To put it another way, think which politician is most experienced today in the classic sense, and thus — according to the “experience” camp — best qualified to become the next president.
That’s Dick Cheney. And I rest my case.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Experience Quotient!
One of the issues in the current Presidential campaign is experience. How much importance do we give to experience. Hillary has been making much hay about her greater level of experience as compared to Barack Obama. The question is -- how important is experience? And if experience is the most important criteria, then why are the three candidates left standing (yes I know that Dennis Kucinich hasn't dropped out yet) are the least experienced of the Democratic candidates who have run this year. Obama is starting his 4th year, Hillary her eighth. John Edwards served one six year term. How does that compare to those already discarded -- Dodd, Biden, Richardson and Gravel?
And if Hillary wants to make experience her hallmark, she'd better hope John McCain isn't her opponent in November.
Nicholas Kristoff has analyzed this question of experience in a NY Times op-ed, and noted that some of our greatest Presidents of the 20th century had little political experience. TR was governor for 2 years and had 6 months under his belt as VP (but that charge up San Juan Hill!). And of course America's greatest president -- another guy from Illinois, served one term in Congress -- Abraham Lincoln.
The reality is that there are all kinds of experiences -- Obama's experiences as a community organizer and even his time spent in Indonesia as a child could be the kind of experiences we need in a President for the 21st Century.
And just to prove the point -- this from Kristoff: