Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 13, 2007
POLITICS: Name Their Accomplishments

What would you say about the presidential qualification of 14 years in the Senate, a handful of years as a state legislator, and virtually no record of legislative accomplishment? In the Republican field, that would be the resume of a mediocre candidate - less seasoned than John McCain or Newt Gingrich, less accomplished as a public sector executive than Rudy Giuliani or Mike Huckabee, less accomplished as a private sector executive than Mitt Romney.

In the Democratic field, though, that's the resume of the top three candidates put together.

On the basis of what accomplishments do these Senators ask for this job?

Two of the Democratic candidates are very obviously unqualified for the job. John Edwards' entire resume in public life consists of six undistinguished and largely absentee years in the Senate, most of which was spent running for president. He is perhaps best known as the Democratic Senator on the Intelligence Committee who was most adamant that Saddam Hussein "has weapons of mass destruction and that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons," an assertion he now blames on everyone but himself. Certainly, Edwards played no significant role in pretty much anything that happened on Capitol Hill in his tenure there. His previous career as a plaintiffs' personal injury lawyer undoubtedly qualifies him as a debater, but it's a singularly narrow job - one can be a highly successful personal injury lawyer without ever learning how to manage more than a handful of people and without any understanding of the how to run a business, let alone a large public bureaucracy.

Senator Barack Obama lacks even Edwards' track record of building a successful career in private practice. Obama, at least, did manage to get his name attached to one item on the legislative agenda, the Coburn-Obama earmark bill, though anyone who paid the slightest attention to Capitol Hill knows that Tom Coburn did all the heavy lifting to get that issue on the radar screen. I have yet to hear any of Obama's boosters argue that the man has actually done anything to qualify him for the job; we're supposed to vote for him because he just is.

That leaves the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton. We are often told that Senator Clinton has been a good Senator, and by some measures she has - she's worked diligently to bring home money to her New York constituents. But there is nonetheless precious little to show on the national stage for her six plus years in the Senate, neither major legislative accomplishments nor even a record of leading the fight against legislation or appointments (something you might expect from a Senator who has spent a few years in the minority).

Senator Clinton does, of course, have a credential much like that of George W. Bush when he ran in 2000: familial proximity to the Oval Office. (Unlike then-Governor Bush, however, she has no independent record as a chief executive). But even there, you can point to Clinton Administration initiatives that the First Lady championed and Clinton Administration initiatives that became law, but there's not a ton of overlap between the two. For what can she truly claim credit that is worth claiming credit for?

Of course, each of these candidates will eventually lay out policy platforms, and those platforms can be debated. But when we do so, we should first ask them: what have you done for me (or anyone else, for that matter) - ever?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:01 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

How about one term as a Representative, some losses in the Senate races, and experience as a railroad attorney? Guess that leaves Lincoln out.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 13, 2007 10:26 PM

That's why I am supporting Bill Richardson - unless Big Al decides to take another swipe at it.

Posted by: Patrick at February 13, 2007 10:51 PM

Yeah, I'm in the Richardson camp too. You have highlighted John Kerry's problem. He ran on his record in Vietnam because that's all there was and he certainly did not want to talk about what he did immediately after he came home. Whether they were right or wrong, the Swift Boaters knocked out that prop by raising questions about what Kerry did in Vietnam.

One could argue that Hillary Clinton learned from her 8 years in the White House and that her chief counselor will be the most successful president of recent years. A semi-restoration of the Clinton White house wouldn't be so bad now would it? I could see Hillary in the Oval office making the decisions while Bill flies about giving eloquent speeches and shedding tears on cue. If she gets elected and acheives her dream on her own, I'm sure she'd dump Bill in a NY minute if he so much as looks too long at an intern. As a carpet-bagger who threw away her Cubs cap and donned a Yankees cap for political reasons (I would have liked it better if she became a Mets fan), she worked hard to win the trust of NY voters, upstate as well as in the city.

Posted by: Jim Linnane at February 14, 2007 6:02 AM

Oh, please let Gore get the nomination. His global warming crusade alone will sink his ship.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 14, 2007 11:19 AM

I always find it funny when you bring this topic up considering the current Pres. had just about no experience other than running companies into the ground, being a booze and coke hound and using his family connections to deke out of commitments. If Bush weren't Pres. right now but was instead a candidate for the GOP Inc. nomination you'd be all over him like white on rice.

Posted by: jim at February 14, 2007 11:32 AM

Maddirishman,

I've heard that Obama is going to buy an apostrophe so he can appeal to the Irish. On the ballot in some states he'l' be listed as O'bama. He is working on a different variation in Ala-bama.

Posted by: largebill at February 14, 2007 11:32 AM

Funny that a staunch Republican would attack the relatively meager records of the Democratic candidates. George W. Bush completed one undistinguished term as governor in a State with a weak governor system. Other than that, nothing. No world view, no overriding philosophy, nothing.

Read the first chapter of Woodward's latest book (State of Denial) for more on this. Basically, W. woke up one morning and decided he wanted to be president. His father set him up with policy experts to tell W. what to think. It was clear that W. had no articulable reason for running. And nothing in his background led anyone to believe otherwise, other than that he was a good fundraiser. His abysmal performance in the White House was therefore predictable. It's like taking a bleacher bum out of the stands and placing him on the mound in the ninth inning of game 7 of the World Series.

Posted by: steve at February 15, 2007 12:05 PM

If you think Bush has been a failure and you think it's in part due to a lack of experience . . . well, that's no argument for these three, is it?

Bush was governor of one of the nation's largest states and was a year into his second term when he kicked off his campaign. That hardly makes him one of the more qualified people ever to take the job, but his executive experience is still a significant step up from Hillary, Obama or Edwards.

Posted by: The Crank at February 15, 2007 12:12 PM

Again, Crank you manage to overstate Bush. The Governor of Texas is something like 6th on the power brokerage chart in that state. Just because it is big with a bunch of people in it means crap in terms of what he was doing there. Look at his life as a whole and other than having been born into money and connections the guy was a loser. In relative terms every Dem in the mix right now has more experience and better qualifications than Bush ever did and if you were honest about it (and why not be, what do you care? dude is the President) you would admit to the fact that a completely unqualified, multi-time loser was GOP Inc's top banana.

Posted by: jim at February 15, 2007 5:47 PM

Good Grief Crank!......Kinky Friedman has acquired more respect and clearly has more successful accomplishments than Bush Jr probably ever will.

Why do you continue to prop a false front building with indefensible positions?....your in the middle of the splatter zone.

Posted by: Frank at February 18, 2007 4:51 PM
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