“Day One.” That’s the phrase we keep hearing from the Clinton camp: she’s the candidate that will be ready to lead from “Day One.” She’s got the experience. She’s got the knowledge.
But does she have the leadership qualities? That’s a separate issue from knowledge or the temporal experience of having “been in” the White House (as distinct from actually doing the job). Leadership is not about intellect, necessarily, and some of the finest colonels any army has ever seen have made terrible generals. More and more, the question of leadership becomes a relevant question as the campaign wears on.
First, we had planted questions. (Paging Jeff Gannon!) Well now, let it be known that the fake news stories that Bush gets so much flak for (albeit deservedly) originated in the Clinton Administration. So, one might say that the “experience” has already paid dividends. But instead the response was that someone in Clinton’s campaign did the planting without her knowledge.
At the same time, Clinton herself accused a questioner at one Iowa stop of being a plant from her opposition.
Now, we have the “RomperGate” scandal, wherein an essay of Barack Obama’s from kindergarten has become fodder for a desperate Clinton campaign looking to tarnish his image:
That’s right. Essays written in the kindergarten and the third grade, which are sure to one day find a permanent home at the National Archives, are being cited by the Clinton campaign as proof that Obama’s bloodthirsty presidential ambitions began as a plot hatched between naptime and snack. “If only the many, many people who want to vote for him in Iowa knew,” reasons the Clinton campaign.
Once again, while Clinton herself said she planned on attacking his image, this latest faux pas has been once again lain upon yet another over-zealous staffer without permission.
You could ignore the excuses and say that Hillary Clinton herself ordered these gaffs, in which case, Clinton comes off as both amateurish and low. Or, you could accept the explanations at face-value and see a woman entirely out of touch with her own staff. But really, there isn’t any other option, is there?
If Mrs. Clinton cannot prevent the relatively small staff of a campaign from putting her in constant hot water, how is she supposed to run the entire country? If she cannot tame the fire of a few over-enthusiastic college-kid staffers, what is she going to do once she is required to lead the 800-pound, battle-scarred gorillas that head Administrative branch departments and have survived multiple presidents?
One could argue that Senate experience can in fact help build charismatic leadership in those Senators who’ve built coalitions and gotten bills passed, but this has certainly not been Hillary’s M.O. She has stayed well out of sight for the most part. She has taken to voting with the majority even in the most destructive of courses – such as the Patriot Act, the War Powers Resolution, numerous ill-conceived spending bills and now the Iranian Republican Guard vote – when a person supposedly equipped to be president from “Day One,” should surely have known better.
Or is the problem that she’s a calculating operator, concerned with nothing more than her ambition even over even the welfare of the country, willing at the first sign of trouble to either accuse invisible enemies or else throw a staffer under the bus?
These are valid questions. They are questions that the good people of Iowa seem already to be asking, and the questions are spreading.