Sunday, December 30, 2007

In Wake of Bhutto Death, Candidates Stress Foreign Policy Experience

"But I have more experience than Snow White!"

As the Iowa caucus approaches, the primaries are getting downright petty-on both sides. Now that the world has been shaken by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan reels on the edge, all the candidates are trying to outdo each other by trying to convince the public that they have the most requisite foreign experience that now rightfully seems more important than ever. As expected, the worst examples of pettiness are coming out of the Clinton and Obama camps.

Clinton, of course, keeps talking about all her experience as First Lady while her husband was in the White House. She talks about all the countries she visited. In one recent statement, she said to ABC News, "I think my experience is unique. I have been 8 years in the White House, having yes, been part of making history." She also claimed that she had unsuccessfully lobbied her husband to intervene militarily in Rwanda, then later went to Uganda to apologize to the victims. She contrasted her "experience" to the lack of foreign policy experience on the part of Obama. In response, Obama played up his experience of spending some childhood years in Indonesia, which he contrasted with Hillary's traveling on overseas trips and "drinking tea". Not to be outdone, Hillary recounted her trip to Bosnia to attend a peace treaty signing, in which she had to "run from the airplane to avoid 'possible' sniper fire". (learning a few tricks from Bill, eh Hillary?)

Of course, Mrs Clinton could not resist the need to inform one audience of Iowa voters that she "knew Mrs Bhutto-for 12 years."

Meanwhile, David Axelrod, one of Obama's horseholders, all but implied that Hillary bore some responsibility for Bhutto's death since she had voted for the Iraq War. (Huh?!!?)

Bill Richardson, a former UN Ambassador, made an ill-advised comment that the US should force Musharraf from power. (How would you do that, sir?)

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee started whining about some 600+ Pakistani illegal aliens who had entered the US illegally, supposedly the largest national influx after the Mexicans.

Then there is Joe Biden, who is all over this issue trying to illustrate why he has the most experience (probably true). He is letting everyone know that he had sent requests to Musharraf to enhance Bhutto's security after the initial assassination attempt in October. This morning, he told a TV interviewer that just before she died, Bhutto had sent an e-mail to a Biden associate with a message for the Democratic senator. (By the time, Joe tells this one a few more times, it will sound like Bhutto's last words were...."Get Joe.") Of course, like all the Democrats, Biden blames Bush for not having done more to keep Bhutto alive. In reality, the only way to save Bhutto would have been to get her the hell out of Pakistan.

It is unfortunate, but hopefully, Bhutto's death will have a positive effect on our own elections in re-focusing the public's eye on the dangerous world that is out there.

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