Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Where are YOUR credentials, Madam Senator?

Thanks to her own mistake in the Democrat debate in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton found herself behind the proverbial eight-ball as she watched her lead over Barack Obama in Iowa drop. To recover, she danced around questions and issues in the next debate in Las Vegas -- a debate many pundits dubbed the worst debate by far for the Democrats. The numbers didn't get better; they got worse, and Obama has closed in on her. What's her reaction? She goes on the attack, and swallows her foot:

During a campaign event in Shenandoah, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sharpened her attacks on rival Barack Obama's experience. Clinton questioned Obama's claim that living in a foreign country as a child helped shape his understanding of the world and influences his outlook on foreign policy today.

"With a war and a tough economy, we need a president ready on day one to bring our troops from Iraq and handle all our other tough challenges," Clinton said as she spoke by phone to the crowd in Shenandoah earlier today. "Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face. I think we need a president with more experience than that."

Clinton repeatedly touts her own experience as first lady and told the crowd in Shenandoah that "the rest of the world knows, looks up to and has confidence" in her. "I don't think this is a time for on-the-job training on our economy or on foreign policy and I offer my credentials, my experience and qualifications which I think uniquely equip me to be prepared to hit the ground on day one," Clinton said, "and I offer the experience of being battle-tested in the political wars here at home."

On Monday during an appearance in Iowa, Obama said his four years in Indonesia as a child help
him better understand other cultures. Obama's campaign fired back at Clinton on Tuesday, suggesting she represents "conventional Washington thinking that prizes posture and positioning," while Obama puts "judgment and honesty first."

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards didn't mimic his own campaign spokesman and accuse Clinton of mudslinging, but Edwards had this to say about Clinton tonight during a question and answer session with reporters in Des Moines. "We don't elect resumes for president of the United States. We elect people presidents," Edwards said, "and the important thing is to have a clear understanding of what America needs to be doing, which I talk about every day out here on the campaign trail."

First, I'll agree with Senator Clinton that living in a country in one's youth doesn't make you an expert on foreign policy. That's like saying "Yeah, I went to Yale Law School; stayed for one semester because it was too much work, but I know the law." So, in that respect, I'll concur that it's not exactly "experience" other than to that particular nation. It doesn't guarantee he knows about the world.

On the flip side, where are her credentials she continues to cite? She keeps bring up "35 years of experience" as a part of her resume, but she doesn't elaborate on any of it. We know she was politically active when she attended Wellesley, but we don't know much about that. In fact, the nation really hadn't heard of her until 1992 when her husband jumped into the presidential race. Her record as First Lady shows she had one major role, early-on with regard to her health care initiative, and nothing more beyond that. If greeting foreign dignitaries and their wives is "foreign policy experience," then this is a pot-and-kettle moment between her and Obama. No one's going to be moved by handshakes, kisses, and small talk.

Lastly, I commend John Edwards for saying exactly what many people are thinking right now. "We don't elect resumes for president of the United States. We elect people presidents." The nation is making a decision based only partly on the resume. There are a lot of decisions to be made in the run-up to the election. The resume gives us a history of the candidate, but the here and now counts a helluva lot more than what you did in the past. The past only tells you where they stood then, and provides you a pattern to their ideology. But we have seen candidates change over time. Anyone who denies that is denying some of Ronald Reagan's earlier beliefs. (Granted that comes his early youth, and his change begins to occur then when he begins to question FDR's social programs during the depression.)

But she has a serious problem with her resume. She's not being candid about it. She's not being forthcoming with it. She continues to elude to it, but offers the voters nothing but a talking point. This is evident not only in watching her, but also listening to her supporters. They can't seem to provide one, either, prior to 1992. Even then, they don't mention one thing about foreign policy experience.

Say what you want, but this is an issue that is extremely important in the world we live in. We must have a strong leader that can work with allies to keep this nation, and the West, safe from threats. If you look at Obama, his youthful naivety led to the Pakistan gaffe that cost him dearly in the early polls in Iowa. John Edwards has no experience. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a single Democrat running that does have any serious foreign policy experience, which is why what they say right now is what voters pay attention to. (Well, at least us hard-core political junkies.) And yes, I'll admit that only one GOP candidate really has any sort of experience, and that's Rudy. But that's also because the UN is in New York, and he had occasions to meet and speak with ambassadors and guests of the UN. (His experience goes beyond the Saudi prince and the check, post-11 September, and the issue about Yasser Arafat coming to the US.)

I'd also like to note the flip-flop Hillary made in the second paragraph: "With a war and a tough economy, we need a president ready on day one to bring our troops from Iraq and handle all our other tough challenges." That's not what she said here. This is a flip-flop, and she is pandering to anyone she can.

Publius II


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