Monday, March 10, 2008

A candidate in need of vetting

Senator Clinton’s much touted “experience” is highly questionable given the chaos in the management of her own campaign. According to this morning’s New York Times:

“She hasn’t managed anything as complex as this before; that’s the problem with senators,” said James A. Thurber, a professor of government at American University who is an expert on presidential management. “She wasn’t as decisive as she should have been. And it’s a legitimate question to ask: Under great pressure from two different factions, can she make some hard decisions and move ahead? It seems to just fester. She doesn’t seem to know how to stop it or want to stop it.”

And if she hasn’t managed anything as complex as a campaign then what are we to expect from her management of the White House? It is not unreasonable to view the administration of the campaigns as dry runs for the administration of the White House. Compare the chaos of the Clinton effort with the focused work by the Obama campaign.

The Clinton campaign has made a number of assertions they keep repeating over and over again (Obama isn’t qualified, Obama only wins red states, as far as Senator Clinton “knows” Senator Obama is a Christian, etc.) that need to be examined closely. If this country is to have a Clinton third term then it is only fair that Senator Clinton be properly vetted before the Democrats go down that path. Reed Hundt, at TPM Café, questions many of the assertions promoted by the Clintons (numerically corrected paragraphs from the original) :

1. Was Hillary in the White House years involved in national security discussions to the exclusion of the Vice President and the national security adviser? Can anyone name such occasions? If so, does she propose as President to involve her spouse to the exclusion of these other people? Or were the Vice President and national security advisers in the so-called red phone discussions with her? If so, does Tony Lake confirm that? Does anyone?

2. The Clintons suggest Obama should join their team as their Vice President. But if that's what they intend, then doesn't that mean he is qualified to be President? …

3. Will the Clintons admit that Obama is a god-fearing Christian and highly intelligent and clearly qualified to be President? As to all three of these things, yes or no? Their insinuations on these topics ought to be extinguished.

4. How can someone be vetted and tested if she has not released her tax returns or records of her time in the White House? How can her refusal to release this information not be taken as indication that massive wealth and dubious sources of income raise questions about the Clintons'

5. Has any delegate from Florida been fairly elected, in the view of the Clintons? If they were not fairly elected, then how can the Clintons accept their votes? Haven't Democrats learned that unfair elections in Florida are not to be condoned?

6. How can the states Democrats will surely win this November matter more than the states that they need to win to get the electoral college and large Congressional majorities? Aren't the swing states by definition of greater tactical importance than the large deep blue states?

7. If the big states matter more than the small states, as the Clintons imply, then why don't the big states have more delegates than they do? How can the rules of apportioning delegates be deemed unfair when for the most part they were written by Clinton allies, weren't they?

8. The reporters all want Obama to make the sort of inaccurate, snide, snipy comments that the Clintons are now firing off daily. The reporters want this because the rapid exchange of mean allegations makes easy stories to write, and is as entertaining (and edifying) as, say, wrestling or any cable talk show. But why should this election turn on what reporters find easy and fun (for them) to write? Shouldn't it turn instead on what the candidates show about their character, their ethics, their integrity, and their aspirations?

9. The reporters have predicted wrongly and interpreted poorly most of the voting in most states. Most recently, they got Texas and Ohio wrong: in fact Obama closed the gap with Clinton substantially over the last two weeks, and the exit polls suggested he would run well in both states in November. It is Clinton who has not attracted a broad base of support in the states that have voted. Her appeal is narrowly based, and strongest where she has the support of long-time allies in the Democratic Party. That base's lack of breadth and national appeal is the principal reason for the Republican dominance over American politics since at least 1980. By contrast, the big story of the election is the wave of new voters who have poured into the Democratic column because of Obama; there is no evidence that the Clintons have attracted any new voters. So isn't it clear who would be the better nominee?

10. Isn't it clear that McCain's great strength for this fall is his appeal to moderate and independent voters, and isn't that best met by Obama, rather than Clinton, based on all the voting to date?

1 comment:

Comrade Kevin said...

The vetting has now commenced, if we can get a silly sex scandal off the table.

I think the MSM planted it deliberately. That's the real red herring here.