Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hillary’s Fatal Flaw

Watching Clinton campaign this last year I am always reminded of John Kerry in his 2004 presidential bid and how he attempted to use his amazingly brief Vietnam War experience to prove he was qualified to lead the nation.

Likewise, Hillary has constantly declared that her eight years as spouse to a president give her the experience and qualifications to serve as president. She has used Bill in much the same way Kerry trotted out his Vietnam buddies who gave testimony to his leadership skills and courage. Bill has called her a genius, a person who is ready to assume the duties as president on the first day.

Kerry suffered immensely at the hands of the swift boat vets, a large group of veterans who had served with Kerry and shot down almost all his claims to combat gallantry and heroism. They portrayed him as a poor officer, self-serving and lacking in leadership skills, sound familiar? A book and video released by these veterans did a horrific amount of damage to his campaign. Especially because Kerry never really took on these charges, in fact he has never fully released his service records.

Clinton’s swift boat vet equivalent is the American voter. Too many of us remember the harsh, confrontational White House version of Hillary. A figure that operated in Bill’s shadow, one who used her husband’s power to actively pursue all enemies, real or perceived. Clinton, like Kerry, has chosen to down play her years as a senator to prove her experience. Instead she reaches back to the time when she was married to power, this is something she clearly believes places her ahead of her rivals; more time as a resident of the White House.

Can Clinton’s theme of [imaginary] experience trump Osama’s theme of hope and change? There is little doubt that Barack is the clear choice for change in this election, and Hillary’s claim to White House level decision making experience is weak, one that is most difficult to prove. While Obama is largely unproven, Hillary brings along a Titanic’s worth of baggage. Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, FBI files, the health care debacle, shady investments…the list goes on. One should wonder how she became a central figure in all these events as first lady [some before]; imagine what she could do as President!!

Hillary may want to take a look back at Kerry’s failed 2004 presidential bid. Sometimes the things that you think make you strong actually weaken you. Kerry’s focus on his four month tour in Vietnam exploded on his campaign like a forgotten thirty year old land mine. Hillary’s focus on her years as first lady may end doing the same thing to her.

If you have nothing to offer for the future, always refer to the past.

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