posted by December 26 at 14:40 PMon
You might think I’d be psyched about today’s NYT hit piece on Hillary’s White House “experience”—I’ve said before that I hate the fact that she’s running on her husband’s record. (The article is still here, if you passed up Josh and Eli’s links.) But I’m not happy about this piece.
Patrick Healy starts out nicely, reminding us that the amount and type of influence HRC exerted in the White House is relevant because: “In seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience. But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name. She has cast herself, instead, as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her ‘eight years with a front-row seat on history.’”
But soon, he seems to lose sight of the fact that he’s dinging her for claiming that experience, not because she failed to exert quasi-presidential powers while Mr. Clinton was in power. E.g.:
Mrs. Clinton said she was “only tangentially involved” in Mr. Clinton’s first major overseas test, whether to send American soldiers after the Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid and his forces, a raid that ended in 18 American deaths. Asked if she had pressed for an invasion, she said she had acted “more as a sounding board” for Mr. Clinton.
Um, thank god, right? She wasn’t elected. The last thing I want to hear is that she was usurping presidential powers. “Not overstepping her bounds” screams one section heading, as though it were her timid femininity that kept her behind certain lines. Please. How about respect for the office of president?
HRC should stop claiming her eight years in the White House as professional experience because it wasn’t professional experience. Not because she somehow should have insinuated herself into decisions reserved for the elected representative of the American people. I think Maureen Dowd hit on the legitimate complaint about Hillary’s supposed experience:
It’s hard to feel sorry for Hillary [on account of Bill’s various campaign gaffes] because the very logic of her campaign leads right to Bill. When she speaks of her “experience,” she is referring not to the Senate but to the White House, thereby making her campaign a plebiscite on the ’90s.
Running this way, she is essentially asking people to like her if they liked him. Whether she knows it or not, this is a coattails strategy. It’s almost as if she’s offering herself to Clinton supporters as the solution to the problem of the 22nd Amendment.
Hit pieces like Healy’s, on the other hand, just add fuel to the argument that HRC isn’t being treated fairly by the media.