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Clinton's False "Experience" Argument

This one is a little old but I thought I would get it up there for those who missed it.

When we ask ourselves whether we can trust Barack Obama with the top job I think it's important to consider Bill Clinton's words from that debate:

"We have got to have the courage to change."

The American people showed the courage to change when they elected Bill Clinton over his much more experienced rival in the 1992 presidential election. While Clinton had served 12 years as governor of Arkansas he had zero experience at the federal level, and the man he defeated had served as President for four years, Vice President for 8 years, UN ambassador and head of the CIA. Yet the American people still chose change over experience and the country is much better off for it I believe.

We are faced with a similar choice here in 2008. We have the choice between Barack Obama's 3 years of experience as a US Senator against Hillary Clinton's 7 years. Hillary has twice as much experience at the federal level, but Obama has 7 years prior experience in the Illinois Senate giving him almost twice as much total time in elective office as Clinton. Admittedly, the politics in Springfield (a very cool town by the way) aren't as demanding or complex as Washington DC but Illinois is a fairly large state (unlike Arkansas).

So let's assume for the sake of argument that 2 years in Springfield are equivalent to 1 year in Washington in terms of experience. That gives Obama 3 + (7/2) = 6.5 compared to Clinton's 7. Gee, it seems like Hillary's gargantuan "experience" advantage has evaporated doesn't it?

Let's put an end to the canard about Barack Obama not being experienced enough to be president. It's a fatuous and misleading argument that diverts us from the major distinctions between the candidates. Aside from policy differences (which seem minor), we need to ask ourselves which candidate can broaden the base of the party, give us the biggest margin of victory in November, and carry along the most down-ballot candidates on his or her coattails. We should also ask which candidate has the better judgment when it comes to critical issues (Iraq anyone?).

Barack Obama is plenty experienced enough to be president but whatever he lacks in years served he more than makes up for with smarts and sound judgment. And as Bill Clinton said, we all must have the courage to change because our country desperately needs it.

The Clinton people will need another line of attack because that one's not going to work.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (3)

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

It was Hillary who came up with that excellent sound-bite "I still believe in a place called Hope" that her husband used in the 92 campaign with another line that he borrowed from then Senator Paul Tsongas who won New Hamsphire in 92, that America needs "fundamental change".

On the other hand I admire Hillary for waiting in the wings, if not always patiently, for Bill to finish his long career in politics and womanizing, before she could run for office. That must have been quite an experience.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I was thinking about this subject, before I read the Kleiman column linked below. Maybe it might help to ally Lee's concerns about Obama's relatively slim experience and record.

First as a preamble it was Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who famously said, perhaps a little ungenerously who called FDR a "second-rate intellect but first-rate temperament"..FDR was considered by his opponents, and even many of his friends as a lightweight whe he won the Presidency in 1932.

HRC, I consider has a has first-rate intellect but perhaps a little ungenerously, a second-class temperament. Kleiman makes the case that Obama has a first-rate intellect and a first -rate temperament."I can answer in two words: intelligence and character."

Steve Crickmore:

The Kleiman link didn't come through, so here it is again Obama's sanity


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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