Experience is to Hillary as 9/11 is to Giuliani


Rudolph Giuliani’s ritualistic incantations of 9/11 have become a national joke. In truth, his inspirational presence was overshadowed by his failure to prepare the city for a terrorist attack.

Also he failed to upgrade the infamous faulty radios used by first responders, many of whom he infuriated by calling off the search for bodies at Ground Zero just when the volunteers felt they were on the brink of finding more.

Hillary’s got her own equivalent of Giuliani’s 9/11: her “experience.” It’s gospel to much of the public but some in the media aren’t buying it.

Like Timothy Noah at Slate: “Oh, please.”

And Ari Emanuel on Huffington Post: “Give me a break.”

What’s the problem? For starters, the amount of experience she claims. “Thirty-five years takes you back to 1973,” Noah writes, “half of which Hillary spent in law school, for crying out loud.”

Emanuel asks, “And what about [Obama’s] time at Harvard Law (where he was the first black president in the history of the Harvard Law Review)? Doesn’t count? But your time at Yale Law does?”

Second, how much of that time was spent in government? Hillary’s electability derives in large part from what she calls her “firsthand knowledge of what goes on inside a White House.”

But, Noah writes, her “chief role [was] that of kibitzer.” She “did not hold a security clearance, did not attend meetings of the National Security Council, and was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing.”

Emanuel makes the case that, with Biden, Dodd, and Richardson out of the race, and Kucinich, who practically teethed on politics, marginalized, neither of the leading Democratic candidates has significant government experience.

“Going by years spent as an elective official,” he writes, “Obama’s 11 years exceeds Clinton’s seven.” But “even when you factor in Clinton’s previous experience in the company of power,” it comes out the same.

When Emanuel asks, “Where the hell does she come off claiming superior experience?” he shines a spotlight on the problem with the word. Experience, it seems, has two meanings, one nested inside the other.

First, experience refers to the quantity of your various experiences. Second, however presumptive, is the presumption that they lead to wisdom.

Which is why Obama’s people oppose Hillary’s vaunted experience with the concept of judgment. In other words, does the sum of Hillary’s experiences pave the way for their metamorphosis into experience infused by knowledge?

According to Susan Rice at Huffington Post, Hillary has “fought to ensure our troops have the body armor they need while in combat, and she has passed laws so that returning soldiers are treated with dignity when they return home. She has placed education at the center of U.S. international assistance. She has been a leader in combating nuclear proliferation and the threat of nuclear terrorism.”

On the other hand, we have her vote for the Iraq War Resolution. It not only helped condemn the Iraqi people to hell on earth, but became an open wound in her campaign. Thanks to judgment that can only be called short-sighted at best, there’s no way her vote can be added to the tote board of her experience.

The same with the martial strains of her foreign policy in general. You probably remember when, speaking as the self-anointed voice of experience, Hillary told Obama that a president shouldn’t make “blanket statements with respect to the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons.”

Other questionable decisions that she made slipped beneath the radar. Unfortunately for her, they couldn’t fit beneath the gateway of judgment. Like the examples above, they were thus barred from the realm of genuine experience.

For instance, during the Senate debate over the Iraq resolution, Hillary was the only Democrat (bear in mind that includes Lieberman) to sign off on all of Bush & Co.’s claims about Iraq.

Back in 2002, she voted in favor of an amendment prohibiting the United States from cooperating with the International Criminal Court. You know — that body of justice that comes in handy for prosecuting little things like genocide in Darfur.

Also, she defended Israel’s right to occupy Palestinian territory, not to mention its erection of The Wall. Then she disrespected another international body of law — the International Court of Justice — which she denounced for calling on Israel to abide by international humanitarian law.

Finally, she refused to support the international treaty to ban land mines. Then she voted down a Democratic-sponsored resolution restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries using them against civilian-populated areas.

Picture her sending those last two down the pipeline to the land of experience. Judgment’s gatekeeper must have laughed in her face.

Bottom line, imagine if Clinton wins the nomination and, as Noah writes, “a certain white-haired senator now serving his 25th year in Congress (four in the House and 21 in the Senate) wins the nomination” for the Republicans. “McCain could easily make Hillary look like an absolute fraud.”

It’s starting to look like playing the experience card can win Hillary the nomination but lose her the election. As Noah sums up, “If Clinton doesn’t find a new theme soon, she won’t just be cutting Obama’s throat. She’ll also be cutting her own.”

Any reflective American can’t help but wonder at politicians like Giuliani, during 9/11, and Clinton, with her front-row seat in the White House, enduring what for us would no doubt constitute transformational experiences.

But all that’s affirmed to them is their preconceptions. What’s more empty than a life filled with experiences that don’t add up to experience?

5 replies »

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  2. great article–you have articulated everything i have thought about this phony bitch since she started with the “experience” crap.

  3. 1, Sandra…would you like it if I referred to Obama as a bastard or n**ger?

    Then please do not address a sitting United States senator in a misogynist tone.

    Second, Obama started dirty by playing the race card…in which he “regretted allowing a staff member to raise the race issue” by floating it in the media, after Hillary’s correct reciting of MLK and LBJ’s history.

    Third, after living in Chicago, and Obama promising to “not run for President” in his first term as national senator (which he’s still in, and which is Hillary’s second term as Senator; forget the state senate; they don’t have access to the national security council either, and remember Obama sought out advice from Clinton when he won office in 2004, not the other way around.)

    As far as the Iraq Resolution, it was not called the Iraq War Resolution.
    a)Every other NORMAL president would use the IR as a DETERRENT; they wouldn’t rush right off to war 24 hours later.
    b)Obama’s voting record is IDENTICAL to Hillary’s except for 4 minor votes; anyone who tries to tell me Obama would suddenly veer from this identical voting record out of the blue when he’s voted 99.9% of the time the same as Hillary, to vote no on the IR is being disingenuous
    c)Obama was in the quite comfortable position in the state senate because he wasn’t ABLE to vote on the IR, and of COURSE he voiced his dissent on it because he lives in the biggest democrat stronghold in the freakin Midwest.
    d)For an issue to be of such importance, according to Obama (the Iran resolution) and for him to attack Hillary on her vote, you would think he would have skipped campaigning and made it to D.C. to vote…but yet once again, he’s in a comfortable position of not having his true feelings on official vote records.

    Oh, I see where those 136 “present” votes came from.

    Avoiding controversy to maintain your political life as John Edwards pointed out, is not being a “strong leader.”

    He’s guy, who happens to be black, who happens to have an identical voting record as Hillary, and who happens to be the next “jimmy carter” because of his inability to make courageous, untriangulated moves.

    This “change” malarkey…is hillarious.