[Guest post by DRJ]
I haven’t paid much attention to the Democratic primaries but it’s hard not to notice the duel Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have had over who has the most foreign policy experience. Obama has relied on his experiences as a child living in and visiting other countries, and specifically on his knowledge of “how ordinary people in these other countries live” and the understanding he’s gained from having a grandmother who “lives in a tiny hut in Africa”.
Hillary Clinton has also touted her personal experiences from 8 years as First Lady during her husband’s Administration:
“As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton jaw-boned the authoritarian president of Uzbekistan to leave his car and shake hands with people. She argued with the Czech prime minister about democracy. She cajoled Roman Catholic and Protestant women to talk to one another in Northern Ireland. She traveled to 79 countries in total, little of it leisure; one meeting with mutilated Rwandan refugees so unsettled her that she threw up afterward.
But during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.
And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.
In seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton lays claim to two traits nearly every day: strength and experience. But as the junior senator from New York, she has few significant legislative accomplishments to her name. She has cast herself, instead, as a first lady like no other: a full partner to her husband in his administration, and, she says, all the stronger and more experienced for her “eight years with a front-row seat on history.”
Now, in an Iowa speech Saturday night, Hillary Clinton turned up the rhetoric when she revealed a story of personal danger:
“Ever since Barack Obama suggested Hillary Clinton’s eight years as first lady were a glorified tea party a few days back, she’s looked for an opening to strike back. On Saturday night in Dubuque she pounced, arguing she risked her life on White House missions in the 1990s, including a hair-raising flight into Bosnia that ended in a “corkscrew” landing and a sprint off the tarmac to dodge snipers. “I don’t remember anyone offering me tea,” she quipped.
The dictum around the Oval Office in the ’90s, she added, was: “If a place was too dangerous, too poor or too small, send the first lady.”
It turns out that Clinton wasn’t quite flying solo into harm’s way that day. She was, in fact, leading a goodwill entourage that included baggy-pants funnyman Sinbad, singer Sheryl Crow and Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, then 15, according to an account of the March 1995 trip in her autobiography “Living History.”
As the plane approached the runway, the pilot ordered the Clintons into the armored front of the plane, Clinton writes. What’s not clear is whether Sinbad or Crow were invited to the cockpit or had to brave it out in the unprotected rear.”
Based on this article, Hillary’s quote should have been “If a place was too dangerous, too poor or too small, send the first lady, Sinbad, and Sheryl Crow.” But it makes sense her story included Hollywood celebrities since I can’t tell if Hillary is auditioning to be the next President or for the sequel to Air Force One.