Hillary’s got guts and experience

By Brenda Kay Zylstra

The elections are more than a year away, and already I know more useless details about presidential wannabes than I do of the ubiquitous Britney Spears. Most pundits agree the American public is so fed up with the Bush Administration that by default, no Republican candidate has a fighting chance (and certainly the Dems could never squander such a golden combination of an unpopular opposition party and a war-weary country … oh, wait).

Thus the primaries have taken on a sort of finality – whoever wins the Democratic nomination will likely go all the way. It’s shaping up to be a bloody battle between tried-and-true Hillary Clinton and newcomer Barack Obama.

Let’s compare and contrast.

Hillary is often accused of being unlikable and, next to Obama’s passionate charisma, she sometimes seems to be the grumpier of the two. But so what? We all remember a certain Texan with a bewitching Southern charm garnering the votes from an awful lot of well-meaning people … Obama is a doll, but so was Dubya.

Admit it: If Bush was your grandpa or some half-senile old man who lived down the street, you’d think he was absolutely adorable. Hillary, too, can be scary.

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    Sure, I’d sooner hug Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But Hillary is tough.

    Battle-worn and weary, Hillary emerged from the ’90s with the failure of a health care plan and her worldwide humiliation as a duped wife. Many called Hillary a fool for not leaving Bill after Lewinsky-gate, but who’s laughing now? That’s right, it’s the senator from New York whose powerful husband still brings in money, power and connections – and she’s got a new, improved health care plan to boot.

    In fact, Hillary has a lot of plans and a lot of answers to tough questions. More importantly, she’s got a lot of experience – which goes a lot further than Obama’s lack thereof, even with his contagious smile. Hillary wasn’t a hyperactive first lady for nothing. I cannot even comprehend what the Rolodex of a two-term presidential power couple contains, and neither can Obama. Despite all his bright rising star power, he simply does not have anywhere near the know-how Hillary does. He has not been tested. Most of what little experience he has is from the Illinois State Senate. What is particularly disturbing about these records is his tendency to vote “present” (the cop-out vote), on controversial issues like abortion, gun control and even one bill which protected the privacy of sex-abuse victims. He talks a lot of game about making hard choices and standing up for what is right, but voting “present” (abstaining from the vote) sends the opposite message.

    Hillary might not have a lot of sparkle, but she’s got guts and stamina, and I’d choose the candidate with proven experience over the one who only has possible potential any day.