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Thread: Barack Obama is no JFK but even if he was his lack of experience can't be dismissed

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Barack Obama is no JFK but even if he was his lack of experience can't be dismissed

    In a recent address at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton blasted arch-rival Barack Obama for his inexperience. This should not be dismissed as another frantic, grasp at straws by Clinton to slow the momentum of his campaign or a badly overrated quality that few first time presidents need bring to the Oval Office anyway. The tout of Obama as the second coming of John F. Kennedy is supposed proof that a Senator with ideals and vision, ala JFK, can work wonders for the country even if short on experience.

    The Obama-JFK comparison is a bad stretch and the dismissal of experience as a president-to-be attribute is an even worse stretch. JFK majored in foreign policy at Harvard and was a decorated naval war hero. His father, Papa Joe, was a multi-millionaire diplomat, confidant of presidents, and consummate political deal maker. This enabled JFK to meet a slew of European leaders. He wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, served 14 years in the Senate and Congress, and came close to getting the vice presidential nomination in 1956.
    Despite JFK's years of public policy experience and political acumen, that Obama can't match, he was still woefully ill-equipped to deal with the two biggest crises that confronted his administration; the Cuban Missile crisis and the civil rights crisis. The mythmakers have spun a picture of a cool, calm, and collected JFK facing down Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1962. He allegedly forced him to get Russian missiles out of Cuba and that saved the world from nuclear destruction.

    The truth is far different. In his memoirs Khrushchev gloated that the Soviet Union never had any intention of going to war over Cuba, and that the missiles were a bargaining chip to get the U.S. to remove American missiles from Turkey aimed at the Soviet Union. The other aim was to get the U.S. to guarantee the security of Castro's regime.
    Even if Khrushchev's boast is sloughed off as a face-saving historical falsity to burnish up his badly tarnished image; the fact is that American missiles were removed from Turkey. And in the nearly half century after the missile show-down, there has been no US military effort to oust Castro. He stepped down voluntarily and will likely die of old age.

    The U.S.-Soviet stand down was brokered through back channel talks initiated by Robert Kennedy with the Soviet ambassador to the U.S. After they hammered out the bare details of the agreement it took urging by RFK and other Kennedy senior advisors to get Kennedy to finally approve the deal. JFK's inexperience in a crisis moment cost valuable time, delays, and raised tensions. It had another tragic by-product. It earned JFK the undying enmity of the thousands of Cuban-Americans.

    Then there's the issue of civil rights. The Obama camp twisted and mangled an innocent comment Clinton made in which she praised President Lyndon Baines Johnson for driving the 1964 civil rights bill through Congress. Supposedly Clinton defamed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by minimizing his role in getting a civil rights law. Clinton, of course, got it right. It took every bit of Johnson's relentless political arm twisting, cajoling, and deal-making skills to get wavering Republicans and hostile Southern Senators who controlled key committees to back the bill or soften their vehement opposition to it.

    The bill though was not Johnson's. It was introduced by Kennedy. Despite his efforts, Kennedy could not budge Congress to take action. JFK simply did not have the political muscle to budge the bill's opponents. Johnson did have the experience and the muscle to ultimately force passage.

    The rap against Obama that he lacks the requisite experience to get the job done effectively in the White House is not a cheap and meaningless campaign shot at him. The American presidency should not be an OJT position. Voters shouldn't be asked to make a leap of faith that an untested candidate can smoothly and effortlessly handle crisis situations that inevitably arise. Inexperienced presidents are poor crisis managers. They get us into costly and unpopular wars and brush fire conflicts. They alienate foreign friends and allies. They bungle the economy. And their administrations more times than not are riddled with corruption and cronyism. The disastrous proof is the administration of the man that Obama seeks to replace.

    Even without fingering Bush's foreign and domestic policy bumbles and ineptitude, the presidents that have been most successful in recent decades have been FDR, Bill Clinton and Dwight Eisenhower. They had two things in common. They had extensive executive and administrative experience either as governors, or in the case of Eisenhower, in the armed forces before they became president.

    The lack of administrative and crisis management experience shouldn't disqualify a prospective presidential candidate, or mean that he or she will crumble under fire. At the same time, their inexperience raises a giant question mark about the candidate. That can't be cavalierly dismissed.

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House (Middle Passage Press, February 2008). Ethnicpresidency.com

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson: Obama is No JFK but Even If He Was His Inexperience Can't be Cavalierly Dismissed - Politics on The Huffington Post
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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Agreed. His lack of experience is a concern.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    I love how Hillary keeps trying to talk about Obama's 'lack of experience,' but for all of her 35 years of 'experience' she keeps showing poor judgement. First, she voted for a bullshit war, that Obama was against, and then she used such poor judgement in the handling of the finances of her own campaign that she had to loan them $5 million dollars. But, then again, experience doesn't count for much if you can't use good judgement to balance it out.

    True, I wish Obama had a little more experience in Washington. Of course the man has 10 years as an elected official under his belt, which is more than Hillary has. And no matter how much she wants to try and act like her years as First Lady qualify as 'experience' they don't.

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I love how Hillary keeps trying to talk about Obama's 'lack of experience,' but for all of her 35 years of 'experience' she keeps showing poor judgement. First, she voted for a bullshit war, that Obama was against, and then she used such poor judgement in the handling of the finances of her own campaign that she had to loan them $5 million dollars. But, then again, experience doesn't count for much if you can't use good judgement to balance it out.

    True, I wish Obama had a little more experience in Washington. Of course the man has 10 years as an elected official, which is more than Hillary has. And no matter how much she wants to try and act like her years as First Lady qualify as 'experience' they don't.
    well said!
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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I love how Hillary keeps trying to talk about Obama's 'lack of experience,' but for all of her 35 years of 'experience' she keeps showing poor judgement. First, she voted for a bullshit war, that Obama was against, and then she used such poor judgement in the handling of the finances of her own campaign that she had to loan them $5 million dollars. But, then again, experience doesn't count for much if you can't use good judgement to balance it out.

    True, I wish Obama had a little more experience in Washington. Of course the man has 10 years as an elected official under his belt, which is more than Hillary has. And no matter how much she wants to try and act like her years as First Lady qualify as 'experience' they don't.
    ITA with you as well. Hillary has little time in the Senate, and I don't think her time as First Lady gives her anything to tout. OTOH, you've got a career politician with McCain, so you know that whoever is going to be the Dem nominee, is going to have their experienced challenged by the McCain camp.

    I think that will backfire on McCain. He's already used the 'I've served my country' retort several times when his experience and/or record has been challenged. So much so, it became a broken record in the GOP debates.

    Damn, the more I think about it, where are the middle ground candidates? You know, the ones who haven't been in DC or government forever, but do have moderate experience?

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkdgirl View Post
    ITA with you as well. Hillary has little time in the Senate, and I don't think her time as First Lady gives her anything to tout. OTOH, you've got a career politician with McCain, so you know that whoever is going to be the Dem nominee, is going to have their experienced challenged by the McCain camp.

    I think that will backfire on McCain. He's already used the 'I've served my country' retort several times when his experience and/or record has been challenged. So much so, it became a broken record in the GOP debates.

    Damn, the more I think about it, where are the middle ground candidates? You know, the ones who haven't been in DC or government forever, but do have moderate experience?
    Agree with everything you wrote. Plus, McCain can't even garner enough support in his own party, so that's going to be a problem for him. I mean, the fact that Huckabee is still a thorn in his side says a lot.

    And I don't think we've ever had a candidate who hasn't been in D.C. or the government forever and has moderate experience run for president. I mean, just look over the past 20 years. George Bush Sr. had been in the government and D.C. for years, and his only real experience was being the former head of the C.I.A.; Bill Clinton had no real experience, other than being governor of Arkansas, and had no real experience in D.C., and Dubya had no experience, other than being governor of Texas, and plus he had government/D.C. family connections.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Agree with everything you wrote. Plus, McCain can't even garner enough support in his own party, so that's going to be a problem for him. I mean, the fact that Huckabee is still a thorn in his side says a lot.

    And I don't think we've ever had a candidate who hasn't been in D.C. or the government forever and has moderate experience run for president. I mean, just look over the past 20 years. George Bush Sr. had been in the government and D.C. for years, and his only real experience was being the former head of the C.I.A.; Bill Clinton had no real experience, other than being governor of Arkansas, and had no real experience in D.C., and Dubya had no experience, other than being governor of Texas, and plus he had government/D.C. family connections.
    Interestingly, more Governors have been elected President than Senators...

    Just one of those weird facts.....No one seems to know why
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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    ^^ Yep. But looks like this year that spell will be broken. I wonder if the term 'career' politician is more associated with senators (in general) because of their years in DC politics?

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    Interestingly, more Governors have been elected President than Senators...

    Just one of those weird facts.....No one seems to know why
    Yeah, that is strange. I guess it's because people figure if you can run a state, then you can run a country, too.

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    Why does Hillary keep on talking about "lack of experience"? She has no more experience than Obama. Sorry but being first lady doesn't count for anything.

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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Obama may give great speeches that "may not have substance", he may have only been a senator for two years, but think of it this way... Obama's lack of experience can't be any worse than Bush's lack of. At least we can be sure Obama has more than one-third of a brain in his head.

    We really can't judge the guy on experience until he gets in office, anyway. We thought Bush would be good (or at least Republicans did) because of who his dad was, and because Bush had been a governor in Texas, so we thought he'd [Bush] have plenty of experience and know what to do in a time of crisis. Damn, were we wrong. 9/11 proved it, the tanking economy proves it, the war in Iraq proves it... Everything.

    I can't judge Obama's actions any further until he gets into office and we see what happens. He may be the real deal we've been hoping for, or it may be a complete disaster. We just won't know until January 2009. We can just keep speculating until then, but in all honesty, to judge him for 'lack of experience' isn't entirely fair. At least not yet.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleWasHere View Post
    Obama may give great speeches that "may not have substance", he may have only been a senator for two years, but think of it this way... Obama's lack of experience can't be any worse than Bush's lack of. At least we can be sure Obama has more than one-third of a brain in his head.

    We really can't judge the guy on experience until he gets in office, anyway. We thought Bush would be good (or at least Republicans did) because of who his dad was, and because Bush had been a governor in Texas, so we thought he'd [Bush] have plenty of experience and know what to do in a time of crisis. Damn, were we wrong. 9/11 proved it, the tanking economy proves it, the war in Iraq proves it... Everything.

    I can't judge Obama's actions any further until he gets into office and we see what happens. He may be the real deal we've been hoping for, or it may be a complete disaster. We just won't know until January 2009. We can just keep speculating until then, but in all honesty, to judge him for 'lack of experience' isn't entirely fair. At least not yet.
    Agree with everything you wrote, Nicole. And, you're right, the 'lack of experience' is just speculation until Obama gets into office. Just like Hillary's 'experience' is just speculation until she gets into office. Too bad Hillary doesn't think about that when she's blasting Obama and reading people her resume every chance she gets.

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Agree with everything you wrote, Nicole. And, you're right, the 'lack of experience' is just speculation until Obama gets into office. Just like Hillary's 'experience' is just speculation until she gets into office. Too bad Hillary doesn't think about that when she's blasting Obama and reading people her resume every chance she gets.
    If Hillary can claim experience for simply being the wife of a Governor, and a First Lady, then so can Monica..
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSDiva View Post
    If Hillary can claim experience for simply being the wife of a Governor, and a First Lady, then so can Monica..
    Well, Monica was closer to Bill in a way that Hillary never could be. Cigar, anyone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Well, Monica was closer to Bill in a way that Hillary never could be. Cigar, anyone?
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