Dissent of the Day

A reader writes:

I believe you overdid it with the pop-psychoanalyses between HRC and Obama.  What you believe can be classified as fear in HRC, I’d argue it’s a strong dose of prudent experience on her part.  Presidential politics is all about calculations and compromise, between the presidency and 535 legislative representatives each with unique agenda, multitudes of special interests and 170+ sovereign nations.  I don’t see fear when an individual wants to take on all that responsibility and try to be successful at it.

HRC is no dummy; this isn't her first time in the national presidential rodeo.  She clearly knows what it takes to have a successful presidency, and what it takes to achieve one’s strategic policy goals. She clearly knows all the political calculations necessary to sometimes achieve those goals. Likewise, she also knows, all too well, how potential blunders and questionable policy choices can undermine a presidency as well.  In short, she has seen it from the West Wing looking at the Hill and from the Hill looking at the White House.

Obama, on the other hand, with his short career, has only seen it from the Hill looking at the White House.

He’s been a legislator all his political career. You’re correct; he is different because he hasn’t been “mugged”.  It may make him seem more refreshing but that doesn’t make him better presidential timber; all it does is make him admittedly inexperienced.  JFK was different, confident, and engaging.  Such confident engagement brought the hubris of the Bay of Pigs.  JFK wasn’t anywhere the same after the Bay of Pigs.   Similarly, we had a brash, confident, engaging guy go into the presidency in 2000; in hindsight, we all would have hoped he had the capacity to have a bit more of the fear you characterize.

HRC has more backbone than you give her credit for; she’s shrewd and calculating.  After years of swaggering testosterone-laden alpha-male wannabees, I would find her refreshing.