Sunday, February 24, 2008

Experience, Truth, and a non-Movie Post

Terrible to be interrupting your Oscar Sunday with politics, but the Hillary campaign provoked me into it:
Hillary said the Obama camp were being bad Democrats: "It is blatantly false and yet he continues to spend millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods. It is not hopeful. It is destructive, particularly for a Democrat to be discrediting universal health care."
Dee-lightful: Obama's a liar and a traitor to the party. First things first--let's dispense with the charge of lying. Although Hillary doesn't like the way Obama characterizes her statement, the source Obama cites backs him up. I'm sure Obama doesn't agree with Hillary's characterization that he's all talk, either. But that's hardly a lie, and it really isn't even bare-knuckle politics. (Appears that it's the truth, which makes the sting even worse for Hillary, no doubt.)

Obama has yet to hit Hillary on the central thesis of her campaign, but this might be the moment to do it. Truth is, we can't know what Hillary's view on NAFTA was because she wasn't the president when it was passed. Hillary wants to run on Bill's record ... unless she doesn't. Look, if she's going to claim that those 8 years are her experience (as she does, ad nauseum), then she has to actually run on the record. Having it both ways while excoriating Obama for inexperience is BS. She apparently wasn't enough of a foe of NAFTA to actually say so out loud, so she's stuck with it now.

And there are those who want to give her credit for the experience, like Kevin Drum:
Seen through this lens, the problem with Obama isn't that he's less experienced than Hillary, but that he's inexperienced, full stop. And again, like it or not, John McCain will certainly use that as an argument in the general election campaign in a way he couldn't against Hillary. Sure, he's got 25 years to her 15, but that doesn't matter. Beyond a certain point voters aren't interested in who's got more experience, and 15 years is well beyond that point. If McCain tried to paint Hillary as inexperienced, it would be a waste of breath. Nobody would buy it.
Really? Obama hasn't hit Hillary on the issue of Bill's experience, but McCain will hammer it ruthlessly. He'll force her to pick a side--running on Bill's record (and accepting the de facto admission that that means Bill will be helping to run the show for the next eight), or backing off it. And aside from her senate years, she's got absolutely bupkis on relevant experience. She was a laywer and a politician's wife. The "35 years of fighting" is pure fiction.

Obama may not get credit for the Illinois state house, as Kevin believes. But he's been actively involved in politics since the mid-80s, and spent a number of years as a professor of constitutional law. All of that is more relevant than the Rose Law Firm experience Hillary periodically invokes.


The Crank on the bar stool said...

Trade agreements like NAFTA are the litmus tests to reveal if one is a Democrat who represents working Americans (e.g. Rep. Kucinich)or merely a tool for big business (e.g. Bill Clinton). Obama has criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement at campaign stops in both Ohio and Texas. Again, signs of hope...

"He has pounded rival Hillary Clinton for switching positions on NAFTA and said repeatedly that he would revisit that pact to instill environmental and labor standards." -(Reuters)

Speaking of NAFTA, who does the Hog suppose Nader would hurt more now in the big race: Obama or Mrs. Clinton? A good break for McCain in any case.

Jeff Alworth said...

Nader is a non-factor. He'll get on the ballot in few states and will draw even fewer votes than he did in '04--when he got a scant 411,000. He affected the margin of victory in not a single state in '04, and his total was lower than the margin Gore beat Bush by in '00.

Don't panic, Nader is (sadly) an impotent narcissist whose day has long past him.