Hillary Clinton has repeatedly used “Experience” to attack Barack Obama, to portrait him as a candidate who is inspiring though not competent enough to handled the presidency. The most recent and arguably the more damaging incarnation of this argument is the “3 am ad” shown on TV before the March 4th democratic primaries.
This ad portrait HRC as capable of making quick decisions to deal with foreign/security crisis without on-job training as president, because of her experience as a politically active formal First Lady and eight years on the senate arms committee. Moreover she argues in her stomp speeches that BHO who is 14 year younger and have only had one term in the senate is inexperienced and require on job training, thus unable to deal with sudden foreign/security crisis. Is this an compiling argument? No.
First of all, if experience is such an important quality, Americans should elect John McCain, or the oldest living American. Experience is important only if its relevant. Dick Cheney formal secretary of defense who oversaw the 1991 Gulf War, Donald Rumsfeld the youngest and oldest secretary of defense under Gerald Ford and Geoge Bush Jr and Condoleezza Rice a Soviet expert from Standford university these are people suppose to have the deepest experience and knowledge of security and foreign affairs, but somehow they got America into the Iraq mess. By the way most international relation expert were against invading Iraq in the first place.
What happen? Why didn’t their experience prevent them from making such a blunder? Maybe because these experts cannot get out of their Cold War era state centric mind frame, only know hows to bomb states to solve their problem, and fail to recognize that Al-Qaeda is not a state but a part trans-national criminal organization and part extremist ideology.
The world is in a transformative phase, power is slowly moving from world’s-only-superpower-America to multiple rising world powers: EU, China, India, Russia, etc. Cold War experience may not be so useful in a world that is so different from the past.
In a world unknown, a studious character, a fast learner, a clear thinking mind beats irrelevant experience any day.
Lastly, Obama have an undergraduate degree from Columbia in political science with international relation specialization, thats academic knowledge in international affair that Clinton do not have. The knowledge and skill that comes with such a degree is useful, I know because I have a master in international relations.