Monday, March 10, 2008
Yoko vs. The Graduate
Like everything else in the Democratic primary, how you answer the question of experience probably says more about you than about either of the candidates. Take the Hillary Clinton-Yoko Ono "analogy as insult", for instance, which is revealing for what it leaves out. Namely, that Yoko Ono was an accomplished and internationally recognized artist before she met John Lennon (ie. a person in her own right), and that while she might not have been a Beatle, she certainly understood what being one was like as well as anyone besides than the Fab Four themselves.
As for the commander-in-chief brouhaha, take this McClatchy article about Barack Obama's foreign policy team. Basically it says that Obama's surrounded by a pretty pragmatic team whose input he seeks out due to his voracious interest in foreign affairs, an interest that the article implies (but never says explicitly) springs from his lack of experience. What it doesn't do is offer anything other than the team members' word for it that Obama has what it takes to run American foreign policy.
The quality that comes across most strongly to me is a certain kind of vision of the world, free of pre-conceptions, a sort of lived experience that can only result from a lack of policy experience. Unlike Clinton, who already seems to have the world grouped into good guys and bad guys according to a pro forma prism, or McCain, who already has his bombing targets circled in red on his bedside atlas, Obama doesn't seem to have things sorted out yet. Whether or not that bothers you probably depends on how you see the world yourself.