The Experience Thing - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Experience Thing

Should Barack Obama fight off the Clinton machine and capture the Democratic nomination, Republicans would be silly to view him as a political novice. And it must be said that Clinton’s strategy has been largely based on portraying him as a naive newcomer, all rhetoric, who isn’t ready to be president or commander in chief. So, in one sense, a strategy that Republicans will be counting on to take down Obama in the general election has been tried and it failed. However, just because the experience vs. novice contrast hasn’t been working for Clinton, it doesn’t mean that it will definitely fail for McCain. The reason is that, from the very start, it was laughable for Clinton to claim that she was ready to lead from day one. As has been pointed out, her so-called 35 years of experience was largely a myth. If you’re going to count the short time she spent at the Children’s Defense Fund as relevant experience, then Obama’s time as a civil rights attorney and community organizer gets to count, too. Being a bystander to her husband as first lady of Arkansas and America is really on odd thing to claim as experience, and clearly a lot of voters aren’t buying it. So, when you eliminate all of that, you’re left with the fact that she has a few more years in the U.S. Senate than he does–and if you include his time in the Illinois state senate you can even make the argument that Obama has more overall legislative experience than Clinton. So, while Obama’s victory over Clinton was impressive, it wasn’t a true test of whether he can win a change vs. experience general election. With McCain, there is actually a true contrast. Here’s a man with decades of experience in the Senate, who has been deeply involved in national security matters, with a military background, who can much more credibly argue that he’s ready to lead by day one. That’s not to say that given the choice between change and experience, the electorate wouldn’t choose change (see 1960, 1976, 1992, 2000), but clearly the primaries haven’t been a true test of whether Obama will win such an argument.

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