g. 'is there anything the Clintons won't do to win'.

Posted by: TW on March 5, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

At last! an admission from a Hillary supporter:

"And as to the 'experience' issue: don't even begin to go there. Like it or not, any spouse of a powerful, successful man feels she has participated in his success, and has in large part, enabled it. Hilary has spent most of her adult as an activist wife of a senior public official, ending with 8 years as First Lady, followed by a Senate career. The attempts to denigrate this lifetime in the public eye sound and are lame."

HILLARY'S EXPERIENCE: SHE IS THE WIFE OF A SUCCESSFUL MAN!

Thanks, Mary Lou, I could not have said it better.

Posted by: Barbara on March 5, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

How nice to see you again in comments. I'll take up the merits of your comments in a bit, but first am I right to recall that you and I have tangled before over this name-calling business, with shill? Yes, I'm an Obama supporter. But as I understand it, a shill is an accomplice, usually compensated in some fashion, of a gambler or hawker or swindler--unsavory occupations, to be sure. Worse, the shill acts as an enthusiastic customer in an underhanded effort to entice or encourage the unwitting.

I don't see any Obama shills here. Partisans, to be sure. But very few shills. You, for example, are not a shill.

As for Clinton's Machiavellian reply to Steve Kroft, I stand by my observation that Clinton's answer to Kroft was a shiv, delivered with uncommon skill in a most un-Christian manner.

But you're free to disagree with me--without, by the way, provoking me into calling you names.

Posted by: paxr55 on March 5, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Christ, Kevin, you sound like Donna Brazile.

Hillary Clinton is proving to be a fighter who will stand up for herself, and won't graciously bow to the pre-ordained wishes of the good and decent gentry of the Duchy of Columbia and their well-groomed attendants, and go meekly into the dark night.

Well, now, just pardon me all to Hell and back for pointing this out, but only around 100 delegates separate sen. Clinton from Sen. Obama. It’s March. The convention is in August. Each candidate has approximately half the delegates they need for the nomination.

And yet the pressure is mounting on Hillary to drop out. Are you people fuckin' nuts, or what?

Perhaps if you look at the demographic breakdown from last night, you'd note that Sen. Obama has clearly not closed the deal with the ranking pluralities of our party's base; i.e., Hispanic-Americans and blue collar, rank-and-file, working-class white Americans. That's a big problem, and short-circuiting the primary process is not going to solve that.

A coalition of political elites, African-Americans and white Americans who earn over $100K is not simply not enough to win a general election. And we Democrats will prove ourselves a bunch of damned fools, if we're going to rely upon some crackpot notion that Republican voters will somehow miraculously come to their collective senses, and cross over in droves to vote for Mr. Sunshine Happytalk.

I'm sorry that some people's notion of political propriety has been offended, but this contest must continue for the long-term good of the Democratic Party, and if a few feathers get ruffled along the way, so be it. If Barack Obama is to be a successful nominee, he must be forged in a trial by fire. He and our party will both be the better for it, believe me.

However, if he's the type of candidate who's going to fold up under pressure like a cheap aluminum beach chair, well, then I think most sane and thinking Democrats would agree that it's for the best that we should learn that now, and not in October or November, like we did in '04.

Nuf ced. Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 5, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary gave McCain a video endorsement he can use against Obama OR her in the general election.

It smacks more of desperation than thoughtful strategy. Next you expect to see a kitchen sink come flying at Obama from the direction of the Hillary camp. Or whatever she can snatch up in her panic.

Posted by: cowalker on March 5, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda the way Obama needs to knock off the "Clinton is too divisive" Republican talking point he's been spouting since the first debate.

And while I wouldn't drag McCain into the mix, Clinton has every right to point out that five years ago, Obama was a freakin' state senator. Most of us at gunpoint, couldn't NAME our state senators; that's how much of an impact they have on our lives (I know the name of ours only because he's a right-wing bozo who sends us mailings every 15 minutes.)

And Hillary is only pointing out what McCain will be able to say about himself -- a claim she is solely equipped to counter.

Posted by: sullijan on March 5, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Obama does not have any credibility on the national or international scene. It is a fact, not an opinion

He's a one-term senator, more or less. She's a one-term senator, more or less.

Yet one has credibility, and one does not, on the national and international scene.

I'm confused.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 5, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

That's because both the Shrillmeister and McBush believe the only experience that counts is being able to endorse every war ever conceived.

Now it's a duet, "Bomb, bomb, Iran".

P.S. How's that Flag Burning Amendment coming along, oh great progressive one?

Posted by: Reality Check on March 5, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Davis, you missed Mary Lou's comment: all of Bill Clinton's presidential experience has been magically downloaded into Hillary's brain. It's now HER experience too!! I just don't know why she doesn't trumpet that in all of her ads!

Posted by: Barbara on March 5, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky have more experience than Hillary.

Posted by: Brojo on March 5, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Like it or not Clinton supporters a vote for Hillary is a vote for Rush Limbaugh!

Posted by: latimlf on March 5, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Barbara. I'm going to the Department of Ed in the summer and getting endorsements added to my teaching certificate in both of my wife's majors.

Should make the principal happy to have someone who can cover a schedule across department lines, and it won't cost me a dime in tuition.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 5, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: By any measure, John McCain has more experience as a politician and a soldier. Senator Clinton's comment about Senator Obama was correct even if it was impolitic for her to say so.

Unfortunately for McCain (and "ex-liberal"), McCain also has a lot more experience at being a Republican, which means he's pretty much a non-starter as far as the electorate is concerned.

Posted by: Gregory on March 5, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Davis X. Machina: "Yet one has credibility, and one does not, on the national and international scene."

Given the recent dust-up in Kenya over what one tribal faction interpreted as Sen. Obama's endorsement of its political rivals in a domestic electoral dispute, and the argument on the floor of Canada's House of Commons over the Obama campaign's rhetoric on NAFTA, I'd be inclined to agree with that statement.

But then again, it's not like those are fatal errors, or that it's something that can't be overcome with a little more experience and season- D'oh!! ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 5, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Since president Clinton's wife thinks being the wife of a president gives her the experience needed to become president herself, then Sen. Obama ought to only refer to her as Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton.

Posted by: Brojo on March 5, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

h/t to James Wolcott for linking Barry Crimmins, "Kitchen Sinkhole."

Given a choice between a freshened start and 'experience' that includes corporate lawyering, Wal-Mart board-sitting and vital supervision at several Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, Buckeyes and Texans chose the latter. "Yes she will" won over "Yes we can." Had Clinton lost Texas and Ohio, she'd have sent out her operatives to tell us that they don't matter. But they do. They always count in this country and when they are counted, the national average is usually lowered.

While Hillary's husband was president, entire towns were destroyed in Ohio by union-busting corporations (in particular AK Steel). The Clinton Administration did nothing but ring in each New Year walking the beaches of a resort with the jackbooted captains of industry. But Ohio union households went out and voted for her last night. That's pitiful.

So she won last night and did it in classic American fashion. She played on the chumps' fears and it worked.

She bullied the media and it rolled over. Can you imagine doing negative stories about a campaign simply because it lost eleven straight caucuses and primaries by double digits?

The campaign is far from over and we can now see just what Obama is made of. He is at a disadvantage because in a fair circumstance, he'd call out Hillary Clinton and question her ethics. Unfortunately he's in the USA, a country where not long ago, black men were lynched for looking at white women, let alone challenging their virtue and authority.

Now Crimmins is a satirist and has a lot of fun with the targets of his wit. See especially his takedown of McCain in the linked piece. This is just a bit:

McCain's oratory is inane. Last night he had sheer terror in his eyes when was reading his speech off the teleprompter. At times it sped up and he sped up. You could almost hear the guffaws from the control room. He turned his head but his eyes stayed fixed on the scrolling text.

That the remarks were prepared was the only thing that made them noteworthy because it made you realize, "Holy shit, he planned this blather!"

Friends, we must respectfully discuss our bloodlust.

His speeches sound like a bad local car dealer ad. He calls us all "friends" again and again. And then he asks his "friends" to help him bring glory to our nation with "victory" in a total blunder of a war.


Posted by: paxr55 on March 5, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

I thought it was the Obama people who were supposed to be the cult? It's the Clinton folks in this thread who are leaving little angry drops of saliva all the way through it.

Posted by: Hyde on March 5, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Donald, you've got to be kidding using those examples. Funny enough, one could claim that Obama ultimately helped with the Kenya case.
What has the NAFTA story got to do with hsi credibility on international scene? If I recall from the latest CBC report and other news stories coming out of Canada, the Canadian govt. is the one looking bad in the fiasco. There is even a reliable indication that they are looking for ways to mend fences with Obama.

Posted by: GOD on March 5, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

paxr55: "But you're free to disagree with me -- without, by the way, provoking me into calling you names."

Oh, sure, that's what you always say -- but then, just like clockwork whenever we have a few drinks, people are soon shouting, a chair is thrown, women scream, children cry, the police are called, someone's hauled off in handcuffs, I have to make bail ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 5, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

That was sweet, Donald. I like you witty.

Posted by: paxr55 on March 5, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

GOD: "Donald, you've got to be kidding using those examples."

No, I'm not. And if you want to believe otherwise and misinterpret the facts of the matter as an excuse to make yourself feel better, then the only one you're kidding is yourself.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 5, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I understand. Obama was nothing but an obscure state senator from Mexinois when he gave a speech, and the lib media then blew him up as the next Great Black Hope.

Posted by: Luther on March 5, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

paxr55: "That was sweet, Donald. I like you witty."

Thank you. But will you still love me tomorrow?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 5, 2008 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

It was Mexinois long before it became part of the American Bund.

Posted by: Brojo on March 5, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Luther: "I understand. Obama was nothing but an obscure state senator from Mexinois when he gave a speech, and the lib media then blew him up as the next Great Black Hope."

Damn, dude, that really fuckin' reeks.

Now, why don't you go home, before Mike I grab you from behind, and paxr55 and Lucy start taking turns kicking you in the balls?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 5, 2008 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Donald, with all due respect:

1. What experience does Hillary Clinton have in foreign policy or even domestic policy?

2. And isn't it quite possibly the case that a successful president isn't so much the result of his or her experience as it is attributable to temperament and judgment that is not easy to predict in advance?

It seems to me that HRC is probably not destined to be a good president if the second point is true. I would have predicted that GWB would not have been a good president either, but Gore might have been.

I certainly wouldn't reduce the issue of temperament or judgement to who I'd rather have a beer with, but the concept that some kind of overarching experience is what it takes to be a successful president strikes me on several levels as being a bit of smokescreen: First, because Hillary has no more specific experience than Obama, and second because hitting the experience key is usually just a dodge for the fact that her temperament does not measure up to Obama's. And her judgment? Based on Iraq alone, I would say that Hillary has demonstrated quite a bit more political expediency than judgment and courage as a politician.

Posted by: Barbara on March 5, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

If she can't get the Dem nomination, maybe she'll flip sides and run as McCain's Veep. Think of ALL that experience! (What would Ann Coulter do then?) As I understand it, Ms. Undermine Our Man gained somewhere between 4 and 9 delegates last night--not nearly enough to be talking so tough.

Posted by: hollywood on March 5, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK
In a live CNN interview just now, Sen. Clinton repeated, twice, the "Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience, I have a lifetime of experience, Sen. Obama has one speech in 2002" line. By what logic, exactly, does a member of the Democratic party include the "Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience" part of that sentence?

The whole line is inexplicable. Each candidate clearly has "a lifetime of experience" (which is true, pretty much by definition, of everybody), and of the three, only McCain's "lifetime of experience" is pretty much all in government service. OTOH, both Clinton and Obama have a lifetime of experience that includes community and government experience over its whole scope, just less of it directly on the public payroll than McCain.

There is no rational explanation for the statement that does not involve the intent to deceive either about the nature of Hillary's experience or that of Obama's (or both), even before examining its relation to partisan politics, where it stops just short (if at all) of saying that if Hillary doesn't win the nomination, McCain should be the next President of the United States.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 5, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience, I have a lifetime of experience, Sen. Obama has one speech in 2002"

Disgraceful? Not really. That's still creampuffery compared to what the GOP will do.

I'll really warm up to Obama if he shows he can tear down this whole "life experience" meme within about two weeks of intelligent messaging. Because it is utter horseshit regardless of which candidate is saying they have the "experience."

Obviously McCain has the "most" life experience because he's the oldest. Duh. He's also been a prisoner of war, which, for better or worse, will earn him far more point than being First Lady for 8 years. Don't think he won't relish the chance to make that comparison if Hillary is the Dem nominee.

"I respect Ms. Clinton. As First Lady she conducted herself with compusure and poise, and represented our country well on her many humanitarian tours of other countries. I also think that as junior senator from New York, she has made important contributions and had the privilege turn learn from great mentors like I did so many years ago."

How does she counter that?

All Barack has to say is "if experience means approaching tomorrow's challenges with yesterday's wrong answers and a few gray hairs, then I'm very happy to be inexperienced. Some people learn from each life experience, others just repeat the same experience over and over again. I think Americans are ready for a fundamentally different experience when it comes to Washington."

OK, it's a bit iffy, but the electorate seems to be more focused on the economy than on national security, and they are quite literally tired of the politics of fear and loathing. Tired enough for the DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! schtick not to work? Probably not, but Jesus Maria, could we have one fucking election that wasn't about imaginary monsters under the bed and focused on the very real issues that threaten to accelerate our empire's collapse?

I already know the answer to that.

I'll vote to keep McCain from remaking the supreme court. I predict I will not be at all enthused about the actual candidate.

Clinton/Obama is probably the best possible outcome for the Dems at this point, but both Clinton and Obama are tenacious fighters, and I'm afraid so much manure will be slung with their record fund raising dollars that that ticket will not be emotionally possible.

Remember, each day that this continues, the emotional investment is greater for the partisans in each camp -- an partisans are what provide the energy and organization. We are not rational creatures, refusing to vote when your candidate loses is a classic example of "sunk cost error," but who the hell changes their behavior in the middle of a private pity party because the "enemy" asks them to be rational?

Posted by: lobbygow on March 5, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Those who believe that Hillary Clinton has no experience because she was married to Bill Clinton need to visit her official webpage and read her accomplishments, both as senator and before that. She has as great a claim to community activism as Obama and a greater claim to accomplishment in the Senate. She has met and talked with world leaders whose names Obama can only pronounce. She was privy to policy level deliberations and decisions at the presidential level (albeit pillow talk) because Bill Clinton considered her his most trusted advisor. If she were permitted to receive pay for that position (by law) we wouldn't be having this debate about her role during that administration. She scares the heck out of Republicans which is why they have gone after her personally, not just Bill. (Note that no one has bothered to attack Barbara or Laura Bush.)

The arguments about her lack of experience were all raised during her senate race. Now that she has served as Senator, the idea that she might have been unqualified for that position is ludicrous. She has earned the credibility she is accorded in that role. She is smart, she knows the issues to the level of wonkishness, and she has ideas. Someone cannot be those things without experience of the kind she has been legimitimately claiming.

The remarks trivializing her to the level of housewife are not just parisan, but are sexist because they imply that no wife is ever anything but an appendage of her husband, and if young and pretty, nothing but a trophy reflecting his success. Any woman should know that is garbage. Men who express this thought are most likely campaigning, not seriously discussing issues here.

Posted by: Mary on March 5, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Shine: Ways Hillary will be substantially different from McCain for black voters:
1. She would work hard to obtain health care for ALL Americans. McCain would do the opposite.
2. She would keep the Supreme Court from going further to the right, and is very likely to give a black liberal -- especially a black liberal woman, I would think -- a shot at a Supreme Court seat. McCain will do the opposite to shore up his right-wing base.
3. A Katrina-style disaster is extremely unlikely from her: Consider the swift responses to natural disasters and racial sensitivity that characterized Bill Clinton's administration.
4. She is favorably disposed to liberal and minority judicial appointments, which tends to favor black candidates. McCain isn't.
5. She is a commited civil-rights Democrat. McCain isn't.
6. She will have nearly unanimous support from black leaders. McCain will get a smattering of black wingnuts.
7. She will owe you something if elected. McCain won't owe you a damn thing.
8. She is more of a foreign-policy dove than McCain, and therefore fewer brothers in uniform will die on her watch. Ask a mother of a black soldier whether that's worth considering.
9. Bill Clinton's record on civil rights issues was solid on numerous fronts. Hillary has never given cause to assume she'd be less so.
10. For the record, I'm not in Hillary's camp. I'm an Obama guy. That doesn't alter any of the above facts.

Posted by: beejeez on March 5, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bubba recently promised if we'd give Hill the nomination, she and McVain would have a love-in for a campaign because they're so similar. And I believed him. Casn no one rid us of this vexing woman?

Posted by: W Action on March 5, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody is calling Hillary an appendage of Bill except insofar as she herself (or her supporters on her behalf) is claiming experience that is his and not hers. She never states this forthrightly -- she lets it hang in the air, without detailing what she means. She has experience as a lawyer, a board member of Wal-Mart, various children's policy type organizations (e.g., Marian Edelman's group) and yes, as a senator. So she's a one-term senator. So is Obama. That doesn't give her an overwhelming edge in experience. It's not wrong or sexist to point this out.

Posted by: Barbara on March 5, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

The point, since some people seem to be missing it, is that it's one thing for Clinton to argue what she perceives as her strengths against Obama. It's quite another for her to go out and start pimping what she perceives as McCain's advantages over Obama.

You want to blow your own horn about why you should be President? Go right ahead. I'm listening. You want to criticize Obama? That's what campaigns are all about. You want to go out of your way to talk up the advantages you see in the Republican candidate over your Democratic colleague? Switch your voter registration card.

And, yeah, I said pimping.

Posted by: junebug on March 5, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is just trying to blunt the clear edge McCain has in experience by bringing him down to her level of experience. It's a useful strategy for the general election. And there's just no denying that Obama has far less. She was just speaking the truth.

Posted by: captcrisis on March 5, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

She is smart, she knows the issues to the level of wonkishness, and she has ideas. Someone cannot be those things without experience of the kind she has been legimitimately claiming.

Someone can't be smart and wonkish without genuine experience in the area of wonkery?

I'm calling bullshit on that one. This blog gives one all the evidence one needs to refute that.

Hillary is smart. Hillary is her own woman.

But...

There are many more "experienced" senators by any reasonable measure (see McCain, John). There are more "experienced" women in politics by any reasonable measure (see Boxer, Barbara, or Granholm, Jennifer). Any objections raised at these examples would have nothing to do with experience, but rather what they learned from their experience -- i.e. their judgment and wisdom.

I think some of Clinton's supporters confuse media exposure or name recognition with experience. Obama's supporters make the exact same error. Clinton would not even be in the running if she weren't formally a first lady. That's not a sexist statement -- it's the cold hard reality of the value of name recognition.

Quick - name the current Wal-mart board members or the head of any major non-profit (say Red Cross).

Quick - name the current first lady.

Which was easier?

Obama's claim to experience is even flimsier than Hillary's, but is experience, i.e. years in the trenches, really what matters? It's worked so well Dick Cheney.

Posted by: lobbygow on March 5, 2008 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

"A state legislature politician is nothing like the chief executive of our entire country."

Neither, of course, is a First Lady, and I really wish that Clinton and her supporters would stop pretending otherwise.

Posted by: PaulB on March 5, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary is just trying to blunt the clear edge McCain has in experience by bringing him down to her level of experience. It's a useful strategy for the general election."

Um ... no. It says that "years of experience" really matter, in which case McCain has a clear edge. Moreover, McCain is already jumping on this campaign strategy and will be all over it, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination. Helping him with that strategy, particularly in light of the fact that so much of Hillary's so-called "experience" is as a First Lady, something that Republicans are sure to point out, is stupid.

Posted by: PaulB on March 5, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

pimp

Ooooo. I perked up hearing that piquant verb. Pimp. Pimping. Pimped. As in "Hillary pimping for McCain," as junebug suggests.

I also like, now that we're going down this path, the whole idea of Hillary as Enabler. Enabler of Bill. Of Bush. Of McCain.

And, of course, change it up with the whole pimp meme.

These are a start, anyway. Surrogates mount!

Posted by: paxr55 on March 5, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

"She was privy to policy level deliberations and decisions at the presidential level (albeit pillow talk) because Bill Clinton considered her his most trusted advisor."

You have no way of knowing just how involved she was, nor what role she played. Since she did not have a security clearance, there were a whole raft of issues, including damn near all of the international issues, where she could not even have been briefed, much less consulted. As noted in an IHT article:

She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti, or Rwanda. And during one of President Bill Clinton's major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal dragged on.

To the best of my knowledge, there is not one shred of verifiable evidence that Hillary Clinton's experience in the White House even remotely resembled that of a president. She had even less experience than did any of Bill's cabinet members. More than that, we have no idea what policies Hillary Clinton supported or what advice she gave. Since the very essence of this campaign is judgment, how on earth can we know how good her judgment was when we don't know anything about that judgment?

"If she were permitted to receive pay for that position (by law) we wouldn't be having this debate about her role during that administration."

Garbage. See above.

"She scares the heck out of Republicans which is why they have gone after her personally, not just Bill. (Note that no one has bothered to attack Barbara or Laura Bush.)"

Sheesh... Note, for example, the difference between the role that Laura Bush played in her husband's presidency and the role that Hillary Clinton played in the first year of the Clinton presidency. Notice anything? And notice how Hillary largely withdrew after that fiasco?

"Now that she has served as Senator, the idea that she might have been unqualified for that position is ludicrous."

Nice strawman. Few, if any, are arguing that she is "unqualified." We're just arguing that she is no more qualified than is Obama and that her claims of "experience" are largely unverifiable or spurious.

"She is smart, she knows the issues to the level of wonkishness, and she has ideas. Someone cannot be those things without experience of the kind she has been legimitimately claiming."

And that's even dumber. I have all of these attributes, as do literally dozens of my friends and hundreds more I've met online. None of us have "experience".

Posted by: PaulB on March 5, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

albeit pillow talk

There was no pillow talk between Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton and her president husband.

Posted by: Brojo on March 5, 2008 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

So why isn't Hillary Clinton putting pillow talk on her resume?

Because it's not a serious qualification. I second some of the above comments -- I don't think Hillary Clinton is unqualified to be president, I just don't think she's any more qualified than Obama, and the claims made for her great experience are usually nebulous and non-specific for that reason.

Posted by: Barbara on March 5, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii on March 5, 2008 at 3:03 PM:

Hillary Clinton is proving to be a fighter who will stand up for herself...

Thanks for the campaign ad, Don.

..only around 100 delegates separate Sen. Clinton from Sen. Obama.

And to close that gap, Clinton has to win each of the remaining contests by a 60-40 margin.

Are you people fuckin' nuts, or what?

We're all mad, here. That includes you as well, Don.

..you'd note that Sen. Obama has clearly not closed the deal with the ranking pluralities of our party's base.

Neither has Clinton.

That's a big problem, and short-circuiting the primary process is not going to solve that.

I don't recall Obama's campaign as the one trying to bypass party rules and seat Michigan and Florida, or counting those states as 'wins'.

A coalition of political elites, African-Americans and white Americans who earn over $100K is not simply not enough to win a general election.

As if that's been the only people voting for Obama, Don.

..going to rely upon some crackpot notion that Republican voters will somehow miraculously come to their collective senses, and cross over in droves to vote for Mr. Sunshine Happytalk.

"Sunshine Happytalk"? Usually your comments are much more sober, with less hyperventilating. What about this Dem primary season is causing you (and others like you) to go off the deep end?

...few feathers get ruffled along the way, so be it.

The ends justify the means. What a Republican sentiment, Don.

It's hard to claim that you are the good guy when you're not acting like one.

If Barack Obama is to be a successful nominee, he must be forged in a trial by fire.

It's a campaign season of Biblical proportions! What's next? Secret loyalty oaths?

He and our party will both be the better for it, believe me.

No, I don't believe you.

However, if he's the type of candidate who's going to fold up under pressure like a cheap aluminum beach chair..

Terrific...The democratic system of government reduced to one-upmanship and catfighting.

Haven't you had enough of that?

Nuf ced. Aloha.

Ditto. I'll be glad when this primary season is over, and people return to their normal levels of comment insanity.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 5, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Some of the points made here about Sen. Clinton's claims of vast experience are points that her opponents in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination have been reluctant to make. This is because they are aware that most Democratic primary voters think well of the last Democratic President, and are aware also that criticism of her role in his administration could be taken as criticism of him.

Sen. McCain will not have that problem this fall.

Posted by: Zathras on March 5, 2008 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

1)Obama should have no problem defending the quality of his experience or judgement. If Obama is incapable of turning HRC's comment around and using it to his advantage, then he doesn't have the political skills to win the White House.

2)I agree that HRC's comment is poor; it seems to bolster a Republican at the expense of a Democrat. I'd have more sympathy for the Kevin's hysteria over her comments if he had been similarly troubled by Obama's reference to the GOP as the "party of ideas," or his references to the "excesses of the 60's and 70's" (classic GOP code phrases for dealing with the Clintons) or his statement that HRC could not count on getting all of his supporters if she won the nomination, etc. Both candidates and their surrogates have been less than positive at times.

3)Obama could have won this race by now if he had merely run strongly as a progressive (no nonsense about Social Security, no talk of putting Lugar or Hagel in his cabinet, making FISA a campaign issue). He chose the course of trying to position himself to the right of HRC on a number of issues. That decision has cost him.

Obama needs to understand that he has the power to lead; he has to use it. He needs to finish the campaign.

Posted by: rk on March 5, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Had enough yet? Quoting Fallows quoting Gerson:

In making his point Spinney quoted a Washington Post column by Michael Gerson on "Hillary's Unappealing Path," written just after the Potomac primaries. It said:

"Though it is increasingly unlikely, Clinton may still have a path to the nomination -- and what a path it is. She merely has to puncture the balloon of Democratic idealism; sully the character of a good man; feed racial tensions within her party; then eke out a win with the support of unelected superdelegates and appeals, thwarting the hopes of millions of new voters who would see an inspiring young man defeated by backroom arm-twisting and arcane party rules."

Posted by: markg8 on March 5, 2008 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary was a smart professional who actually worked on things.

Yeah, there was that smashing success of a health care reform plan. That went well.

Posted by: Pug on March 5, 2008 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

It's not that far a leap to make from realizing that Hillary's campaign tactics are disgraceful to realizing that she, the person, is disgraceful.

Even if she knocked it off she would still be the person she is. And she's really not that great a person. In fact, she's often quite disgraceful.

Posted by: James Brown on March 5, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a smart professional who works on things. I would venture that 90% of the commenters are also smart professionals who work on things. I wish I could parley that into real influence!

Posted by: Barbara on March 5, 2008 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Sorry, Kevin. Hillary's right"

Yep, by her logic I should have voted for George H W Bush in 1992.

Posted by: Broken on March 5, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

It seems funny that right after Kevin posts a comment chastizing those for freaking out over the prospect of a battle between Hillary/Obama, he freaks out over an insignificant little comment by Hillary.

Posted by: brian on March 5, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

this is disgraceful. far too lieberman-esque for a former first lady.

it's uncool b/c it's disloyal to the party. it's unbelievably stupid b/c what happens if hillary can't pull off the nomination, obama faces mccain in november, and the country's heard 3 months of how mccain is better qualified to be president than clinton's fellow democrat?

this gets at the core of what bothers me most about the clinton candidacy. she's trying to force dem primary voters into a zero-sum game: that a good outcome for the country is either her or mccain. not that she's better positioned than obama to beat mccain in the general, but that she'd rather mccain than any other democrat. ultimately her argument is about legitimacy (mccain) than electability (hers).

Posted by: mencken on March 5, 2008 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Near as I can tell, this bit of idiocy means:
"Choose me first because of my 'lifetime of experience'. If you don't choose me, you should choose Sen. Bomb-Bomb-Bomb-Iran because of his 'lifetime of experience'".

My conclusion is that this candidate should not be let anywhere near the Whitehouse again.

For those of you spinning this nonsense as "hardball politics", please take my conclusion as exactly the same. When you stoop to bullshit, you are no longer entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: central texas on March 5, 2008 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Obama does not have any credibility on the national or international scene. It is a fact, not an opinion

It is because of this fact, I'spose, that Democrats Abroad, those Americans who are actually living and working overseas and are the demographic most directly concerned about international ramifications, chose Mr. Obama by close to a 2 to 1 margin... here in Tokyo by 4 to 1.

People overseas are enthralled by Mr. Obama in a way that Ms. Clinton doesn't come close to approaching.

And this foreigner finds him more credible for a number of reasons I've argued here before. Oh and five of us foreigners over beer last night all agreed that her McCain comments were beyond bounds...

Anyway, I just thought I'd counter your facts with some assertions...

It goes without saying that President Clinton would be a vast improvement over Bush. But try as hard as I can - and I do - it's just not a presidency I can find myself getting in any way enthused about - not that this should be any concern in your election.

Posted by: snicker-snack on March 5, 2008 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary Lieberman.

Posted by: James G on March 5, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

it's unbelievably stupid b/c what happens if hillary can't pull off the nomination, obama faces mccain in november, and the country's heard 3 months of how mccain is better qualified to be president than clinton's fellow democrat?

It's worse than that. Count on the RNC to repeatedly run ads that feature audio & video of Clinton touting McCain's experience as the reason Democrats & Independents should vote Republican in November.

Look, everybody knows McCain is going to run on fear & "experience" no matter who he's up against. It's all he's got. What Democrats don't need is a marquee name from their own party plastered all over right-wing propaganda explaining why the Republican is the better choice this fall. Thanks to the junior Senator from New York for that.

Posted by: junebug on March 5, 2008 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Kevin, you are way off on this one. Obama has pushed his stupid 'You voted for it, so you started the war' line to ridiculous extremes. He in rality, did make exactly one speech against the war, then later said he did not know how he would have voted had he been there. When he got to the senate, he voted exactly like Hillary on all war votes. Not exactly a right from the first, principled anti-war guy. That's why his line has run out of gas.

Posted by: Ron Cantrell on March 5, 2008 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't we consider the wording of the question posed to Hillary? If it asked about the comparison of the three candidates per that issue, you expect her to just bull her way through it? Don't assume she wanted to make that particular statement in advance, you have to consider the pull of the interviewer.

Posted by: Neil B. on March 5, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

The evidence for Hillary's role in the presidency is the statement of both parties involved and the statements of their respective staff and others present during that presidency. That is evidence.

What statements? Please provide a link. Also please note the argument is not 'a role' vs. 'no role' it is about the extent of the role and you do not refute it by saying she did not play 'no role.' The significant roles I know about are the task force on reform of the healthcare system and the search for a female AG. How else was she actively involved to the extent of being in the hot seat so to speak?

The fact that some Democrats Abroad voted for Obama

some = 65%

is not evidence of his credibility with respect to international affairs.

No, but it reflects the judgement of those most directly concerned with international affairs as to his credibility. It is of course your own prerogative to feel your judgement trumps those of the vast majority of Americans with sustained international experience.

He was head of the Europe subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee while a senator and held not a single hearing.

Please elucidate what practical measures wrt Europe Mr. Obama could have realistically helped enact over this period had he held a slew of meetings. My view as a foreigner is that there is pretty effing little he could have done. But I am willing to be learned.

He went to Kenya to mediate a dispute involving his distant family and utterly failed, a fact that was kept very quiet in the media.

Again. Non-partisan links please. And would you describe Bill Clinton's inability to resolve the Palestinian issue as an 'utter failure?' I wouldn't. Despite Clinton's 'utter failure' to bring about peace I thought he was magnificent here.

He is a zero on the international scene.

I see you're not much given to absolutism...

There is no accounting for the enthusiasm of his followers but it is certainly not a measure of his accomplishments as anything except a charismatic speaker, in my opinion.

Well, the 'in my opinion' past is right. You're recognizing here at least that this is mere assertion on your part. If Mary can't understand something it can't be meaningful, right? For my part, I way prefer Mr. Obama's 'bottom-up' model to Ms. Clinton's 'top-down' approach. I prefer his goal of building a mass movement to Clintonian triangulation. And speaking just as a non-American, my strong sense is that on an emotional level Ms. Clinton doesn't seem much less stuck in her 'Americanism' than say George or Laura Bush. In her own way, she seems every bit as much an American exceptionalist. His speeches while effective are not on the same playing field as those of Martin Luther King or JFK.

I have to admit though I have as much difficulty understanding the rabid (and frankly unhinged) support Hillary gets from some of her base - have a look at Hillaryis44.org - and have to resist putting it all down to identity politics.

I actually have a lot of criticisms of Mr. Obama - I mean, hey who's perfect? - but find it hard to stand by and watch this kind of flailing, emotional attack. It seems to me to boil down to a simple, How dare he stand in the way? It's Hillary's time. He should wait his turn! More honest attacks from Hillary's supporters and I might even from time to time side with them.

Posted by: snicker-snack on March 5, 2008 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Don't assume she wanted to make that particular statement in advance, you have to consider the pull of the interviewer.

She has made the identical or near-identical statement twice, in two different settings. This is her team's idea of a strategy, Neil.

And it is utterly unforgivable that one Democrat should do that to another, to the party, and to all the people who need and are depending on a Democratic win in November--and, though she unfuckingbelievably either doesn't realize it or is so without another message that she played the only card she had--that she should do it to herself.

Posted by: shortstop on March 5, 2008 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Look at all the Obama supporters playing the race card. First it was NH and the Bradley effect, then it was Nevada/South Carolina and the MLK/fairy tale spin and now it is Hillary won because racists hillbillies hate the black man. Every time Team Obama losses the momentum, it it's surrogates and it's supporters blame it on racism.

The white vote has fluctuated between the candidates depending on the state with Obama winning the white vote in a few states and the white male vote in a couple more. It is the black vote that has been monolithic during this contest with Obama winning over 85% in every contest.

Why are African-Americans prejudiced against Hillary Clinton?

Posted by: truthiness on March 5, 2008 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

truthiness: what an apt monicker

Posted by: snicker-snack on March 5, 2008 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Spare me the unfuckingbelievably bullshit shortstop.

You defended Obama's continued use of Rovian mailers on healthcare as a fair strategy numerous times. Many of those people who are depending on a Democratic win are doing so because the need universal healthcare. The same universal healthcare that Obama's own attack strategy has made much more difficult and unlikely to pass.

Posted by: E-6 on March 5, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

This is who Hillary Clinton is: I blame her for bringing that Obama/Muslim meme, and I also call her on that advertisement which darkened Obama's skin and widened his nose.

This is who Hillary Clinton is. But I have to ask: who would you have guessed was the party behind those ads, if you had to guess?

She wants to win, because she's been running for President for years, and she'll break the Democratic Party apart until she does. Nice candidate there. Real Proud.

But I understand: this is politics. However, be careful what you wish for: Obama has his hands on the rug where she's standing, and when it's pulled, I don't want to see any fake tears. Remember, just politics.

Posted by: Boorring on March 5, 2008 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

The same universal healthcare

From where I sit, the enforced purchase of private insurance is not the system that typically comes to mind when one thinks of universal healthcare. Given the seeming need in your country of a plan that allows for the continued presence of private insurers (they should be out of the picture entirely), Mr. Obama's plan seems the more politically doable. Neither though is right.

Posted by: snicker-snack on March 5, 2008 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't vote for either of them, but in spite of the fact that I like many of HC's policies, I'm developing a strong dislike for her. Part of it is the tone of the attacks, part of it is the sense of entitlement I sense. I'm reminded why I didn't like BC during the 90s and why, although I voted for Gore, so many around me were voting for Nader.

My main sense is a sense of betrayal because of Democratic capitulation before The Administration. FISA capitulation will be the last straw; if they do that in the House, I'm leaving the Party after being in it for 20 years. These issues are the source of much of my emotion from politics; much less of what I feel comes from the Obama-Clinton fight.

Posted by: MattD on March 6, 2008 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Upon further reflection and several glasses of bourbon, doesn't every living person in this world have a frigging "lifetime of experience" by definition? Babies even.

I'm not dead yet, therefore the sum total of my life experiences = "lifetime of experience."

If Hillary keeps this experience/national security bullshit up, she is going to hand her enemies the best weapon ever to bludgeon her to death in the general. Not that they needed any help.

The democrats cannot win with democrats alone. They need independents, and they especially need the young people voting for the first time. What is Hillary offering them from an emotional standpoint? Forget policy, most people vote their gut. What gut feeling am I supposed to get from Hillary Clinton? I'm just not picking up anything recognizable other than "better than Bush." Will that be enough? She'd better hope so.

Hillary is good at countering the GOP attack machine. But is that really such a great attribute for the leader of the U.S. in the 21st century? She's making a hell of an argument about why she should be the nominee, but she isn't really convincing me why she should be president. Not that Obama is either. I guess this whole business is skewed by the unexpectedly competitive primaries. Neither Hillary or Barack figured they'd have to manufacture differences between themselves for so long. That's why it's getting so frustratingly petty and vitriolic among both camps supporters. Hopefully the partisans represent a small minority of the total Democratic voters. Although partisans have a way of rubbing off on you if you lean one way or the other.

The solution?

More bourbon.

Posted by: lobbygow on March 6, 2008 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Spare me the unfuckingbelievably bullshit shortstop.

You defended Obama's continued use of Rovian mailers on healthcare as a fair strategy numerous times.

Really? Where? Link, please. No need for "numerous" links, either--just one example will be fine.

Posted by: shortstop on March 6, 2008 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK

JESUS CHRIST WAS A HARD CORE LIBERAL

I am not a religious person, but I have read all 4 gospels. Nowhere in the gospels does Jesus say that we should make laws against people that make us uncomfortable. I seem to recall him instead saying something like, “Whoever is without sin cast the first stone”.

I am pretty sure that if he were living today, and turned on Fox News, and saw O’Reilly spewing his hatred and Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a “faggot” that he would get up and kick the in the TV.

Jesus was a hardcore dude. He told his followers to be tolerant, feed the poor and love each person as you would love yourself.

I recently watched a speech on YouTube. It was given by a man who claims to be a devout Christian himself. This man is constantly being accused of being a Muslim because of his race and his funny name.

So in this speech, this man said something that at first I wasn’t sure if I agreed with. He said, “I am my brother’s keeper. If my neighbor is suffering, I am suffering. If my neighbor is sick or living I poverty, then I too am sick and living in poverty.”

I thought about Jesus Christ and wondered where he would stand on that. Would Jesus be a “Conservative”? Would Jesus say, “I know McCain wants to lead this country into more wars, but I must vote for him because saving money on my taxes is more frankly more important than innocent human lives and I can't stand being a Liberal?”

I say he’d be a bleeding heart Liberal. Yes, that “L” word that a.m. talk radio has trained us all to despise and to think of as wimpy and lame and frankly just uncool.

Somehow I think that the guy who coined the phrase, “Love your neighbor as yourself” would not be able to get behind the Iraq war or the next war that McCain can’t wait to start.

Would Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter have been Jesus’ disciples? I don’t think they’d have the stomach for it. And what about George W. Bush, the man responsible for the deaths of 1.1 million Iraqis, half of them innocent children? Jesus would certainly accept him unconditionally, but old Dubya wouldn’t have the time or the tolerance for such a bleeding heart liberal. It would get in the way of all his plans.

So when I was watching all of these speeches and listening to Barack Obama, I was really struck, seriously it really touched my heart when he said, “There is not a conservative America and a Liberal America. There is not a black America and a White America. There is not a Gay America and a Straight America. There is the United States of America”. I was practically moved to tears. He didn’t have to remind the audience, by the way, that he was giving them any straight talk. He just spoke from his heart.

Here is a man who expects more of us than we expect of ourselves. He seeks to unify instead of divide. He seeks to heal instead of to kill. He represents everything it means to be an American and is, by far, the most “Christ-like” candidate running for President today.

Barack has never gone for the cheap shot. He always takes the high road. Whatever he lacks in experience, like JFK or Roosevelt, he makes up for it in his idealism, in his belief in the goodness of human nature and in his ability unite and inspire. I’m pretty sure that if Jesus Christ were alive in November he would vote for Barack Obama.

- Eric Allen Bell

www.WeCanStopMcCain.org

Posted by: Eric Allen Bell on March 6, 2008 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, good grief, Eric.

Posted by: shortstop on March 6, 2008 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Gee so Hillary committed truth and all the ladies on the intertubes start clutching their pearls. Wimps.

Posted by: RalphB on March 6, 2008 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK

Golden Rule and all that Ralph. Hope the Clintons are pure as the driven snow, because if they aren't you're going to be wishing that your candidate had taken the high road.

Posted by: Marc on March 6, 2008 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

This is why Atrios calls the primaries the "silly season".

Kevin told HRC to knock it off because her comment was obviously unfair and *meant* to polarize.

Obama doesn't have "one speech". He has several years as a community organizer, as a civil rights lawyer, as a constitutional law professor, as a state senator. She's, pardon me for saying it, pissing on all that.

I get why she's doing it: she wants to win. It would be fair and decent of her to say: he's done some fine things but he's not as ready as I am. But so far, that kind of appeal hasn't been pushing people away from him. She has to create a negative emotional reaction to Obama, and she does that by ridiculing what he's been up to for the past 20 years - and by building up John McCain(!) If you're an Obama supporter, or just a person who likes and respects both the candidates, this is going to make you angry.

If you're a Clinton supporter, consider your reaction to the comparison of HRC to Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan. Of course it's unfair. But some (relatively thoughtless) people will accept it, and it will work on others subliminally. What do I think? I think she's overstated her role on national security matters, but obviously had a different role than Laura or Nancy. So, if Obama said this, I'd think he should knock it off.

On a certain level, I'm resigned to this nonsense. The Republicans will do this sort of thing to him in the general, if he gets there, and there is a benefit if he gets better at responding to this stuff. But don't suggest it's a reasonable thing to say, outside the silly season of the primaries.

Posted by: TedL on March 6, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

lobbygow: "More bourbon"

I'll drink to that.

May I propose a toast? Yesterday I obliquely referenced the following and promptly got flamed for dissing on boomers. Go figure. Maybe it hurts for Dems to be reminded who they are supposed to be standing up for these days?

So, for those who are interested:

SALT OF THE EARTH
M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Let's drink to the hard working people
Let's drink to the lowly of birth
Raise your glass to the good and the evil
Let's drink to the salt of the earth

Say a prayer for the common foot soldier
Spare a thought for his back breaking work
Say a prayer for his wife and his children
Who burn the fires and who still till the earth

And when I search a faceless crowd
A swirling mass of gray and black and white
They don't look real to me
In fact, they look so strange

Raise your glass to the hard working people
Let's drink to the uncounted heads
Let's think of the wavering millions
Who need leaders but get gamblers instead

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And a parade of the gray suited grafters
A choice of cancer or polio

And when I look in the faceless crowd
A swirling mass of grays and black and white
They don't look real to me
Or don't they look so strange

Let's drink to the hard working people
Let's think of the lowly of birth
Spare a thought for the rag taggy people
Let's drink to the salt of the earth

Let's drink to the hard working people
Let's drink to the salt of the earth
Let's drink to the two thousand million
Let's think of the humble of birth

Lets raise our drink
To the salt of the earth
Lets raise our drink
To the salt of the earth.......

Posted by: groundhog on March 6, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

To which the only riposte is surely "Yep, Hillary voted for a war that's going to cost the American people more than a trillion dollars, and so did Mr. McCain. So the only difference there is that he's slightly more likely to cost you ANOTHER trillion by starting another one. Me? Well, personally, I voted *not* to spend $6000 per US taxpayer just to keep a failed president in a job."

Posted by: Ally on March 6, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, it is disgraceful. Since Edwards has been (surgically) removed (by the press) from the race, I have simply waited for the contest to be over. I thought the two Dem candidates were equally capable, and I didn't care which of them won.

I'm starting to care. And not in a good way. I hate what the Clinton campaign is doing.

Posted by: cmac on March 6, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

"The evidence for Hillary's role in the presidency is the statement of both parties involved"

In short, you have no evidence. Thanks for confirming that. Your failure to address the evidence to the contrary is noted.

"The fact that some Democrats Abroad voted for Obama is not evidence of his credibility with respect to international affairs."

Neither is a flat assertion that he has no credibility. Your other assertions in this post were both silly and ignorant, and I see no need to respond. Come back when you've actually done your home work and have gathered real data, because right now, you're just making your own candidate look bad.

Posted by: PaulB on March 6, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Other than run for President, what has Obama ever done? What issue has he been on the front lines on? Hillary, love her or hate her has been on the front lines battling the Rethugs 18 years. She has lead the fight on family issues and health care. She redefined the role of the first lady and has had to fight for every ounce of begrudging respect she has earned as a Senator. Obama won his Senate seat against a heavily favored opponent who got caught in a lurid sex scandle.

Posted by: phg on March 6, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, phg. This is not an argument, minimizing Obama's manifold gifts and achievements and exaggerating both the obstacles Hillary has faced and her actual accomplishments ("redefined the role of first lady"? Sheesh). Demerits, too, for scandle.

Posted by: paxr55 on March 6, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and about the "Hillary is a fighter" thing, which I understand the Clinton camp believes resonated in Ohio and Texas and now constitutes part of their winning message. Hillary fighting is not the same as Hillary leading. I look for leadership and judgment in my president.

In the end, Hillary the Fighter simply amounts to Hillary the Polarizer--alienating and freezing out Americans she should be reaching out to and working with. In fact, her legendary pugnaciousness is really better described as viciousness. Ask her erstwhile liberal and moderate allies and would-be partners.

Posted by: paxr55 on March 6, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

To amplify, Bill's entire presidency was a long fight to defend the Clintons. Were they subject to extraordinarily unfair criticism? Yes. Were they smart about how they dealt with it? No, and Hillary Clinton was particularly not smart about it, and that is why, eventually, she was frozen out of significant influence. I am not willing to spend the next 8 years defending Hillary Clinton from her enemies, real or perceived. I simply refuse to do it. As she keeps saying, the enemies are not going to melt away, so even if the criticism is unjustified, as it often is, being able to handle and overcome criticism while still making progress is a requirement to be a good president. FDR certainly understood that. In all sincerity, her track record is extremely bad on this score.

Posted by: Barbara on March 6, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary, love her or hate her has been on the
front lines battling the Rethugs 18 years.

And how is this "skill" supposed to be employed as PRESIDENT?

Being a street brawler in politics does not translate to being capable of leading this country in the 21st century. Some of Hillary's supporters and advisers apparently don't understand this. They think it's all about her.

Hillary and her trusted advisers appear to be excellent tacticians but poor strategists. She knows how to counterpunch when she is on the ropes. Personally, I'd really rather have someone who knew how to stay off the ropes in the first place.

Posted by: lobbygow on March 6, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Barbara Bush qualifies to be the most experienced person than. Eight years wife of a veep, Four more as wife of a President. She can also claim eight years experience exchanging views with son.

Posted by: nkk on March 6, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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