Monday, March 10, 2008

Enough with "Experience" already!

Okay, I know the primaries are over in Massachusetts, but I have to get this off my chest.

Hillary Clinton incessantly talks about how she's so super-experienced and Barack Obama "isn't ready" and blah blah blah. I find this more than a little confusing, since it sounds like her primary basis for this claim is that she was First Lady for 8 years during her husband's presidency. And so I guess was super involved in everything he did that was good, and nothing he did that was bad (ahem... NAFTA).

So, I've decided to take a look at the political experience of four political figures: Hillary Clinton (obviously), Barack Obama (also pretty obvious), Nancy Reagan, and Laura Bush. Maybe the last two aren't so obvious, but if Clinton is going to define being First Lady as "experience" then Nancy and Laura may very well have some experience!

Note: I chose both Laura and Nancy because I figured Laura's the most recent first lady, but her president is totally unpopular, while Bill Clinton was popular to the very end. So Nancy represents the crazy-ass wife of a popular (and also crazy-ass) president whose legacy of total incompetence has already been whitewashed! Also, only 2-term first ladies were eligible, because obviously they have twice the experience! Sorry, Barbara Bush!

I'm going to use an elaborate and highly-scientific rating scale I've just made up that scores each candidate on their applicable pre-political life, years in political office, accomplishments, and maybe some other things I'll just make up. It then assigns them an "experienceability" score between 1 and 10. To be fair, I'll go in alphabetical order by last name.

Also, unless otherwise noted, I'm just getting all this information from Wikipedia, which is obviously totally infallible...

Let's begin!

Laura Bush

Pre-politics: Was a teacher and then a librarian. Earlier in life, killed her boyfriend in a car accident after running a stop sign.

Political experience: 6 years as First Lady of Texas, 8 years as First Lady of the country (barring impeachment or assassination). Also:
During her years raising her children, Laura Bush served as a volunteer in a number of organizations, including Friends of the Midland Public Library, the executive board of the Junior League of Midland, the Friends of Dallas Public Library Board Executive Committee, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) at Preston Hollow Elementary School, and the Community Partners Board of Child Protective Services.
Which sorta counts. I'll assume most of those early volunteer gigs were part-time though, so will just give her 16 years. Not too shabby!

Accomplishments: Launched the "National Book Festival." "became the first person other than a president to deliver the weekly presidential radio address," "was praised by People magazine and others for her elegance and better use of fashion," "appeared on Egypt's version of Sesame Street," suggested a woman (perhaps Harriet Miers?) to her husband for a Supreme Court justice.

Ok, that last one didn't work out so well, but still shows she had power!

Experienceability! 3. I was going to give her a 7 originally because she has 16 years of First-Lady-ness! That's a lot! But it's being a First Lady, which means nothing. Even though apparently she influenced decisions. Still, she has experience killing people, which I'm sure would come in handy!

Hillary Clinton

Jeez, Wikipedia, your entry is too long! But I will resist the lure to use Conservapedia's shorter-and-totally-not-biased entry and slog through!

Pre-politics: Umm... She was a girl scout. Volunteered for Barry Goldwater. Went to Wellesley (hey an ex of mine went there and became a total whore!) and joined the Wellesley Young Republicans. Then worked "sliming salmon in a fish processing cannery in Valdez." (I don't know what "sliming salmon" means but it sounds dirty and possibly lesbionic...) Then she went to Yale Law School and became a lawyer, the end.

Political experience: 12 (not entirely consecutive) years as First Lady of Arkansas, 8 years as First Lady of the US, 7 years as US Senator for New York. That's 7 years of being an elected politician and 20 years of being married to someone who happened to be either governor or president. Not bad!

Accomplishments: As first lady she most notably had that health care reform thing which totally failed to go anywhere or do anything. Does that count? Also she managed some crisis with Sinbad and Sheryl Crow at her side.

In the Senate she's on a bunch of committees. Supported going into Iraq and Afghanistan. Has spent some time bad-mouthing videogames. Also is running for president, which gives her one up on Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan.

Experienceability! 6. Well, she's only been in elected office for 7 years. Sleeping with the president doesn't count, especially when he's getting blowjobs from the interns and all your well-meaning plans go nowhere as First Lady. Still, you're beating Laura Bush!

Barack Obama

Pre-politics: Grew up in Honolulu and Indonesia. Which makes idiots on the internet think he's a Muslim. Went to Occidental College for two years, then Columbia, where he majored in political science "with a specialization in international relations." Was a lecturer on constitutional law from 1993-2004.

Political experience: Illinois State Senate for 8 years, US Senate for 3. Absolutely zero time married to any political bigwigs, which is bound to hurt him.

Accomplishments: As a state politician: ethics reforms, welfare reform, subsidies for children, health care stuff, "led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped."

US Senator: Wikipedia is baffling, so here:
Obama successfully introduced two initiatives bearing his name. "Lugar-Obama" expands the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines. The "Coburn-Obama Transparency Act" provides for the web site, managed by the Office of Management and Budget. The site lists all organizations receiving Federal funds from 2007 onward and provides breakdowns by the agency allocating the funds, the dollar amount given, and the purpose of the grant or contract. In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the "Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act," marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor
So yeah, Nunn-Lugar...

He's on the Foreign Relations Committee too.

And did a bunch of other stuff, but I'm starting to get bored of this post, so just read it yourself if you want.

Experienceability! 7. This was tough to decide. He's got 11 years as an elected official, which beats Clinton's 7 and Bush's none. But some were on the state level, which is sort of wussy. Still, at least we know people vote for him. But he's never fucked a president (as far as we know). Nevertheless, I capriciously give him a 7.

Nancy Reagan

Okay, I admit it. Having Nancy Reagan as a part of this contest was just so I could use this totally awesome picture of her sitting on Mr. T's lap, awkwardly smooching his head.

For that alone, she gets an 11 in my "experienceabilty!" scale.

Nancy Reagan for President!

1 comment:

1970s Abraham Lincoln said...

Since I'm clearly in the tank for Obama, I may as well mention that you left out the part where he took a $10k/year job doing community organizing after Harvard Law School instead of say, joining the board of directors for Wal Mart. It's those community organizing skills that have enabled him to successfully run a 50-state grassroots campaign and turn out record numbers of democratic primary voters and caucus-goers in long-ignored red states, effectively burying the losing Clinton/Gore/Kerry/Clinton/DLC "We only need 15 states to win!" strategy. It's already paying dividends. The head of the Texas Democratic Party said that Obama's grassroots campaign did more for the TDP in 2 weeks than it's been able to do on its own in 10 years. Just this weekend, a democrat and Fermilab physicist picked up Dennis Hastert's old seat in large part because of these grassroots efforts.

Having said that, I think Laura Bush would be a great president. She could solve any foreign policy crisis at a blind intersection on a rural Texas road. Ahmadinejad? Invite him to Crawford. Put him in a '78 Impala. Medvedev making you blue? Ask him to test drive a '77 Volare. Kim Jong il? Pontiac Le Mans. Pretty soon, word would get around.