Monday, March 10, 2008

Hillary's experience problem

If you've ever wondered why it is that Senators rarely get elected President in modern times (this year will see a sitting Senator elected President for the first time since 1960), it may have something to do with a Senator's lack of executive experience:

“She [Hillary Clinton] 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.”

Over the last month, Mrs. Clinton, of New York, has become much more involved in the day-to-day operation of her campaign. In addition to Ms. Williams, she brought in two experienced political hands from her husband’s White House — Doug Sosnik, who was a political director, and Steve Ricchetti, a deputy chief of staff.

It is a fair question to ask: If Mrs. Clinton can't control her own campaign, how can she be rightly expected to maintain control over her administration, and manage the country from an executive position? She talks about answering the phone at 3 A.M and being able to manage the country in a crisis, but she hasn't been able to manage her own campaign with any effectiveness-so it is reasonable to assume that she will have trouble dealing with a real crisis as well. The crises she currently attempt to manage have to do with whether she wins or loses the election, but some future crisis of the next President may well involve whether or not Americans or others lose lives, and those are much higher stakes than just an election.

Despite what some say, this has nothing to do with Mrs. Clinton's gender-there is little doubt that she is, if nothing else, a strong and capable woman. Just because she is that, however, doesn't make her suited to be President of the United States. Even if Hillary Clinton manages to win the nomination, at this point she will not have done so because she successfully led her campaign to victory, but rather because
Barack Obama was the one who dropped the ball or because the superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention throw her the nomination. She has done everything in her power to let the Democratic nomination slip away from her, and has done very little to correct the problem that at least half of the country really does not think highly of her at all.

Clinton has further tarnished her campaign's image by bringing in her husband's old political advisors to help save the day. Bill Clinton had some of the finest political minds in the business working on both of his election campaigns, so it is hard to blame Hillary for hiring some of these folks. It does seem to lend credence to the argument often used by her opponents that she is depending more on her husband's legacy to get her to the White House than her own very capable abilities.

Hillary Clinton suffers from many of the same managerial problems that other Senatorial candidates for the presidency have had in the past, but this year there is just one difference: Our next President will be a sitting Senator, and America can't afford amateur hour at this time in our history.

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At Monday, March 10, 2008 1:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fortunately for Clinton, Bush has set the bar so low on crisis management and staff management that even she can look good by comparison. With Republicans having excused so many serious White House failings for so long, they have little credibility in criticizing her. You are right, though, that after eight long years of amatuer hour, we can not afford much more.

At Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know everyone here wants to hate on the president for all of his faults but on his worst day he is better than any candidate we have now on their best day. I do not agree with the president on everything but I thank God everyday we have him instead of the alternatives.


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