THE BLOG

Hillary's Bosnia Boast -- Not a Big Deal

03/27/2008 09:48 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Jesus, give her a break.

C'mon, she's been a good mother to Chelsea; she hasn't killed anybody, including her philandering husband; she's been an effective senator for her adopted state of New York; she's smart as hell and knows all the ins and outs of public policy, ranging from her hard-won expertise about what will and won't work on healthcare reform to how to deal with tyrants and dictators and the globalized economy, and she even knows how to do Saturday Night Live and Stephen Colbert.

OK, so she tried to make it look like she braved incoming on her trip to Bosnia, and that she helped settle the Israeli-Palestinian problem and that she's the only one who can handle the 3 a.m. crisis phone call and that she deserves the Democratic nomination because she's won the big states that matter, committed delegates be damned.

Listen, I'm suffering from Clinton fatigue as much as the next person, and I think Barack Obama is the real deal. But as a yellow dog Democrat, I think both of them would make a good president.

The fact is, the presidency is the ultimate existential job; nobody knows how a president will do until he or she is actually in the Oval Office. George W. is a case in point and so was his father and so was Jimmy Carter. And so was Ronald Reagan, who was dismissed, by Clark Clifford, as "an amiable dunce" and by others as a third-rate actor but was able to convince voters they could do anything they wanted if they believed that it was morning in America.

And who hasn't embellished their credentials while running for president, except for John McCain, who has a biography you can't argue with? Obama hasn't exactly been a Ted Kennedy in the Senate, and he can't pretend that he was a leader, either in Washington or Springfield or South Chicago. Like John F. Kennedy, his power stems from his inspirational oratory and his promise of bridging the country's historic racial divide, and not from his accomplishments in the legislative arena.

Hillary doesn't do inspirational speeches. She's meat and potatoes to Obama's four-star political cuisine. So she tried to hype her credentials while under fire in Bosnia. So what? They all do it. It's certainly better than Vice President Cheney's cavalier dismissal of the public's opposition to the war in Iraq. Hillary says she came under fire in Bosnia? So? Does that disqualify her as a presidential candidate? I don't think so.

As my friend Bill Press writes, Obama and Clinton are "are providing us with the most exciting primary contest in our lifetime, and the end result will be extremely advantageous to Democrats. Whenever it's over, and whoever wins, Democrats will have built a ground operation in every state, including states and congressional districts they never bothered to campaign in before. And Democrats will have created a huge new historic pool of dedicated voters to help them to victory."

Let's let Hillary off the hook for her Bosnia boast and judge her for what she is, and not for what she sometimes says she was.