Monday, March 10, 2008

Sen. Clinton and Sinbad: Foreign Policy Experts

Sen. Clinton has been going around and telling everyone that she's passed the "Commander-in-Chief test" (does Kaplan have a review course for that?) and Obama has not... a move that, while silly and short-sighted on the surface, has helped keep her at the top of the media spotlight.

Bill Maher confronted Clinton campaign chair, and former DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe on this issue this past Friday, and McAuliffe wasn't able to really to honestly defend the assertion... instead devolving into Bush-esque '9/11 changed everything' tropes. Maher was not shying about calling his answer "bullshit".

Well live by the experience sword, die by the experience sword, because the Chicago Tribune decided to fact-check the claims that Clinton used to bolster her foreign policy cred. They concluded that "while Hillary Clinton represented the U.S. on the world stage at important moments while she was first lady, there is scant evidence that she played a pivotal role in major foreign policy decisions or in managing global crises." For example, they note that Clinton claimed that she "negotiated with Macedonia to open up its border to refugees from Kosovo," but its turns out that "She was, in fact, leading a goodwill entourage that included baggy-pants funnyman Sinbad, singer Sheryl Crow and Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, then 15."

Now, personally, experience is less important to me than judgment and leadership ability. But Clinton wanted to make this the centerpiece of her campaign at this point, and it just doesn't hold up.

The media at large hasn't been as critical of her claims, but it's amazing to me how short-sighted the Clintons' desperation has made them. Best case scenario for her, and she becomes the nominee... she did so by crafting talking points and narratives that the GOP will happily co-opt and turn against her. This needs to stop.


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