Thursday, February 7, 2008

Are You Experienced?

"So often in Washington experience means doing what we have been doing over, and over again. Well, to me that's not experience if what you are doing isn't working." - Barack Obama

I have been on various forums where there are heated arguments between Obama and Hillary supporters. Hillary supporters are accusing Obama of having no substance with a razor thin resume to become president on "day one". These people tend to be traditional democrats who are very party oriented. Yet, if Hillary doesn't get the nomination some of them said that they may look at Mccain.

They claim that Hillary is the best person to compete with Mccain because she has the most experience. I can't see how Hillary could compete with Mccain based on experience. She my have more experience than Obama (some have argued that Obama has more experience than Hillary in the State Legislature), but does she have more experience than Mccain? Mccain has been around forever and was in the Hanoi Hilton when she was in College. No democrat still running can say they have more experience.

We are in the mess we are in because of people who have "experience" Cheney, Rumsfeld, Greenspan all have long resumes of running things in the public and private sectors.

If democrats were so concerned about the experience thing they would have went with Biden, Dodd, or Richardson, but they decided to go with the party's "superstars": Hillary and Obama. Given that decision, dems are not going to be able to compete on experience. Our only hope is the vision thing and mobilizing independents and first time voters around a whole different paradigm and grassroots movement to end the war, reform health care, fight against global warming, and create jobs.

Nobody can deny her negatives. I keep running into people who are afraid that Hillary will get in there and not be able to accomplish anything because there is this irrational hatred toward her. I know dems and liberal independents who do not like her. There are people who voted with the Greens in 2000 because they really resented the Clintons for NAFTA, welfare-to-work,
and not doing enough for the environment. It is not just the right who hate her. There is a resentment of her about her vote for the war and her inability to admit she made a mistake with that vote. Refusal to admit a mistake seems too similar to Bush and it disappoints.

Hillary can get the rank and file democrats, but can she get the support of independents, the fastest growing political group in the Nation? If Obama gets the nomination he can steal from the pool of independents that would go for Mccain (his only political strength) and wouldn't mobilize the right wing as much as Hillary would do.

You can be the biggest policy wonk in the world, but if people are turned off by you (even if it is undeserved) how will you get things through?

When it comes to Clinton, experience means baggage, old ideas, and a top down method of governing. Obama's experience with grassroots can serve him well to turn his candidacy
and presidency into a movement for change. Change requires the American public to be motivated to put pressure on government to respond to their needs.

What our country needs is a reset button from the past 30 years in terms of foreign policy, economic development, and the general mood in this country and elevates it. We need a brilliant man of color named Barack Obama to represent us in the Middle East and to the world.

I am not saying Clinton would be a bad president. She would be a fine president. Obama would be better in my opinion. If she gets the nomination I will work for her, but it would be in the spirit of being against a republican Whitehouse rather than any enthusiasm for Clinton.

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