Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Experience
Hillary Clinton’s constant touting of her vast foreign policy experience is finally starting to get examined. Suddenly, the scales are falling off the eyes of a willing press corps who are saying, Oh, that’s right, she actually doesn’t have any foreign policy experience. I’m reminded of the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes although one would hope the parallels stopped short of Clinton parading around in public naked; nobody wants to see that.
At any rate, Clinton’s most recent statement on the matter is finally raising eyebrows:
You know, I was involved for 15 years in, you know, foreign policy and security policy. You know, I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland. I negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo. I’ve been standing up against, you know, the Chinese government over women’s rights and standing up for human rights in many different places. I’ve served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And I was the only senator of either party asked to be on an important task force put together by the Pentagon under this administration to figure out what to do with our military going forward.
Lord David Trimble, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Northern Ireland, calls these claims “silly.”
“I don’t know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill [Clinton] going around,” he said. Her recent statements about being deeply involved were merely “the sort of thing people put in their canvassing leaflets” during elections. “She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player.”
Another source who should know, albeit one with an obvious agenda in downplaying Mrs. Clinton’s accomplishments, piles on:
“She was never asked to do the heavy lifting” when meeting with foreign leaders, said Susan Rice, who was an assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration and is now advising Obama. “She wasn’t asked to move the mountain or deliver a harsh message or a veiled threat. It was all gentle prodding or constructive reinforcement. And it would not have been appropriate for her to do the heavy lifting.”
Several other observers say much the same thing in that piece. An exception:
Former Sen. George Mitchell, who was the lead U.S. negotiator, said Clinton’s visits were “very helpful.” “She was especially involved in encouraging women to get involved in the peace process,” which was a “significant factor” in the agreement, Mitchell said in an interview.
Josh Marshall‘s post on the subject is entitled “Please.”
These are the sorts of puffed up claims that get other candidates held up to mockery and derision. But Clinton is using them as cudgels in her effort to portray Obama as a lightweight with no experience dealing with foreign policy crises. And basically she’s getting a pass. I guess it speaks to the advantages of staying on offense, which can never be gainsaid. But she’s still getting a big pass on this and a lot else.
Hilzoy compiles a blow-by-blow on Clinton’s claims and finds them, to say the least, strained. Bruce McQuain has some fun, too.
Ultimately, I more-or-less agree with Steve Benen on this.
Clinton, as far as I’m concerned, is qualified to be commander-in-chief. She’s been a senator for eight years; she’s a bright and creative thinker; she’s served on the Senate Armed Services Committee; and she’s seen various foreign policy failures and successes up close over the last 16 years. If she were president, she’d have my full confidence.
Which is all the more reason that I’m puzzled by the style and substance of her campaign pitch. Clinton simply isn’t a Joe Biden-like candidate. Why pretend that she is? And should she get the nomination, won’t this mistake be magnified by an opponent whose background is more extensive than her own?
At the very least, she’s making John McCain’s job easier in November, especially if Obama is the candidate. And, even Clinton pulls off the upset, she has bolstered McCain’s premise, that experience in matters of international security is the top voting issue by which a president should be judged, very nicely.
Both democrats resumes are thin on experience. What they are doing is setting things up for people to recognize the McCain has a great deal more experience and accomplishments.
Case in point, handling a foreign crisis call. As Obama’s aide said, neither of them is ready to take the 3AM call. When polled 42% would want McCain to take the call, 25% Obama and 25% Clinton. Independents favored McCain 39% to 27% for Obama and 18% for Clinton.
The democrats better hope that the world is incredibly peaceful between now and November if they don’t want voters to be reminded of who the grown up is in the race.
She did a pisser job witht he whole Iraq war thing – she supported Bush so she didn’t look like a chicken now she’s tried every lie humanly possible to pretend she didn’t. With that kind of experience what could possibly go wrong.
The issue being avoided here would seem to me to be her ability at identifying which was a success and which was a failure. As an example, her claims about Iraq as a failure render her judgment as very suspect to say the very least.
As it stands, neither one of the two Democrat contenders is ready for prime time, as one of the hired help in Obama’s camp allowed, the other day.
Forget the Emperor’s New Clothes fairy tale -try this one -it’s more appropriate and less visually disgusting at 6 AM.
Aw who wants a commander-in-chief whose nose grows every time she opens her mouth.
BARACK OBAMA VS. HILARY CLINTON
WHO IS MOST QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT
BASED ON LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE?
ILLINOIS U.S. SENATOR BARACK OBAMA
(11 YEARS TOTAL Source: Library of Congress)
*Eight (8) years total elected service to the Illinois Senate (1996 -2004)
*Three (3) years total elected service to the U.S. Senate (2005 -2008)
NEW YORK U.S. SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON
(7 YEARS TOTAL:Source Library of Congress)
*Seven (7) years total elected legislative service to the U.S Senate (2001 -2008)
*U.S. FIRST LADY DOES NOT COUNT as elected legislative service (1993 -2001)
ILLINOIS LEGISLATION RECORD
STATE SENATOR BARACK OBAMA
SPONSORED 823 BILLS in the ILLINOIS SENATE from 1996 to 2004(Source: New York Times)
BARACK OBAMA LEGISLATIVE RECORD IN U.S. SENATE:
*Since Jan 4, 2005 SENATOR BARACK OBAMA has SPONSORED 129 BILLS over and has CO-SPONSORED 545 BILLS (Source: Washington Post)
You may want to look beyond the numbers on Obama in the Illinois senate.
It is also instructive to look at the number of bills passed and their impact. Of course with both candidates being relatively new to the scene the long term wisdom of any legislative accomplishments will be hard to establish.
Further, if this is how you would judge experience, then
ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN
(26 YEARS TOTAL: Source Library of Congress)
*Four (4) years total elected service to the U.S. House of Representatives (1982 – 1986)
*Twenty-two (22) years total elected service to the U.S. Senate (1986 – 2008)
would seem to have both beat hollow.
If you think four more years of legislative experience (with the majority of that in the ‘minors’ at the state level) should persuade people to support Obama over Clinton, then surely twice that, eight more years of legislative experience (all at the national level), for John McCain over Obama and Clinton combined should persuade you to support John McCain. Or is that not as convenient for your position.
This Link from Drudge says it best.