Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Politico: Hillary Clinton's "experience" partly her imagination

  • Then-Senator Hillary Clinton officially announced she would run for President on January 20, 2007.
  • Soon afterwards then-Senator Joe Biden officially signed papers with the FEC to run for President on January 31, 2007.
  • And right on Biden's heels was then-Senator Barack Obama, who also announced his run for President on February 10, 2007.

There were 26 democratic primary debates between April 2007 and April 2008 (In contrast, there were only 6 democratic debates for the 2016 election).

Joe Biden dropped out of the race a year later on January 3, 2008 after a poor performance in the Iowa caucus.

As the clear front-runner at the time, Hillary was widely expected to clinch the democratic nomination early — and was constantly touting her "experience" back then. But after a long and contentious (and often mean and bitter) battle with Obama during the Democratic primary, Hillary withdrew on June 3, 2008. She only had 1,923 delegates (231 less than Obama) — which was 195 short of the 2,118 required to win the Democratic nomination.

Four days later after dropping out of the race, she endorsed Barack Obama as the presumptive nominee on June 7, 2008.

Not long afterwards (on June 22, 2008) Joe Biden also endorsed Barack Obama — and two months after that (on August 23, 2008) Biden was chosen as Obama's running mate. Four days later in a speech at the Democratic National Convention (on August 27, 2008) Bill Clinton also endorsed Obama:

"You know, I love this, and I thank you, but we have important work to do tonight. I am here first to support Barack Obama. And second, I'm here to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden."

Maybe that was some "deal" worked out between Obama and the Clintons: Give her a cabinet post as a consolation prize for losing the primary. Then, in return, uncle Bill would campaign for Obama, and then tell everybody it was to help unite the party for the general election (and to beef up Hillary's résumé for her next possible presidential election).

In the general election on November 4, 2008 the Obama/Biden ticket defeated John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin. A few days later Hillary was offered a job from Obama as Secretary of the State. From the New York Times (November 2008):

The choice of Mrs. Clinton pleased many in the Democratic establishment who admire her strength and skills, and they praised Mr. Obama for putting the rancor of the campaign behind him ... But it could also disappoint many of Mr. Obama’s supporters, who worked hard to have him elected instead of Mrs. Clinton and saw him as a vehicle for changing Washington. Mr. Obama argued during the primaries that it was time to move beyond the Clinton era, and in particular, belittled her claims to foreign policy experience as a First Lady who circled the globe. Advisers said Mr. Obama concluded after the election that the problems confronting the nation were so serious that he needed Mrs. Clinton’s stature and capabilities as part of his team, notwithstanding their past differences. The bitterness that inhabited the Obama team for much of the year has faded with time, advisers said ... Mrs. Clinton had to accept that she might never become president, a former aide said. “There’s a very small chance that she could run again,” he said. “You’re not going to be the president, so you want to make sure your next few years, which may be your last in public life, really make a mark.” ... It is also not clear how Mrs. Clinton’s selection would affect the role and influence of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, whose expertise in foreign policy was a main reason Mr. Obama chose him for the job. Another complication was Mr. Clinton, whose extensive business and philanthropic activities around the world could pose conflicts of interest. Lawyers for both sides spent days combing through his finances and crafting guidelines for his future activities. People close to the vetting said Mr. Clinton turned over the names of all 208,000 donors to his foundation and library and agreed to every condition requested by Mr. Obama’s transition team, including restrictions on his paid speeches and his role at his international foundation. The lawyers agreed to notify all of the donors that their identities would be revealed to the Obama team, but it was not clear if they would all be made public.


Lately, Obama and the Clintons have had nothing but high praise for one another. As for Hillary, it's sometimes hard to tell who's the captain of whose fan club. After dissing each other for not having any foreign policy experience during the 2007/08 primaries — now Hillary is vehemently criticizing Senator Bernie Sanders for lacking foreign policy experience. But as one reader at the Boston Globe recently noted, "Hillary's only real experience is attributable to one thing: marrying Bill Clinton. If she hadn't done that she'd be an unheard of housewife/lawyer in Illinois doing real estate closings."

All the talk about Hillary Clinton's "experience" is a false argument. For one thing, besides having more experience than most of the GOP candidates, it can also be argued that Senator Bernie Sanders also has more experience than Hillary Clinton as well — and certainly has much more experience than President Obama had before he became our two-term president.

  • Bernie was the mayor of Burlington Vermont from 1981 until 1989, and served in the House and Senate of Congress from 1990 to the present in 2016 (35 years of political office experience).
  • Hillary was the First Lady from 1993 until 2001; a New York Senator from 2001 to 2009; and was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 (20 years of political office experience if you count First Lady as experience).
  • Obama was an Illinois State senator from 1997 to 2004, and a U.S. Senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008 (11 years of political office experience).

At a recent campaign rally in Clinton, Iowa Hillary Clinton drew a modest group of 450 people. In her speech she recalled being in the White House Situation Room analyzing intelligence of a terrorist plot pegged to President Obama’s 2009 inauguration. "It came down to experience and judgment,” she said. The big problem with that story was, she wasn't the Secretary of State at the time ... unless she was secretly working in the Bush administration.

Hillary Clinton has been known to embellish stories to make herself sound more important, relevant and heroic. The most infamous story was during the 2008 election against Obama when she claimed her and her daughter came under sniper fire in Bosnia. In the 3-minute video below Mike Allen from Politico said, "Who knows if she misremembered, misspoke, exaggerated ... whatever. It makes the case for senator Obama that, all that experience she's been talking about, is at least partly her imagination."

The video shows Hillary Clinton — not being shot at — but partying with Sheryl Crow, who ended up endorsing Obama in 2008 instead. (Sheryl Crow sang the National Anthem at the CNN Democratic presidential debate on October 13th last year, but has yet to decide who she'll endorse for 2016. She said she's hoping there will be a push among Democrats to help middle-class and poorer families by raising the minimum wage.)

In the video you'll also see Hillary comparing herself to Eleanor Roosevelt, and making the excuse for her false remarks by saying, "That's what I said when I was sleep deprived. You can read my book — I said something very different. Yeah, I misspoke", she said with a wave of her hand as her supporters were laughing it off.

Hillary is always plugging her books $$$. Since then, Hillary has said that her vote for 4,486 American deaths in the Iraq war was a "mistake". At an event in Iowa last year Hillary Clinton told reporters: "I made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple. And I have written about it in my book, I have talked about it in the past". (Yes Hillary, we are flush with cash, so we'll be sure to buy your damn books.)

Now the whole Clinton family (Hillary, Bill and Chelsea) are all campaigning against Senator Bernie Sanders — and not very nicely. So can you imagine them all endorsing Bernie at the next Democratic convention? And after he wins the democratic primary and general election, should Bernie also offer the former secretary a job? Another 4 more years in that position will look great on her résumé if she were ever to decide to run for President again (maybe against Bernie Sanders in 2020). After all, they say "Three times a charm!"

There's even some speculation (consternation) about Hillary possibly being Bernie's running mate after he wins the democratic nomination. Can you imagine a Sanders/Clinton ticket? Egads no! The Democrats would surely lose the general election with her on the ticket! Not one single Republican would ever vote for Bernie with her as VP — being just one heartbeat away from the Presidency. (But a Sanders/Warren ticket would make it a landslide win!)

In the 6-minute video below Hillary Clinton is at the CNN Iowa Democratic Presidential Town Hall (January 25, 2016) answering questions from members in the audience about her honesty, the lack of enthusiasm from young people (about her campaign) and income inequality. The first young man (a Bernie supporter named Taylor Gipple) said to her: "I've heard from a lot of people my age who think you're dishonest..." to which Hillary replied:

"Well, I think it really depends upon who you're seeing and talking to ... I've been around a long time. People have thrown all kinds of things at me, and I can't keep up with it. I just keep going forward — they fall by the wayside, they come up with all these outlandish things, they make these charges — I just keep going forward, because there's nothing to it. They throw all this stuff at me, and I'm still standing. But if you're new to politics, if it's the first time you really paid attention, you go "Oh my gosh! Look at all of this!" And you have to say to yourself, "Why are they throwing all of that?" Well I'll tell you why: Because I've been on the front line of change and progress since I was your age ..."

Of course, anybody born before 1980 knew exactly what Hillary was taking about: her husband Bill's infidelities and his impeachment, all the charges of his sexual assaults, and Monica Lewinsky's DNA-stained blue dress while the Clinton's occupied the White House — aka the vast right-wing conspiracy as she said in her own words. But the young man may not have even known about all that "stuff", and was only wondering about Hillary's false claims of being under sniper fire while she was partying with Sheryl Crow.

Then a young lady asked Hillary about income inequality, who responded: "I think it's fair to say that I have a 40 year record of going after income inequality (bla, bla, bla)." So then, with Hillary's 40 years of "experience", she must have done a piss-poor job on income inequality, because why else do we have so much more now than we did 40 years ago? Was she claiming that things would have been much worse without her personal efforts?

A third audience member (an older man) had praised her, and then asked her a question about foreign policy; but we already know about Hillary's foreign policy experience — because her vote for the Iraq war and her role as Secretary of State helped create ISIS. (If anybody hears a straight answer from her, please let me know.)

* Note: Her entire remarks at the forum would have been too long to post at my YouTube account because (for some reason) YouTube started imposing a 15-minute limit on my videos. But all the full videos are posted at Youtube:

The CNN Iowa Democratic Presidential Town Hall Forum at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa on January. 25, 2016 that was moderated by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo -- In the order that they spoke:

Bernie Sanders

Martin O'Malley

Hillary Clinton


  1. January 25, 2016 -- CNN: The Democratic Poll of Polls, which was dead even last week with Clinton and Sanders both at 45%, now finds Sanders a tick ahead of Clinton, 46% to 44%.


    January 25, 2016 -- Bernie Sanders: "Pundits say that young people won't come out to participate in the political process. Let's make the pundits eat those words."


  2. The Guardian:

    Meet the new Bernie Sanders: still lecturing, only now with a human course correction that could beat an increasingly robotic and vulnerable Hillary Clinton with less than a week to go before people actually – finally – start voting for a new American president. This Bernie can ride the energy of a youthful, thousands-strong rally with the best of ’em ... Two very clear choices emerged from Monday’s Democratic forum between Clinton, Sanders and former governor Martin O’Malley. There was the softer, suddenly more endearing Old Man Sanders, and the sharp, energetic, Benghazi-proof Clinton. But with the polls and the momentum in both Iowa and New Hampshire on his side, this was a winning dichotomy for Sanders, who presented a side of himself that we haven’t really seen before ... Clinton came off as little more than condescending ... When Clinton was asked to address her use of private email, her answer seemed to amount to, well, um, you see: I did nothing wrong! Asked about her vote for the Iraq war, she wound her way down a long rabbit hole ... Sure, Barack Obama appears more supportive of Clinton. She’s got the newspaper endorsements and history on her side. But Clinton’s robotic performance proved that she may very well remain on the verge of turning into the Saturday Night Live caricature of herself.


    The Guardian:

    During the CNN Iowa forum Bernie Sander launched into his closing argument to emphasise that while Clinton may have the experience, he had a record of judgment. Sanders contrasted his opposition to the Iraq war with Clinton’s vote in favor of it in 2002. To Sanders, this was “the most significant vote and issue regarding foreign policy that we have seen in this country in modern history”. He also attacked what he saw as Clinton’s closeness to Wall Street and a laggardly decision to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade and the Keystone XL pipeline.


    The Guardian (Referring to oabam's remarks about Bernie):

    Obama misses the point. Bernie Sanders is more than a "bright, shiny object". In an interview with Politico, the US president dismissed Sanders as a new play thing to voters. But Bernie is far more than that ... Perhaps that’s what the president was referring to as new in American politics: “great authenticity”, “great passion”, “fearless”. It’s ridiculous if these powerful qualities – in short supply in Washington, by any account – are written off with a wave of a hand. It’s patronizing to suggest that voters are like children in a toy store, looking for a blinking, attention-grabbing, plaything ... If Obama wants to understand why droves of young, impassioned voters are flocking to Bernie Sanders, he need only look to the senator’s firm position on inequality. Or his refusal to court big money donors. Or his positions on single-payer healthcare and college tuition. All of these things resonate with many of the 99% ... Sanders is authentic.


    Here is a rushed transcript of the CNN Iowa forum. It may be updated. I did not check it for accuracy.


  3. The Nation (January 25, 2016)

    Why Is Hillary Clinton Using Republican Talking Points to Attack Bernie Sanders? In a troubling failure of imagination, her campaign paints Sanders as naive for wanting to pursue better relations with Iran ... All this, nonetheless, ought to be seen through the lens of that primary race some eight years ago—and it’s not a pretty picture for Hillary Clinton. In that contest, Obama expressed a willingness to meet with hostile world leaders without preconditions. Clinton attacked the notion as “very irresponsible and frankly naive.” Obama, at the time, fired back: “If there is anything irresponsible and naive it was to authorize George Bush to send 160,000 young American men and women into Iraq apparently without knowing how they were going to get out.” The Iraq war vote and the 2008 spat over Iran diplomacy—raising these memories isn’t a good look for Clinton. They should lead any foreign-policy progressive to wonder about Clinton’s lack of imagination and fortitude in pursuing ambitious foreign-policy goals.


  4. Earlier that day, just prior to the Iowa forum, President Obama said Hillary Clinton knows "every policy inside and out [and that] could make her more cautious, and her campaign more prose than poetry."

    During the forum later that night, Hillary Clinton said when referencing Bernie Sanders:

    "Now, look, You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose. And we need a lot more poetry in this campaign. But I believe that I’m the better person to be the Democratic nominee, and the commander in chief.”

    The "campaign-in-poetry, govern-in-prose" line was coined by the late New York governor Mario Cuomo, father of Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor who was moderating that forum (and appeared more favorable towards Hillary).

    Once before Hillary had unsuccessfully tried to use that line against then-Senator Obama in 2008. "You campaign with poetry, but you govern with prose,” she often said, downplaying Obama's abilities.

    Just like the last time, Clinton, locked in a neck-and-neck race in Iowa, is trying to grab the mantle of change late in the game.


  5. The Nation (January 25, 2016)

    Why is Hillary Clinton using Republican talking points to attack Bernie Sanders? In a troubling failure of imagination, her campaign paints Sanders as naive for wanting to pursue better relations with Iran ... All this, nonetheless, ought to be seen through the lens of that primary race some eight years ago—and it’s not a pretty picture for Hillary Clinton. In that contest, Obama expressed a willingness to meet with hostile world leaders without preconditions. Clinton attacked the notion as “very irresponsible and frankly naive.” Obama, at the time, fired back: “If there is anything irresponsible and naive it was to authorize George Bush to send 160,000 young American men and women into Iraq apparently without knowing how they were going to get out.” The Iraq war vote and the 2008 spat over Iran diplomacy—raising these memories isn’t a good look for Clinton. They should lead any foreign-policy progressive to wonder about Clinton’s lack of imagination and fortitude in pursuing ambitious foreign-policy goals.


  6. Bernie Sanders Says He’s a Democratic Socialist. Here’s What That Means (By Mark Thoma)\


    I disagree with Mark Thoma's post. It doesn't matter if Bernie is a socialist, a democratic socialist, a social democrat, a Marxist or a communist — unless he also had a majority of like-minded people in congress. If your are in doubt about Bernie, you'd only have to fear him as a dictator. Neither Bernie nor Hillary can do much with a GOP dominated congress. At least Bernie moves the Overton window back to the left (true center), whereas the "moderate" Hillary keeps the status quo. Here are two recent posts on this subject...

    The Future of the Democratic Party


    Hillary Clinton’s Lobbyist Fundraisers Want Baby Steps: America Needs a Political Revolution


  7. FEB. 14, 2016: Donald Trump disagreed with Hillary Clinton's vote to invade Iraq in the GOP debate last night:

    He didn’t just call George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq a disaster – which he has done before – but he blamed him for 9/11 and said that the former president lied about the presence of weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for war.

    “Obviously the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes, but that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.”

    When Trump was asked about comments he made years ago suggesting George W. Bush should be impeached over the Iraq War, it set off a sharp back-and-forth between him and Jeb. Amid boos from the blatantly pro-Bush audience, Trump briefly slid into a rant that made him sound like a left-wing anti-war protester circa 2004.

    “You do whatever you want,” Trump barked at the crowd as they booed. “You call it whatever you want. I will tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”

    Republicans generally believe, against evidence, that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction when America invaded in 2003. In 2012, a poll conducted by a Dartmouth political scientist found that 63 percent of Republicans still thought this. Last year, a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind found a majority of Republicans, 51 percent believed WMD had been found in Iraq.

    In Vietnam, Trump got multiple student deferments and got a medical exemption that staved off the draft. Bill Clinton, who protested AGAINST the war, dodged the draft. Mitt Romney, who protested FOR the war dodged the draft. George W. Bush dodged the draft by getting state-side duty in the National guard. Bernie Sanders was a conscientious objector to the war, but when his case was reviewed, he was too old to be drafted. George H.W. Bush was the last president that served in combat.