Judgment v. Experience

One thing, not getting much play, coming out of this upcoming election I would hope for is better relations between the Executive and the Legislative.

We are going to to have the first member of Congress as President since Ford and the first senator since LBJ whoever of the three candidates wins.

We have had a string of governors (and one VP) most of whom have been arrogant towards and combative with the Congress, even when the Congress was their own party: e.g. Carter, Clinton between 92-94, and George W. Bush 2000-2006. Not to mention when the other party held power: e.g. Clinton 94-2000, Dubya 2006-2008.

That’s one point. Second point, shifting gears a bit.

When Clinton talks about her experience cum talent I find it interesting.

If you take her experience, it is mostly legislative. Again I’m sorry, but I can’t count being First Lady of Arkansas or the US as executive experience.

Her most executive like experiences are of course her Health Care proposal and her White House Run. (I guess you could include her Senate runs but she never had stiff competition). Both of those have been total disasters.

Even though Barack Obama has been an actual elected legislator longer than Clinton (though not longer in the federal legislature), for the moment let’s grant she is a better legislator/parliamentarian than Obama. I’m not actually sure she is, but I’ll play along for the moment.

What that means which is a point others have mentioned is that Hillary Clinton would have been a colossally wonderful Prime Minister. Again recall the president she most cites is LBJ–the last wheeler and back bench dealer to be president.

If the US were Canada or Great Britain, she would be Prime Minster in a heartbeat and a fantastic one I would imagine. She loves bureaucracy, partisanship, and power. PM written all of that. But the US Executive is not a Prime Minster-ship. The closest the US has to a PM I suppose is Senate Majority Leader (and House Speaker), which is why I still think that is what her experience most suits her for and for which she would be most effective. I would never want Obama as Senate Leader or Whip or Speaker or anything. He totally flub up in that role.

I’ve never really trusted Hillary Clinton’s judgment, so on that front, nothing else to say but that.

That kind of analysis won’t fit on a 30 second commercial, but it’s too bad the discourse won’t allow Obama to make that kind of argument and neutralize her “experience” argument. The most he can say is that there is the right and the wrong kind of experience (his life versus Washington) which only goes so far. Too bad he can’t say, she’d be a wonderful Senate Majority Leader and that not be interpreted as a put down or worse misogynistic.

–That said, on the horserace side, this is quite accurate:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has just days left before his fifth attempt to finish off Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and he looks like he knows what we do — that more than likely he will fail again. With more states won, more pledged delegates, more of the popular vote and, reportedly, a majority of silent superdelegates locked up, Obama wants to move on to battle John McCain. A story in The New York Times this week characterized the candidate as bored. The word wasn’t in quotes, but Team Obama had clearly described him as fatigued or weary. Very much the opposite of fired-up and ready to go.


Obama resists political decisions — like denouncing Wright — until it is almost too late. He and his team intend to remain pure. They don’t leak, they don’t like framing stories, and their use of surrogates is pitiful. The entire campaign is a daunting experiment, since this process is not pure, and likely never can be.

But for Obama to win now, and again against McCain, he must want this badly enough for people to know it. He must accept that style often trumps substance. He doesn’t have to be a fighter like Clinton, or a breathless, jump-from-your-chair populist like John Edwards, and he doesn’t have to be an angry black man. Obama is capable of his own passion and purpose and he needs to remember where he left them. If he doesn’t begin hurling fusillades of economic details at these blue-collar white voters, with I-am-bursting-with-excitement-about-helping-your-economic-outlook enthusiasm, they will never give him the time.

He would get the fire back once he shifts into general election mode–with a suitable rest period. But the longer this goes on, the worse it looks for both of them. Clinton’s numbers in the recent polls are overly inflated because for her to become the nominee would come at the price of breaking the Democratic party and while all the news cycle is on Obama, it would immediately shift back to her and her numbers would skyrocket. Not to mention the VRWC would just as quickly turn on her again as it has embraced her (in a weird way) of late.

He’s still a better general election candidate than her, but not as much as he was before.  As I predicted, the real time for the superdelegates to join in and coalesce around a candidate was Wisconsin.  It was the one election where he won both his constituency and hers.  The edge going likely to his being on a roll then, her lackluster performance, and Wisconsin’s embrace of progressive politics historically.  But that time has past and now it’s trench warfare.  Clinton loves it and Obama is bogged down.  I can appreciate and admire that he is a real human being–and that Clinton gets off on all this is a scary piece of evidence–but be that as it may he choose to run for office and sad as I am to admit, lot of people are dumb and have to be given the dog and pony show.

To knock her out.  Her already has beaten her, just not totally defeated Clinton.

But maybe the superdelegates will finally get the memo from Joseph Andrew.

Published in: on May 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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