Why I support Hillary Clinton

Obama's connection to Israel is infinitely more tenuous and unclear.

us special 2 224 (photo credit: )
us special 2 224
(photo credit: )
In any other serious job search, the decision would be obvious: The first applicant has 15 years of experience at the highest levels of the institution with a string of accomplishments, direct experience regarding the position being filled, a strong understanding of how to get policies through a complex bureaucracy, and a clear stand on the vital issues involved. The second applicant has only 2 years of high-level experience marked by no major accomplishments, no clear positions, no previous involvement in getting policies implemented, and no documented grasp of the issues. In fact, the latter candidate's success has been almost totally due to a talent for making inspiring, though vague, speeches. Clearly, a search committee would not find the choice to be a difficult one. To fill the job of US president, there is no doubt that the first candidate, Hillary Clinton, is the better choice over the second applicant, Barack Obama. This is no high school popularity contest. Rather, it involves the most powerful job in the world, one involving the life and death of nations and of millions of people. Yet many voters, who would never think of behaving like this to fill any other job, have been swayed by Obama's emotional rhetoric and general appeals for a change. Obviously, both candidates would, if elected, represent a change in two respects. First, from eight years of Republican rule; second, because they would equally be historic firsts - Clinton as a woman and Obama as an African-American. "Change," however, is the perennial slogan of most politicians seeking to win office in every election. What kind of a change and who do you trust has the ability to ensure that it would be a change for the better? WILL AMERICA benefit by having a president who has to undergo the most basic - and not necessarily successful - on-the-job training? Hasn't this, to put it mildly, been a rather serious problem in the last eight years? Moreover, voters need to remember that the winner in this job search cannot be hired on a trial basis. We need to know exactly what we are getting in a president and therein the gap between the two candidates is big. Clinton brings a string of real accomplishments to the race. She has eight years of first-hand presidential experience as one who saw how things worked at the top and played a direct role in important policy debates and implementation. Of course, she was not elected and yet there is no doubt that she was the most powerful, politically involved First Lady in American history by a wide margin. This reality was brought home to Americans beginning with Bill Clinton's famous, effective 1992 campaign slogan that they were being elected as a team: "Buy one, get one free." In every way, she was a White House official in those eight years, not merely a hostess. SHE WENT on to become US senator from New York, and a successful one at that. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, she immersed herself in national security issues, something on which her opponent's experience is close to zero. Arguably, she has now been focussing during the last eight years on the most vital issues the next president must face. In contrast, Obama has only two years in the Senate with no major legislative achievements, along with 10 years as a state senator in Illinois politics. It may be somewhat impressive, but hardly the resume that qualifies one to be the president of the United States. He has not had to deal with the most important national issues and there is little evidence at best that he has a vision of how to deal with them. There is no question that Obama is an inspirational speaker who has lit a spark in many Democratic voters, and he is a huge asset to his party for that reason. With more years in the Senate, or some similar position, he might well prove to be qualified for the presidency. But he is not there yet and this is hardly something that can be hidden from the more skeptical voters he would have to convince in November. Clinton has other assets for being president and for being elected president that, ironically, have brought her problems in the Democratic battle. Since her positions are clearer, some people disagree. With Obama, people on opposite sides of issues are free to imagine that he agrees with them. Like her husband, who won two national elections, Clinton has moved toward the center. This may not sit well with the party's large Left side but would make her a more electable candidate and a better president. Being perceived as too far to the Left has repeatedly doomed many prior Democrats with the larger electorate. SHE HAS also shown pragmatism on issues such as the war in Iraq, where she shows an admirable realism. She has bravely refused to disavow her early support for the war. And while she has stated that the troops should be brought home, she rejected cheap demagoguery by saying that such a withdrawal will take time. On issues of importance to Israel, there are few US politicians that can rival, Hillary Clinton. Both Clintons have understood that Israel is a strategic asset. They have worked with past Israeli governments and been deeply interested in the region. Obama's connection to Israel is infinitely more tenuous and, like much else about him, unclear. His view of the Middle East is at best naïve, as his statements have shown, and his choice of advisors - which is a real problem despite attempts to cover this up - is potentially troubling to Israel. Simply ask yourself this question: Who do you trust more to deal with such issues as terrorist threats, Iran's nuclear weapons' drive, Syria, and North Korea? Those of us who know firsthand the realities of the tumultuous Middle East understand that this is not the time in history for confusion, inexperience, and on-the-job training. Could Barak Obama be a good president? Perhaps. But that's not the kind of odds I want to face during one of the most difficult periods in American history. The writer divides her time between Tel Aviv and Washington, DC.