During an appearance today on CNN’s “Late Edition” program, Barack Obama supporter Chris Dodd made the case that Barack Obama’s lack of experience could help instead of hurt him in the general election. Host Wolf Blitzer asked Dodd about experience after previous guest Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) said that he was supporting Clinton based on her experience. Dodd said, “Well, if experience were the deciding factor, Joe Biden and I ought to be leading the race right today, I suppose, in terms of years of experience. Experience is important, but it shouldn’t be viewed, Wolf, in isolation. There are other qualities and characteristics that I think we pay as much attention. The moral values, the character of an individual, where they come from, who they are as individuals.”
Dodd continued, “I can go back in history — I won’t bore you with it — with people who have been — had a lot of experience, didn’t end up being very good presidents. Those that arguably had limited experience, at least what we think of in terms of elective office, who turned out to be very good presidents.”
He discussed Obama’s ability to attract Republicans and Independents, “I think one of the most important things to look at here, in terms of winning this election, has been the numbers of people who have been attracted to Barack Obama’s campaign who are independents and Republicans. There are almost a million more people, if you add independents and Republicans, who have voted or supported Barack Obama in the 44 caucuses and primaries that we’ve had already over the last three months.”
He contrasted Obama with Hillary Clinton’s limited appeal to only Democrats. “You’re not going to win the election by just appealing to your own base. You’re going to win it because you appeal to independents or like-minded people of the other party. Barack Obama has a huge advantage when it comes to that. There are literally people talking about themselves as Obama Republicans. The last time you and I heard words like that was when people talked about Reagan Democrats. So, I believe his experience is important, but there are other qualities here besides experience, which ought to matter.”
Hillary Clinton’s negatives are so high among Republican voters that she would probably unify the party against her. Her appeal with Independents is also very limited to point where many of them would drift towards McCain. In some elections, there are more important things than experience. The American electorate is craving a new voice, and a fresh start. They want to push the Bush years into the past and move forward. Both Clinton and McCain are old voices on the national scene. Neither one of them offers anything fresh and new, Obama represents a fresh start while Clinton represents a return to the 1990’s, and McCain embodies continuing the status quo. Dodd realizes this, as do a growing number of his fellow Democrats.