November 24, 2007
G'day, mate: It probably hurts to lead your party when it's voted out of office, but to be the Prime Minister, and lose your seat to boot...John Howard, btw, is the same guy who opined last winter that a Barack Obama victory next year would be a victory for Al Qaeda, only to have the junior Senator from Illinois completely ream him the next day.
Michael Kinsley returns to form here, with a post about what sort of "experience" is relevant toward the Presidency. On Hillary Clinton:
But in fact, being the president's spouse has got to be very helpful for a future president. It's like an eight-year "Take Your Daughter to Work" Day. Laura Bush, as far as we know, has made no important policy decisions during her husband's presidency, but she has witnessed many, and must have a better understanding of how the presidency works than all but half a dozen people in the world. One of those half dozen is Hillary Clinton, who saw it all—well, she apparently missed one key moment—and shared in all the big decisions. Every first lady is promoted as her husband's key adviser, closest confidant, blah blah blah, but in the case of the Clintons, it seems to be true. Pillow talk is good experience.On the junior Senator from Illinois:
Obama also has valuable experience apart from elected office, and he also has to be careful about how he uses it. That is his experience as a black man in America, and also his experience as what you might call a "world man"—Kenyan father, American mother, four formative years living in Indonesia, more years in the ethnic stew of Hawaii, middle name of Hussein, and so on—in an increasingly globalized world. Our current president had barely been outside the country when elected. His efforts to make up for this through repeated proclamations of palship with every foreign leader who parades through Washington have been an embarrassment. Obama's interesting upbringing would serve us well if he were president, both in terms of the understanding he would bring to issues of America's role in the world (the term "foreign policy" sounds increasingly anachronistic), and in terms of how the world views America. Hillary Clinton mocks Obama's claims that four years growing up in Indonesia constitute useful world-affairs experience. But they do.On what it all means:
Warren Buffett likes to say, when people tell him they've learned from experience, that the trick is to learn from other people's experience. George W. Bush will leave behind a rich compost heap of experience for his successor to sort through and learn from.