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Friday, February 29, 2008

Hillary's political ads support John McCain's candidacy more than her own!

The link is to one of the latest of Hillary Clinton's political ads trying to argue that she has more experience than Barack Obama and therefore that voters should support her in her candidacy for president.

The argument is that she has much more experience than Barack. He is 46 at this point, and he will have been in the national Senate for 4 years when he is elected. In contrast, she will have been in the Senate for 8 years if she were to be elected.

The problem with this argument about experience is that McCain has been in national office since 1982 and in the US Senate since 1986. Thus he will have 26 years of national experience by the time of the inauguration. He trumps Hillary on the experience issue by a factor of more than 3 times.

It can be argued that Hillary should be allowed to count her years as first lady in her experience. I'm ok with that, she was busy, including trying her hand at policy issues while there. But this is not true in general of first ladies. Would anyone wish to argue that Laura Bush has 8 years of valuable experience such that we should elect her to national office? Barbara Bush? Maybe, maybe not. Nancy Reagan? Rosalynn Carter? Betty Ford? Some of these are very sharp people, and I suspect a number of them would be easy to underestimate if they had ever gotten into an election.

The two years Hillary spent running for Senate, after being first lady, that certainly counts as political experience. But for someone arguing from the anti-Hillary side of this argument, they could argue that that was two years of fallowness for Hillary.

McCain in contrast, before he was in the House of Representatives, he was in the military. McCain is likely to get a free pass from the national media and from voters on whether his military experience counts as valuable experience for the presidency. Thus he will get credit for over 50 years of experience before becoming president.

Hillary will only hurt herself for the national election by having run on the experience card in the primary. She will have dug herself a hole to start from when competing against John McCain, rather than from a level playing field.

Neither Democrat can compete successfully against McCain straight up using experience as an argument.

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