Experience vs change

There is a row in the USA at the moment between the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama camps. Sadly, someone somewhere along the line has played the race card. Hillary Clinton’s comments about the Civil Rights Act have been called into question.

I doubt Hillary Clinton intended to belittle Martin Luther King’s role. But Hillary Clinton’s comments nevertheless piss me off.

Cassilis says Clinton was making a fair point. But to say “it took a President” to pass the Civil Rights Act is banal. It isn’t exactly headline news that you need a President to pass legislation in the USA. I hardly believe Barack Obama — or any of the other Democratic candidates — dispute it. So what was the point of her saying it?

Well, I am assuming this is yet another angle in her crusade to persuade everyone how experienced she is. She keeps on banging on and on about her experience as if she is in the running to become leader of the Chinese Communist Party rather than President of the United States.

But what experience does she have? Well, she has been a Senator since 2001 — for years longer than Obama. But Obama has also been a member of the Illinois State Senate for seven years prior to that. So it looks to me as though Barack Obama has roughly equal (if we decide to give a higher weight to the US Senate) or slightly more experience at actually being a politician, as opposed to just being married to one.

But I presume it is her famous husband whom Hillary Clinton is evoking whenever she refers to “her” “experience”. This is what really annoys me about Clinton. She comes across as though she thinks she has a right to be President because of her surname. But is it really wise to elect someone on the basis of whom they are married to?

If voters buy into the Clinton mantra of experience, it may mean that really people want Bill Clinton to become President through the back door. In this case it makes a mockery of the constitution, and the maximum of two terms that Presidents can have. No doubt Putin will be trying this trick soon.

Let us assume that Hillary Clinton goes all the way, becomes President and serves two terms. By the end of that, it will have been almost three entire decades since the US had known a President who wasn’t either a Bush or a Clinton.

It does amuse me. Some Americans like to go on about how they are proud that they don’t have a Royal Family because they believe that power should not run through the family. But then they go ahead and elect people from the same families anyway. The difference is that Britain’s Royal family doesn’t actually have any real power.

And I have got through this entire post without even mentioning the Kennedy family yet.

For this reason, I find Barack Obama’s main message of ‘change’ much more appealing than Clinton’s message of ‘experience’. On the basis of the slogans and the simplified, dumbed-down political debates, Barack Obama ought to win this campaign hands down.


  1. Spot on. Look for more dirty stuff if the race continues to be close. Clinton has access to some of the smartes campaign people out there. I just have a gut feeling that she will not win either the Democratic nomination and if she does win that, the Presidency.

    When Bill was first elected, he gave Hillary the job of finding a solution to health care. She totally screwed that up. Not optimistic that she would be that good for America or the world.

  2. I think that Hilary was trying to make a fair point, but did so in a clumsy manner. Dr King led the Civil Rights movement, and so was the catalyst for change. Without him and the work of all those in the movement, there would have been no change.

    But if President Johnson had not taken the decision to sign the legislation, which he knew was entirely against the political interests of the Democratic Party, Dr King’s dreams would not have been met at that time. Jesse Jackson put forward this case in defence of Hillary on Channel 4 News earlier this week , despite the fact that he’s already declared his public support for Obama.

    Imagine Gordon Brown bringing forward legislation which, while being fundamentally right and just, would mean that Labour could not win the next election with him in charge? That’s what Johnson did.

    Neither Dr King nor President Johnson delivered real civil rights to black americans. It took them both to achieve this great goal.

  3. I got the feeling that Hillary was likening herself to LBJ, whilst comparing Obama to MLK – and in doing so trying to set herself up as the enabler, as it were. Embarrassing really, given that Obama has more than proved himself already.

    And Bill needs to put a sock in it.