Our good friend Dick Allen, who served as RN’s foreign policy coordinator during the 1968 campaign, and was present at the creation of the Nixon Administration, has written an interesting piece —“Obama’s Experience Doesn’t Match Up”— in today’s Wall Street Journal.
Dick was also Ronald Reagan’s chief foreign policy adviser during the pre-presidential years 1977-1980, and then served in the Reagan White House as the first National Security Adviser.
The article compares the foreign travels and experiences of former presidents to Senator Obama’s rather hastily-assembled (and somewhat jerrybuilt) resume.
Richard Nixon gathered vast international experience in extensive travels as vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower. Following his 1960 loss to John F. Kennedy, Nixon made long trips to virtually every corner of the globe, quietly meeting with leaders and others from many walks of life. In October 1967 he published an article in the quarterly Foreign Affairs, “Asia after Vietnam,” sketching the broad outlines of a plan for Asia policy following the termination of hostilities in Vietnam. It included a broad hint of what later blossomed as his stunning 1971 “opening” to China.
Lyndon Johnson traveled far and wide in his years in the Senate and as majority leader. He was a strong proponent of a bipartisan foreign and national security policy. Along with extraordinary congressional Democrats like Sens. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson (Wash.), Richard B. Russell (Ga.) and John Sparkman (Ala.), and Reps. Sam Rayburn (Texas), Clement Zablocki (Wis.) and Dante Fascell (Fla.), Johnson’s support for many Eisenhower policies helped forge a bipartisan national consensus on critical issues.
The sting is in the tail; the piece ends:
So, when we hear about Barack Obama’s extensive “experience” in foreign affairs, most of which will be recently acquired in a mere week of travel amid media fanfare, it should be judged in the context of the experience quotients of his predecessor candidates for the presidency.
Perhaps Mr. Obama will now decide to hold the very first hearing of his Senate subcommittee; after all, there would be extensive media coverage.