More On Hillary's Experience

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THE PLANK NOVEMBER 27, 2007

More On Hillary's Experience

I agree with a lot of what Jason writes below. The experience issue should be tricky for Hillary Clinton—and it's best we see now whether she can deal with it. But I disagree with him—and, more importantly, with Barack Obama—that she's constantly trying to take credit for her husband's successes and avoid blame for his failures. The reason? Health care. Even before she ran for president, she was talking constantly about the mistakes she made and the flaws of that plan.  

This is despite the fact that Paul Starr, who was there, has suggested her critics overstate her influence. And this is despite the fact that the original Clinton health care plan wasn't so awful after all.

In other words, on health care—the issue to which she is most closely linked—she's actually doing the opposite of what Obama says. She's taking blame for a failure that wasn't necessarily hers and, for that matter, wasn't necessarily a failure.

My final thought on this (at least until I decide I have yet another final thought): Hillary clearly does have more experience than her rivals when it comes to receiving—and fending off—attacks.  It's been one, long slog through the mud ever since her husband ran for president.  It's pretty obvious she has learned from that experience—and gotten pretty good at defending herself. It's not coincindental she's run the most tightly organized, carefully orchestrated campaign of the bunch. Insofar as a successful presidency involves doing the same thing, I think that's an argument in her favor. 

Does that argument make her the best candidate overall? I haven't decided—although, truth be told, it may not matter. I live in Michigan, so I'm not even sure my primary vote will count.

--Jonathan Cohn 

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posted in: the plank, health, labor, social issues, hillary clinton

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