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March 07, 2008

Comments

What LeftTurn said, with applause.

overstating the strength of her position; compliments on a freshly phrased nutshell there. An elegant encapsulation of what appears to be her essence.

In the new divilog over at Bloggingheads">http://">Bloggingheads between Bill Scher and Conn Carroll repeated mention is made of Limbaugh getting out the Republican vote for Hillary, particularly in the Texas primary. Reassessment anyone?

LeftTurn, your describing the political force of the newly engaged seems to resonate well with a piece by Nicholas Von Hoffman at The Nation about an Alinsky-style Inauguration.

LBJ certainly mishandled Vietnam in a massive way, but that you can write that comment suggests you have no idea about what you're talking.

I know very well what I'm talking about: "Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today." - how they loved him. As opposed to you, I'm simply not willing to let war criminals, who caused the death of a couple of hundred thousand people, off the hook in exchange for a couple of reforms. But it seems you're in good company, since quite a few 'liberals' don't seem to give a damn if HRC is going to attack Iran or whatever, as long as they get a new health-care plan.

They say they do. And yet, year after year, decade after decade, negative campaigning works extremely well in politics.

And yet more than 50% of the eligible voting population stays home, election after election. So, sure, for certain values of "extremely well," yeah, OK, why not?

Nice rhetoric LeftTurn. You should send it over to David Broder at the Washington Post. He'll probably give you a job.

I especially like how along with decrying what dirty pool Hillary is playing you manage to let her supporters know that the mob will be baying for their blood, presumably before their trip to the ash heap of history. Nice, classy.

Anyone else seeing HRC as feeling entitled to the job? Otherwise, what Hilzoy said: if Obama gets the nomination, does she then support McCain? Or does she support someone she feels is unqualified?

Isn't it obvious by now just how ill equipped Obama really is to be President?

Look, his major foreign policy adviser completely loses her stuff in an interview after Obama has some bad times in the campaign. His major economic policy adviser engages in some foolish "reassurances" to a foreign government, and then he, Obama, and the Obama campaign are caught out in lies over it.

What does this say about the sort of judgment that Obama has with regard to his own advisers? His problem has always been his absurdly thin resume for the position of President -- thinner than any other modern President. People expect and hope that at minimum he'd have advisers who could set him straight on issues in times of crisis, and act as cooler, wiser heads to keep the ship of state on its correct course.

What do we see instead? Top advisers who seem only more intemperate, more out-of-control, and basically incompetent at what they need to be doing and advising than is Obama himself.

I don't see how any of that can be an inspiring spectacle for the average voter.

The real problem with Obama is that he really doesn't pass the CiC bar, not by any means. While I'd personally vote for him as a Democrat, what I've seen so far from him makes me very, very uneasy about how he could handle a crisis. The thing that would make me vote for him anyway is that I think that the probability of a major foreign policy crisis is relatively low in the early years of his Presidency, and I also think that McCain could easily mess things up very seriously by being far too aggressive in such a crisis. Given the foreign and domestic issues I think are most likely to occur, Obama would be the better choice by far than McCain.

But Obama's inexperience in foreign policy and his apparent inability to handle crises well is without a doubt a very real problem. I'd infinitely prefer Hillary in that role either to Obama or McCain.

Almost as bad as praising Ronald Reagan...

I especially like how along with decrying what dirty pool Hillary is playing you manage to let her supporters know that the mob will be baying for their blood, presumably before their trip to the ash heap of history. Nice, classy.

Frank,

I'm trying to report aspects of the popular mood, as best I can gauge it from water-cooler and picnic table conversation. There is no guarantee that this mood will be either internally consistent, logical, or classy. A quick perusal of history would suggest that in fact the opposite is likely to be true, especially when people are feeling greater than usual levels of stress. So yes, you are correct, but I didn't cook this soup I'm just reporting what it tastes like.

If I were to look for a historical parallel with the atmosphere I'm detecting hints of, an extreme example would be the public mood during the French Revolution, when a passionate emotional desire for national unity in the face of mounting crises combined with a violent bloodlust for retribution against those who were defined as being outside the circle. I think a similarly unstable emotional dynamic is at work here, fortunately in a much weaker form and within the context of a system which gives people more chance to vent short of a social explosion.

Nice rhetoric LeftTurn. You should send it over to David Broder at the Washington Post. He'll probably give you a job.

I don't think David Broder would want me. He is an apologist for the GOP who refuses to acknowledge their dirty tactics and calls for the Democrats to unilaterally surrender rather than fight. I'm not saying that at all, and if you think that's what I meant, then I've done a poor job of explaining myself.

The Republicans have consistently been better at fighting slash and burn electoral campaigns than the Democrats, for at least 40 years now. I submit that the best way to deal with this is not to try to beat the GOP at their own game, but to change the rules of the game.

This is now possible, because the cumulative result of the last 40 years of politics has been to build up a large untapped reservoir of voters who have opted out of politics because they can't stand to listen to a bunch of lying BS and they hate anyone who forces them to do so. This group has been getting larger and angrier every year for a long time now. They showed their faces as Perot voters in 1992, but the 3rd party hill was too steep to climb, so they went back to the sidelines to sulk.

I'm saying that we have reached the point where this group is now motivated enough to reenter politics (thanks to GWB), and has reached a critical mass large enough to win elections with, but only if the right appeal is made to them. They have to be courted and drawn back into politics. The turnout and exit poll data from Obama's early wins suggest that he has found a formula for doing this.

This presents a tremendous opportunity for Democrats, if they can ride this wave, but it also presents a tremendous danger to both political parties. Because what I'm hearing from these folks is that they really want to put Rush Limbaugh and some token Democrat together into the same boat, paint the name S.S. Partisanship on the bow, and then metaphorically tow that boat out into the deepest part of the ocean and sink it.

For Hillary, this means that waving the bloody flag of partisanship right now is like walking around on a golf course during a thunderstorm waving a club over her head. If she wants to get struck by political lightning, this is the perfect thing to do. You have no idea how toxic this down-and-dirty campaigning is right now. In just a couple of months Hillary's support (vs. the Republican nominee) among the DINO/Indy/RINO crowd that I have conversations with has gone from sub-50 percent to basically zero, and I've heard several lifelong Democrats say "there's no way I could ever vote for her now."

Another thing: it would be logical and consistent to regard Hillary's praise for McCain as bipartisanship rather than just the opposite. That's not how it is being parsed, from what I can tell. Instead it is being interpreted not as indicating any great fondness for the McCain on her part, but as a purely tactical maneuver indicative of blind naked ambition and a ruthless lack of scruples.

That may not be fair, but that's how it is going down, in large part because the GOP has already seeded that meme in the public mind, and now it is being reinforced. Hillary likes to talk about how vulnerable Obama will be against the right wing noise machine in November, but in this case she's the one who is vulnerable, because the RWNM positioned this landmine a long time ago and now she is planting her foot squarely on top of it.

ThatLeftTurnInABQ,

Hate to interrupt a opinion of so many words, but all the evidence is that typical Democratic voters share virtually none of the extreme, polarized views on the two candidates that you and your friends and colleagues apparently do. Polls show consistently that the vast majority of Democrats would be happy with either Obama or Hillary as nominee. Your anecdotal evidence mainly makes a compelling case that you and your social circle are way out of that mainstream.

Maybe you should work on that.

In the meantime, get a grip.

Ara: about Obama's lead or lack thereof. A day or so after the MSM screamed "She's Baaack!" and anounced (falsely_ that Hil had won three staes, Hillary jumped to a seven point lead over Obama. That was a swing of about foruteen points. Now a few days later half of that swing has swung back. Bandwagon effect.

Still in the long run it matters. Momentum counts. Obama can't win this just on pledged delegate numbers.

The mainstream doens't know her very well yet. She polarizes people delivberately, as a policy. Those who are well informed and objective about her behavior don't approve of her. Her followers of course use every kind of wingnut rationalization to justify her Rove behavior.

Atrocious is like Rove putting forward rumors that the opposition candidate for nomination has an illegitimate mixed-race daughter when you know he has an adopted daughter whose ethnic origin will make this rumor extremely damaging both for McCain and for his daughter. That's atrocious. The Swift Boat Veterans were atrocious.

This is just... kinda stupid.

Please explain to me how Hillary and her surrogates tearing down her opponent by appealing to ignorance, racism, and anti-Muslim prejudice is any different? They're both plays on the basest human instincts of the American electorate. If anything, I think the fact that Hillary is a Democrat and trumpets herself as a member of the party of tolerance and liberal openmindedness makes what she's doing worse because of the added stink of hypocrisy.

Just to add my voice to the chorus: I'm one of those moderate, independent swing-voter types that you need to win elections. I have happily voted for Democrats in the past - Kerry in 2004, Bob Casey and Lois Murphy in 2006. But there is no way I will ever, ever, ever, EVER vote for Hillary Clinton. If she is the Democratic nominee, I will vote for McCain full-stop. I don't know how representative I am, but if there are a lot of people like me out there, then it would suggest that Hillary is in big, big trouble even if she manages to secure the nomination somehow.

Atrocious is like Rove putting forward rumors that the opposition candidate for nomination has an illegitimate mixed-race daughter when you know he has an adopted daughter whose ethnic origin will make this rumor extremely damaging both for McCain and for his daughter. That's atrocious. The Swift Boat Veterans were atrocious.

This is just... kinda stupid.

Please explain to me how Hillary and her surrogates tearing down her opponent by appealing to ignorance, racism, and anti-Muslim prejudice is any different? They're both plays on the basest human instincts of the American electorate. If anything, I think the fact that Hillary is a Democrat and trumpets herself as a member of the party of tolerance and liberal openmindedness makes what she's doing worse because of the added stink of hypocrisy.

Just to add my voice to the chorus: I'm one of those moderate, independent swing-voter types that you need to win elections. I have happily voted for Democrats in the past - Kerry in 2004, Bob Casey and Lois Murphy in 2006. But there is no way I will ever, ever, ever, EVER vote for Hillary Clinton. If she is the Democratic nominee, I will vote for McCain full-stop. I don't know how representative I am, but if there are a lot of people like me out there, then it would suggest that Hillary is in big, big trouble even if she manages to secure the nomination somehow.

I wrote a great big long post on the other thread but I'll just summarize here: Rove tactics are more than just smears. The goals is to divide and conquer by marginalizing one side. of course this means that the body has to be divided into two sides: no unity! No middle ground! the specific techniques include smears, lies, especially the up is down in is out kind, demonizing and marginalizing labels, projection (claim the othehr side is doing what you are doing) faux victimization, faux outrage, and of course the very favorite: tell the target of the attacks that it reflects poorly on them if they get mad.

Hillary is using all of these techniques on the Deomcratic party. So far most Democrats aren't paying enough attentinj or getting the right info from the MSM to see the full extent of her descent into Rovism. Possibly the majority never will, just as many many rank and file Republicans didn't see what Bbush was doing until recently. Of course many Hillary supporters are doing what many Republicans did: rationalizing like crazy and blaming Obama supporters for the divisiveness cause (deliberately) by their Dear Leader.

Yeah, with the exception of the most conservative unit of my family, every independent and Republican with whom I've spoken about the election has said they'd happily vote for Obama over any Republican candidate, but would never vote for Clinton.

It's too bad I don't think the Republic would survive another four years of Republican rule; I find the notion of voting for her sort of repellent myself. A hold yer nose and pull the lever if there ever was one for me.

Everybody needs to calm down.

This stuff about not voting for Hillary if she's the candidate? Please. This is Nader 2000 thinking. Yes, Virginia, there really is more than a dime's worth of difference between the two parties. Not as much as I would like, and maybe even less of a difference if it's Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama who is our candidate, but you still have what Robert Heinlein accurately described as the usual political decision:
"the difference between bad and worse, which is much sharper than the difference between good and bad."

We cannot afford another 4-8 years of rule by a party -- don't kid yourself that it's just the current President -- that uses the FBI and DOJ to go after political enemies, that spies on Americans and throws American citizens into a gulag without trial for 4 years, that proudly supports torturing suspects, and that adheres to an economic ideology as stupid and unrealistic as Marxism. Enough. You don't like it that blue-collar folks in Ohio and Pennsylvania are skeptical about change and susceptible to fear? Too bad, they're a significant part of your party, get used to working with them.

I think there's a key reason Hillary Clinton is starting to pick up steam that has nothing to do with her tactics, and everything to do with what a primary season should be about. Very simply, the economy is nosediving. When Obama started this process, he could score easy points by pointing to Hillary's lousy record on Iraq. Now, a lot of our base is more worried about whether they'll have a job or a house next year than whether we're screwing up in Iraq. And Hillary Clinton is talking to that just a little more effectively than Obama.

If he wants to win this election, he needs to turn that around, yesterday. He needs to shift focus, and get serious about nuts and bolts domestic policy. People need to hear that he cares and that he understands. Bill Clinton did that kind of campaigning better than anyone. Barack Obama would be well advised to study his example.

Your anecdotal evidence mainly makes a compelling case that you and your social circle are way out of that mainstream.

Maybe you should work on that.

franklyO - I'm not the least bit offended by having you point that out, in fact I've wondered about that myself. That is the big problem with anecdotal evidence, you never know how representative it is. If others would chime in with their anecdotes, I would love to hear what the mood is like elsewhere, preferably in detail.

One problem I have with polls is that I rarely encounter any which delve deeply enough into people's preferences to explain why they are voting one way or the other, beyond the level of basic demographic groupings. A voter may have very strongly held opinions, or may be close to a coin flip, but that distinction rarely makes it into polling data.

The advantage of anecdotal information is that people give you more of a picture as to what they are thinking and feeling, rather than just which button they will push when forced to make a binary choice. We would have a better idea of what is going on if polling groups were to use interviews more extensively rather than just pre-election polls and exit polls.

Hilzoy, You strongly suggest that Clinton has evaluated Obama's credentials and concluded that he is prepared to be commander in chief. You acknowledge one possible alternative: that she has concluded that he is not qualified. You don't address the possibility that she simply doesn't have a well thought out opinion on the matter. That omission is surprising in light of your immediately preceding posting about Samantha Power, in which you stated that "campaigns are by their nature intense for people who work in them." I think I can fairly paraphrase you as saying that while it was a mistake for Power to express those thoughts on the record, there is nothing remarkable about someone working for a campaign having those thoughts. Someone in the heat of a campaign cannot be expected to always make reasoned judgements about the merits of the opposing candidate. So they should refrain from making judgements, or at least from expressing those judgements publicly. If your point holds for campaign workers, I would think it would be even more true for the candidates themselves. While a campaign worker may have an emotional investment in the campaign, at the end of the day, the voters aren't going to choose or reject the campaign workers; they are going to choose or reject the candidate. I don't know how much time someone like Power spends working on a campaign, but as a policy advisor I expect she gets a reasonable amount of time off. A candidate who is serious about winning spends pretty much all of his or her time working on the campaign. While she is working on the campaign, Clinton is concerned about what Obama is doing now to win votes, not with what he might do if he becomes president. In the small amount of time that Clinton is not working on her campaign, you might expect her to relax by thinking about issues that don't require a lot of work to think about. That would not be thinking about how Obama might perform as commander in chief because the emotions of a campaign make it difficult to view ones opponent objectively. Or she might work on a difficult problem which has nothing to do with the campaign. Again, that's not thinking about Obama. In short, Clinton hasn't expressed an opinion on whether Obama is prepared to be commander in chief, and I think that the most likely reason for this is that she doesn't have one. As for your proposed questions, I doubt that they would tell us anything new. Clinton typically responds to "gotcha" questions by simply repeating what she has previously said on the topic. With regard to the possible things you think we might learn: 1) either that her doubts about Obama are so serious that she would not be willing to support the nominee of her own party We probably don't learn this because, if memory serves, all of the major contenders for the Democratic nomination indicated that they were prepared to support the eventual nominee. 2) or that she would support someone she thinks is unfit to serve We probably don't learn this because if Clinton had an opinion on whether Obama was "fit to serve" (rather loaded language, but I'll let that pass), and were willing to share that opinion, I would think that she would have done so by now. 3) or that she does not believe a word she said about Obama Your proposed question was, "why she would be willing to support someone she does not believe is qualified to be commander in chief." Clinton implied that Obama had not made a convincing case that he was prepared to be commander in chief, and that this would make it hard for him to beat McCain in the general election. It's hard to see how a response to your question would tell us anything about whether she actually believes what she implied about the effectiveness of Obama's messaging. Perhaps you meant to write that the response would tell us whether she believed that Obama was qualified to be commander in chief. But your proposed question doesn't ask Clinton what she believes about Obama; it makes an assertion about what she believes. If the assertion is correct, Clinton has no reason to comment on it. If it is incorrect, and Clinton says that the reporter is wrong, that makes the reporter appear to be either incompetent or dishonest. That's not a wise move if you want to have good relations with the press, so in this case, too, Clinton is not likely to comment on the reporter's assertion. If the reporter wants to find out whether Clinton believes that Obama is qualified to be commander in chief, the reporter should ask her.

This stuff about not voting for Hillary if she's the candidate? Please. This is Nader 2000 thinking.

Yup. And what role did Nader play in 2000 again?

I think if either of the candidates is perceived to have "stolen" the nomination through last minute rule changes, backroom deals, or other shenanigans at the convention (far more likely with Hillary than Obama in my view, but nevertheless the statement applies to both), the alienation of the losing faction is going to be a big problem in November. Some voters will defect (I think Obama's more likely to Nader or Bloomberg, if he jumps in, Hillary's to McCain). But even if that number's not very large, there are probably also a significant number of people who just won't be able to muster up the enthusiasm to vote for a candidate they see as having been forced on them and will sit it out. Clinton cannot win the general election without high African-American turnout, and Obama can't win it without support from Hispanics, seniors, and Reagan Democrats. So however things are decided, it's going to have to be done in a way people think is fair, or things could get very dicey in November.

How about the concept that Obama genuinely isn't prepared to be an adequate Commander in Chief? Why is that thought unthinkable?

He could hardly have slighter relevant experience on that, could he? Would we put someone in a position of, say, CEO of a company, or president of a college, with such meager experience? Why are we OK with the idea that the CiC might have far less relevant experience than any serious candidate for any of these other roles?

Again, the problem for Obama is that his deficiency is not being made up by Hillary: it's very real. We are supposed to pretend, as good Democrats, that this can't possibly be a genuine problem, simply because he might be our nominee. But why should we engage in that pretense?

To put my point another way, what would, in fact, be too limited experience for a CiC, in the mind of Obama supporters? Or is there simply no amount of relevant experience that would be too small?

frankly0: I can't speak for Obama supporters as a group, for obvious reasons. But speaking for myself: I don't think experience is the main qualification, here. (As everyone and her brother has already pointed out, if it were, we'd have no problem with Cheney.)

I think that someone who has good judgment, an ability to choose good people as advisors and to recognize what s/he does and doesn't know, a lot of curiosity and thoughtfulness, and basic decency -- as well as an ability to work well under pressure -- would be a good commander in chief. Also, I think, the degree of confidence needed not to be unnecessarily timid in areas you don't know cold, plus the degree of humility needed not to be arrogant in those same areas.

Obviously, there is some level of experience that would be required -- e.g., I wouldn't elect someone who had spent his or her entire life locked in a room with no information about the outside world, and I'd vastly prefer someone who had travelled enough to have some idea how the US looks from elsewhere. Otherwise, though, I really am in the 'judgment, not experience, matters most' camp.

frankly0, let me put that question back on you: What specific experience, or what specific category of experience, is possessed by Hillary Clinton, but not by Barack Obama, that is directly relevant to being the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the US?

(Honestly, in my ideal world, in any given four-year term, our President would not have to do anything with our military at all.

So this sudden horsecrap about how protecting the US is the president's most important job, etc., really ruffles my feathers. The Presidential Oath of Office is, in full: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Nothing in there about "protecting the country" or "protecting the American people," which George W. Bush has claimed on diggity-jillion occasions is his most important task as President, and nobody ever calls him on it.)

i much prefer Obama's lack of relevant experience to someone with bad judgment and little experience who also lies about having more experience than s/he does.

also, i much prefer Obama's lack of relevant experience to someone whose experience tells them that "more war" is the default answer.

"i hope this is how Republicans feel about having McCain as their standard bearer."

For the most part, nope. Hardcore Republicans dislike McCain's heresies and feel they can't trust him, but no one thinks he's a "monster."

Frankly0, George Bush has two terms as CiC, does that make him qualified? McCain supports Bush's failed policies, does that make him qualified? Experience is not the only issue, or else Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld should all be fine CiC's. They've got decades of experience between them. Experience isn't the standard bearer or else we wouldn't be in the position in Iraq that we are.

Furthermore she is ceding the Republican's main frame that they're better on national security - even if their policies are a failure in the region. It's horrendous to give this selling point to McCain.

hilzoy: "I think that someone who has good judgment, an ability to choose good people as advisors and to recognize what s/he does and doesn't know, a lot of curiosity and thoughtfulness, and basic decency -- as well as an ability to work well under pressure -- would be a good commander in chief."

So I guess you think Oprah would make a good commander in chief too. Or how about Jay Leno? Or - wait - Phil Jackson, who fits the definition to a T.

What's lacking from your description is the most crucial element: the ability to make life and death decisions under pressure. To act boldly, and decisively, when there are real consequences to those actions. So far, there's zero indication Obama possesses that kind of strength of character. His Senate voting record on the Iraq War shows him to be a shadow boxer, who feints and ducks, but can't throw or take a punch.

Aren't you at all bothered by the hypocrisy of his actual voting record on Iraq? Especially when contrasted with his speechifying about the war, and his professed moral opposition to it?

When he was campaigning for his Illinois Senate seat in 2003 and 2004 he frequently scolded Bush for invading Iraq and vowed he would "unequivocally" vote against additional billions to pay for it; but since taking office in January 2005, hasn't he voted numerous times for about $300 billion in war appropriations?

And what about his June 2006 vote against the troop withdrawal proposal by Kerry and Feingold? For someone supposedly morally opposed to the war, isn't that an amoral flip-flop? Doesn't it bother you that he only voted for the draw down of troops AFTER he was running for president and polls had shifted in favor of it?

He doesn't seem to possess the 'courage of his convictions' -- he's good at ballyhoo, but not so good at following through on his professed beliefs.

To put my point another way, what would, in fact, be too limited experience for a CiC, in the mind of Obama supporters? Or is there simply no amount of relevant experience that would be too small?

frankly0,

You phrase this as if Obama supporters are guilty of setting a floor on the required experience so low as to be dangerous, but I think that this question is not answerable in the terms you've stated.

I can't speak for other Obama supporters, but my take is that I've looked through the past history of the US pretty carefully and I can't come up with any objective criteria that are effective predictors of CiC performance, other than general intelligence, wisdom, and an ability to stay cool under pressure. These are character traits rather than resume items, so experience as a yardstick doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

If you look at the greatest national security crises faced by the United States in the past, then I think you'd have to pick out Lincoln and FDR as the Presidents who did the best job against the greatest possible threats. Lincoln was one of the most inexperienced presidential candidates ever in our history, and FDR had some experience with military issues but was hardly a grizzled veteran of foreign affairs when he 1st ran for the Presidency.

JFK is harder to measure, it depends on whether you think that his inexperience helped to trigger the Cuban Missile Crisis, or prefer to see him as having helped avoid a catastrophe by keeping a cool head once the crisis was underway. I've read plenty of debate between historians over this issue without noticing any consensus.

The best argument I can see for a President needing a heavy resume of experience to prepare him for a crisis would be George H. Bush. In my opinion the reputation of his team will grow for decades as we come to appreciate the delicacy of the task they faced with the implosion of the Soviet Union, and how well they pulled it off. Niall Ferguson has written pretty convincingly about how the end of an empire is often an extremely messy and dangerous business. That GHB and his team were able to pull us through the period from 1989 to 1992 with as little bloodshed and conflict as they did is remarkable.

The irony is that GHB went down to defeat in 1992 against an extremely inexperienced candidate who had no national security credentials of any kind - whose wife is now claiming that experience is a crucial metric for measuring a potential president. It makes you wonder if HRC hates Obama because he reminds her too much of Bill.

http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Pres-GE-MvO.php>McCain vs. Obama

http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Pres-GE-MvC.php>McCain vs. Clinton

...in case anyone still believes the old Hillary Clinton is a better candidate versus John McCain line.

The Republicans have already nominated the only candidate in their field who even has a chance of winning in the fall. The Democrats are still trying to decide if they'll nominate their one serious candidate that has a chance of losing.

John McCain on 60 Minutes, via John Cole:

“You’re saying that Senator Obama doesn’t have the experience? That he’s too naïve to be president?” Pelley asked.

“No, I am saying that I have that. And if the phone rings at 3:00a.m., I think the American people would want me to answer it first,” McCain replied.

It would be nice if Clinton could avoid badmouthing Obama more than McCain does, and it would be even nicer if Clinton weren't running campaign commercials for McCain.

Note too that McCain has made a career of portraying Bill Clinton as unfit to be commander-in-chief. For fifteen years, McCain has gone out of his way not just to criticize Clinton's policies but to accuse him of the most humiliating traits that could be ascribed to a commander in chief: self-doubt, vacillation, and valuing political expediency above the national interest. What does that suggest about the quality of Hillary's 'experience'? More here

I'd add this corollary to hilzoy's proposed question: Did Senator Clinton vote for her husband in 1992, or George H. W. Bush?

Because her husband arguably had as of 1992 far less experience relevant to being CiC than Senator Obama has now.

And he was running against an incumbent who was the sitting President, and before that had been VP eight years, head of the CIA, Ambassador to China, Ambassador to the UN, and a Congressman.

Applying the criteria and benchmarks she has put forth this week, she should have voted for then President Bush over her husband in 1992. I'm guessing she didn't.

The Clinton camp is the one trotting out the experience frame, so the burden of proof is on them. So far, as the Weisberg-Penn-Ickes call showed, even her own crew doesn't know what experience she has that is relevant. I've talked to one of the Northern Irish women she talked to that she claimed as experience. How about we nominate me! Clinton is attacking Obama with exactly the attacks that McCain seems to be planning to use and he's still beating her. He won 11 contests in a row. People talk about how Obama supporters project their fantasies onto him. However, Clinton supporters project experience and judgment onto her that are not there. She is running on nothing but being next to Bill during the 1990's, during which all she accomplished was being the GOP's favorite punching bag. She lost those fights, remember. Obama can't use those same tactics in the primary without pissing off feminists, yet the GOP will use them again because they worked against her, which is why her unfavorables are above 50%. The fact that Clinton supporters are mouthing campaign talking points without substance suggests that they don't know why they are backing her or actually support a Bush-lite foreign policy.

Think about this, the fact that Power called Clinton a monster is somehow worse than that Clinton and her advisors aided and abetted a war that killed at least hundreds of thousands of people.

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