Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle told Meet the Press host Tim Russert that being First Lady doesn’t exactly constitute an apprenticeship for the Presidency. Daschle wanted to boost Barack Obama over a suddenly resurgent Hillary Clinton, and he attacked her experience argument. Daschle pointed out that Obama has more time in elective office than Hillary, but he somehow managed to avoid noting that John McCain has more than the both of them put together:
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) on Sunday questioned Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (N.Y.) pitching of herself as the most experienced candidate in the Democratic presidential race, suggesting her years as first lady do not add much to her foreign policy credentials. …
“I worked with her; I know what a good first lady she was,” Daschle said. “But it would be hard for me to draw some degree of connection between being a first lady and having the experience to be the commander in chief.
“I don’t think anyone can look at her experience as first lady and say, for some reason, that qualifies her to run for president of the United States.”
Obama has eleven years combined between his years in the Illinois legislature and the US Senate. Hillary has seven years in the latter, but never held elective office before 2001. John McCain has twenty-four years in Congress, and twenty-one of those years spent on the Armed Services Committee. Neither Obama nor Hillary have any executive experience at all, but McCain has years of military leadership, including as squadron commander in the Navy.
How silly has this infighting over experience between the two Democrats become? Even Daschle has better experience than either Obama or Hillary. He spent a few years as Senate Majority Leader before finally losing his last Senate race shortly after losing the majority. Ed Rendell followed Daschle and tried to argue that both Hillary and Obama are ready to be President but that Hillary is just a little more ready. If so, doesn’t that make McCain a whole lot more ready?
The most ironic part of this debate is that the most experienced Democrats have to go on national TV to argue which of the two least-experienced Democrats have the most experience between them. Maybe next time they should just support candidates with real experience. Fortunately, this year people can vote for John McCain, and no one will have to worry about whether he can answer the 3 AM call.