As much as I hate to link to HuffPo twice in two days, this piece on Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy experience is amazing:
Her campaign produced a press release in 2007 testifying to her foreign policy savvy, a letter signed by numerous ambassadors — every single one of them appointed by her husband when he was the president — stating “As First Lady she worked for reconciliation in the aftermath of wars and she led humanitarian efforts for Bosnia and on behalf of Kosovar refugees.”
In the picture below we see Hillary Clinton working “for reconciliation in Bosnia” by singing with Sheryl Crow.
Now look, these were nice things she did as First Lady, but along with her other First Lady duties like reading to children, presiding over the Easter egg roll, and dressing up for state dinners — they don’t qualify one to be president.
It’s also worth mentioning that while Clinton continues to characterize the entirety of Barack Obama’s experience as “a speech he made in 2002,” it was a speech Hillary Clinton made in 1995 regarding human rights in China that seems to constitute about 50% of her own legitimate foreign policy experience. In speeches, Clinton frames her experience this way:
I have traveled the world on behalf of our country – first in the White House with my husband and now as a senator. I’ve met with countless world leaders and know many of them personally. I went to Beijing in 1995 and stood up to the Chinese government on human rights and women’s rights. I have fought for our men and women in uniform to make sure they have the equipment they need in battle and are treated with dignity when they return home.
Okay, meeting with world leaders isn’t experience. My dad and I took a picture together with Franco Harris a few years back, but that doesn’t mean you’ll see either one of us in a Super Bowl. Experience means a bit more than the number of pictures on your wall of you posing next to foreign leaders and wives (or foreign bankers and their wives). And the work Clinton is referring to on the Armed Services Committee is more of a domestic issue, as foreign governments don’t have much of a say in how we equip and treat our own troops.
Watching Clinton make some of these shaky experience claims reminds me of the way you feel when you’re applying for a job you know you’re not entirely qualified for. Should I really put Microsoft Access on my resume? I did use it once back in 1998 for that project, even though the tech guy had to walk me through most of it. Whatever. I’ll just say I know it, learn enough before the interview to fake it, and get my foot in the door.
It’s not hard to imagine Clinton going through a similar thought process. Should I really say I’ve met with countless world leaders? I’ve only really spoken with a few dozen of them, and most of those conversations were during ceremonial dinners and White House tea parties. Does the time I spent two hours talking with the prime minister of Pakistan about Chelsea’s extracurricular school activities count? Whatever. I’ll just say I’ve done it, fake my way through the campaign trail, take as few follow-up questions as possible, and get my foot in the door.
UPDATE: This Obama campaign releases the hounds on Hillary Clinton’s various experience claims in this must-read memo:
There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton played an important domestic policy role when she was First Lady. It is well known, for example, that she led the failed effort to pass universal health insurance. There is no reason to believe, however, that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration. She did not sit in on National Security Council meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the Situation Room. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy, nor did she have her own national security staff. She did not do any heavy-lifting with foreign governments, whether they were friendly or not. She never managed a foreign policy crisis, and there is no evidence to suggest that she participated in the decision-making that occurred in connection with any such crisis. As far as the record shows, Senator Clinton never answered the phone either to make a decision on any pressing national security issue – not at 3 AM or at any other time of day.