“I won’t respect you in the morning” and “Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world.” I actually heard that quote from remarks made by Barack Obama and reported on the The Huffington Post while I was running on the treadmill in my gym and watching Wolf Blitzer’s show on CNN, and suddenly noticed that my my heart rate jumped to 175 beats. It was like OMG! I cannot believe this! My personal trainer expressed his concern. “Are you sure you’re ok?” he asked. Here we go again. Another Fitness Freak Dies in Gym. Thankfully, the appearance of Candy Crowley on the screen helped bring my heartbeat down. But I was still “Shocked! Shocked!” and ran to my laptop to find out what Obama said during a fundraiser in San Francisco, after taking a question on what he was looking for in a running mate:
“I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I’m not as expert on,” he said, and then he was off and running. “I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more Commander-in-Chief-like. Ironically, this is an area–foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.”
“It’s ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be Commander-in-Chief. Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world. This I know. When Senator Clinton brags ‘I’ve met leaders from eighty countries’–I know what those trips are like! I’ve been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There’s a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then–you go.”
“You do that in eighty countries–you don’t know those eighty countries. So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa–knowing the leaders is not important–what I know is the people. . . .”
“I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college–I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. . . .”
“Nobody is entirely prepared for being Commander-in-Chief. The question is when the 3 AM phone call comes do you have somebody who has the judgment, the temperament to ask the right questions, to weigh the costs and benefits of military action, who insists on good intelligence, who is not going to be swayed by the short-term politics. By most criteria, I’ve passed those tests and my two opponents have not.”
Obama is right! Running for the presidency is not a Foreign Service Exam. And pleasse… I don’t care if the next president doesn’t know the name of the head of Zimbabwe’s central bank. What we need is someone with intelligence, leadership qualities and a sense of history. You certainly don’t get that by serving many years in Congress.