The recent spat between the Clinton and Obama campaigns on who of the two candidates is more experienced is a healthy and long overdue development. It’s about time to sort out a few things.
Hillary Clinton’s supporters keep pointing to her "experience." Experience in what? What kind of specific experience does Sen. Clinton have that is relevant to the job of the President of the United States of America?
Clinton’s only executive experience so far has been her chairing, in 1993-1994, the failed Task Force to Reform Health Care, the notoriously secretive, wasteful, and, eventually, useless project. Oh, yes, she also led a special Task Force to fight a "right-wing conspiracy" when her husband’s sexual adventures in the White House were exposed.
Truth be told, Clinton’s six years as junior Senator from NY have been spectacular and have rightfully earned her respect in the Senate and in her home state. Using this record, she could successfully run for the NY Governorship. But she’s running for the Oval Office. What experience exactly is she bringing to the highest national office at the time of war?
In 2002, Clinton voted to authorize the Iraq war. Admittedly, so did the majority (77/23) of other Senators, including all presidential hopefuls. So this vote says nothing about Clinton’s experience; it just shows any lack of leadership. Much more troubling aspect of this story is the fact that prior to the vote, Clinton failed to even read the National Intelligence Estimate, a document that questioned the Bush administration’s reasoning for going to war.
Now, Clinton bombards the Pentagon with demands to draw contingency plans for speedy troops withdrawal from Iraq — without explaining to the American people the consequences of such a move in the absence of the diplomatic solution to the Iraqi crisis.
Is this experience? It’s irresponsibility, stupid!
Sure, Sen. Barack Obama doesn’t have experience if one defines experience as being wife of a former president. But in contrast to Clinton and other presidential contenders, Obama has a rare (for an American politician) trait: humility. Here is how he defines his approach to foreign policy:
“I’m not somebody who believes that our foreign policy has to be driven by moral relativism. What I do believe is that we have to apply judgment and a sense of proportion … [and] to promote our ideals and our values with some sense of humility.”
Obama’s willingness to talk to leaders of rogue states isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a proof of wisdom, for he puts American national interests above personal arrogance and petty cockiness.
Inexperience it’s not. It’s maturity.