Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Why I Prefer Judgment Over Experience: Hillary Clinton, Meet Joe Gibbs!

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As I watch the Hillary Clinton campaign step up their negative rhetoric toward Barack Obama, in response to Obama’s challenges to her “inevitability” as the Democratic nominee, I like this characterization of the contrast by the Wall Street Journal:
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have taken off their gloves. In one corner stands the champion of experience, with the best executive coach in the free world at her side and a dog-eared playbook of strategies that have won in the past. Standing in the opposite corner is a young contender, fairly new at the game, underweight and probably overmatched, but a natural, as they say. Mr. Obama and his handlers are putting their money on his judgment, disdaining the experience card as a stale rerun of earlier campaigns.
The point was driven home recently during a short trip to a Nevada casino for a weekend of (small-time) football betting, when I lost a bet in a game that ended as described by the Los Angeles Times:
The grief of the Washington Redskins was on full display, in front of 85,000 fans waving their No. 21 towels (in memory of murdered player, Sean Taylor), but their emotions were shattered when Ryan Lindell kicked a 36-yard field goal with four seconds left to give the Buffalo Bills a 17-16 victory.

Lindell made a 51-yard attempt that didn't count because the Redskins (5-7) called timeout just as the ball was snapped. Coach Joe Gibbs then tried the same tactic again, but consecutive timeouts aren't allowed when attempting to freeze the kicker. The resulting 15-yard penalty gave Lindell an easier kick and helped the Bills improve to 6-6.
That would be the very experienced Joe Gibbs, whose resume as an NFL coach is clearly beyond what Hillary Clinton claims as her qualifications to be President, as described in his official website biography:
During Joe Gibbs' first tenure with the Redskins, from 1981-1992, he led them to eight playoff appearances, four NFC championships, and three Super Bowl titles. He was known for his hard work and extremely long hours.

In 1996 he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with a record of 124 wins and 60 losses and a post season record of 16 wins and five loses. His winning percentage of .683 was behind only the legendary Vince Lombardi and John Madden.
He’s been back coaching the Redskins since 2004. And to be fair, Gibbs has surely built his career by using better judgment than he displayed at the end of the Bills game (although perhaps he's now showing the effects of breathing too many NASCAR gas fumes!) To top it off, he was coaching the game under emotional, pressure-filled, stressful conditions after Taylor’s death.

But, according to Hillary, isn’t “experience,” supposed to be the thing that allows one to perform effectively in the sometimes emotional, pressure-filled, stressful conditions of being President?

And if “experience” didn’t prevent Joe Gibbs from using poor judgment under the stress of an emotional game, how can we expect Hillary Clinton’s “experience” to prevent her from using poor judgment under the stress of being President?

Or the stress of an emotional campaign?

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