Vote for experience in Clinton

The voters of Wisconsin should consider Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a matter of substance, not just notion. Barack Obama’s strategy involves the construction of dichotomies which give the illusion of gravitas. For instance, one must either bolster change and hope as he does, or reinforce the status quo and pessimism. Obama is obliged to resort to this tactic because intangibilities are the only realm where he can beat Clinton. Hopes must be his currency, because he is nearly broke in policy, invention and experience.

Clinton possesses a treasury of credible experience and governing acumen. With all respect to the Illinois State Legislature, where Obama has spent most of his time, Wisconsin will not be fooled by clever tactics and will conclude that Clinton has far more substance than her bright-eyed counterpart. Working for the Children’s Defense Fund, serving as first lady of Arkansas and the nation as well as representing New York as its senator, are experience tools that can build the changed America we desire.

With her years of experience on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, countless meetings with world leaders and advocacy for peace in Darfur, Northern Ireland and Israel, Clinton is prepared to take the responsibilities of commander in chief now, and won’t need study sessions and learning curves to squeeze into the president’s chair. Obama’s foreign policy is an example of forged change without the prerequisite experience. He stated last year that as our leader, he would meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called the Holocaust a myth and said the state of Israel should be wiped off the map. In response to an assassination last Thursday, Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah called for open war with Israel. One must question if Obama will want to meet with this leader as well.

A discussion of health care further embodies Obama’s deficit of substance, compared to Clinton’s efforts in the field. Clinton was the first American leader to seriously labor for universal health care in the 1990s as first lady and is proud to contemporarily support a strategy to cover all Americans, including students. Even though both candidates’ plans may cost similar amounts, Obama’s outline will not cover all Americans. This exclusion not only disregards a fraction of the population, but ultimately will make the price of health care rise for the rest of us.

The rigors of facing the Republican machine in the general election are not to be taken lightly. While Clinton’s negatives were forged from being a warrior for poor Americans in the last 20 years, the electorate has yet to discover the negatives of the unknown Senator from Illinois. Obama has not been adequately tested in this primary for one to be confident of his chances in the next year. The New York Times recently published an investigation of his dealings with the nuclear energy company Exelon, examining campaign donations made to Obama and others by the large corporation and his record of voting on energy. If a left-leaning paper can discover such unease, what is next from extreme Republicans who effectively attacked Sen. John Kerry for being a war hero? The end result is an unfamiliar candidacy changed by Republican attacks into a deteriorating candidate.

Obama may make you blush, but engaging a conservative like Sen. John McCain on the issues of health care, the economy and the cost of college will take more than an aimless smile, and the endorsement of second class movie stars. Clinton has challenged Obama to a debate per week for the foreseeable future in order to expose such gaps in presidential conduct. Obama has refused to debate in Wisconsin. Will someone who runs from nomination debates face the battle-tested McCain in the general election debates?

Wisconsin voters will not be caught in a wave of hollow rhetoric in tomorrow’s primary. Grandiose oratory does not hide the fact that Obama simply voted “present” 130 times as an Illinois State Senator according to The New York Times. We will instead historically nominate a candidate who will lead through substance and experience, the most intelligent on the stage and restore that magical portion of the American experience we have lost. We will elect Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Olson is a 2007 alumnus and guest columnist for The Spectator.