Posted by: Randy Allgaier | December 17, 2007

Presidential Candidates: Is “experience” a real issue? Just look at Abraham Lincoln

Senator and President Clinton have been pushing on the experience factor lately. President Clinton, this past weekend, made a very direct hit on Senator Obama’s “lack of experience While at this point, I am supporting Senator Edwards, it has nothing to do with Obama’s experience. I’ve actually begun wondering who I might support should Edwards not make it to the California primary. My choice after Mr. Edwards is Mr. Obama. Edwards doesn’t have a huge resume of experience in the federal government either. Let’s be real about Senator Clinton too. She is a one term Senator who held no other elected office. Mrs. Clinton is a remarkably smart lady but what experience is she touting? In all due respect, her time as First Lady should not factor into this equation- it wasn’t elected and doesn’t give her experience other than by some sort of White House osmosis. So the question remains – is “experience” an issue?

Howard Kurtz from the Washington Post wrote, “Experience? Who needs experience? That just makes you more vulnerable to negative ads.” Senator Obama’s home state of Illinois is particularly good at electing inexperienced nobodies as president—perhaps you’ve heard of Abraham Lincoln?

Let’s think about this for a minute… does anyone really have experience being president, before actually BEING a president?

Now, if we talk about having experience as a governor, or some sort of important governmental position, then I am not sure if that should be a prerequisite to run for presidency.

Senators Obama’s and Edwards’ have more foreign policy experience than that of, Governors turned Presidents—and out of the last five presidents, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, and Carter were all governors.

The last senator to make the jump to the White House had only one term under his belt before winning the Democratic primary. In the general election, he was called unelectable because of one of his inherent characteristics; the country wasn’t ready for such a man to be president, his detractors said. Yet in spite of his Catholicism, John F. Kennedy went on to become one of the most beloved presidents in recent history.

Senators who have “experience” often seem out of touch with real people. The bubble of the Senate makes the world a very different place- especially when it comes to connection and speaking. Senators tend to bloviate- debate is the essence of the Senate. Senators also have a sense of entitlement” that seems to come from being in our version of “The House of Lords”. I once heard that there are 100 people who want to be President that you can locate quickly- the members of the US Senate.

To get an idea of whether experience is something to consider, lets take a look back at some of the past presidents in the US history:

James Buchanan: 29 years
Gerald Ford: 25 years
George H.W. Bush: 17 years
Richard Nixon: 14 years
Bill Clinton: 12 years
Ronald Reagan: 8 years
George W. Bush: 7 years
Abraham Lincoln: 2 years
George Washington: 0 years
Dwight Eisenhower: 0 years

The former president with the most experience, James Buchanan, who had 29 years of service as a representative, senator, ambassador and Secretary of State, is arguably the worst president in the US history. While Abraham Lincoln with only 2 years experience in the federal government is considered a national icon and, with George Washington, one of the most venerated leaders in our nation’s history. Going by this list, it is difficult to say that more experience is better.

Haven’t we learned in the past 7 years that you really don’t need experience to become president? I don’t think Bush is a disastrous president because he has little experience compared to other previous presidents… he’s just awfully stupid, unwilling to accept different viewpoints and ignorant of reality.

It’s more than experience that matters.


  1. I think life experience is more important. Both Obama and Edwards have learned so much more about the real world than W., well, EVER has…

  2. Your an idiot.

  3. Please enjoy an article I’ve written titled “Experience Matters!”

    Michael Oliva

  4. #2 – it’s “you’re” in this context, not “your.”

  5. Thanks Mike! I appreciate you’re giving grammar lessons to those less adroit with the use of the English languange! I guess it is clear who the idiot is – the one who doesn’t know how to write an English sentence- our comment writer “American”.

  6. […] with experience nearly identical to Mr. Obama’s was inarguably one of our best.  My piece Presidential Candidates: Is “experience” a real issue? Just look at Abraham Lincoln addresses this issue in more […]

  7. Why not a simple test ( multiple choice) for all candidates for Public Office anywhere.Then let us all see and compare the results. Maybe Educational Testing Service would jump at the opportunity. Questions on The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, Bill of Rights, Law, Economics, Labor,Social Policy, Technology, Education, Science, Mathematics, Health Care, Infrastructure,Ecology, Nature, local, state and federal responsibilities, freedom and independence, Foreign Relations appear useful as a start. ( please add your own categories) Schools tell us a score of 85% or is ‘good’.

    Then, a practical- give em 3 scenarios of international significance and 3 of national importance and have them write a proposal on how each would be delt with and why this way. Then let the voters compare and contrast.

    Then let us see and compare all scores for all offices. Imagine it! Seems here this makes better sense than what a person would do on an emergency call at 3:00am, or how much a candidate can raise in $ to go into a campaign, or who does and who does not have “experience”. Special interests would disappear. A comparative score would tell much.

    We endlessly test children. We test teachers, doctors, dentists, lawyers, pharmacists, engineers– but the people who debate, decide and make the rules impacting everyone are off the hook.

  8. Dr. Wes I like your idea,,, it would surely expose the two socialist candidates for the unqualified boobs they are…

  9. Well as far as the test regarding the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, Bill of Rights, Law, Economics, Labor,Social Policy, Technology, Education, Science, Mathematics, Health Care, Infrastructure,Ecology, Nature, local, state and federal responsibilities, freedom and independence, Foreign Relations.
    My sense is that Obama and Clinton would ace it and McCain would flunk. Clinton- a Yale educated lawyer and Obama – a lawyer who was the Editor of the Harvard Law Review both are considered incredibly bright by even some of their critics (Pat Buchanan among them). McCain- he finished 2nd to last in his class at the Naval Academy.

    I’m not sure that giving them hypotheticals on various crises would really give us an idea of how they would work under pressure.

    McCain- as you might know- is considered by many to be a little nuts. Some folks in the Pentagon have said that they are really scared about him being commander in chief- because of his temper and his hot headedness. Additionally McCain has flip flloped on issues like tax cuts, his independence from the right wing religious zealots, and most recently- torture. But when I hear that folks in the Pentagon are afraid of McCain being in charge- that should give us all pause.

  10. Experience for most people is knowledge absorbed, right or, wrong,
    to know what tracks to run on, what not. That is why elderly people can make so many suggestions, and appear they have so much talent, knowledge, & value. Cause they have made a adequate amount of mistakes in their life. Their is no substitue for experience, time in the trenchs, this along with HARD WORK, loyalty to self and fellowman & Country, a great attitude. Will succeed every time. I don`t buy into Experience Is Nothing, when it comes to the Presidency. God Bless America Always, & Our President & Family Always. Author: “Tears On Henry Ford`s Face”

  11. These are not times to Practice for a President, if he has no Experience, This is not a Family Practice, Legal Practice, This is The Real Deal, Obama. We can not promote you with no Experience, and give you 4 years to Learn Something you have no epxperience about.
    Yes You have not lived long enough to generate, or lived with the Knowledge Sen. McCain has developed with experience & Age. By the way FDR, was in a wheel chair, & what does age have to do with it.Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge, This is not about Practice, Practice, Practice. The USA, CAN NOT AFFORD A PRESIDENT IN A LEARNIBNG PHASE.

  12. One Major Area I Can`t Overlook, And No Way Can I. All Presedential Candidates, and Presidents. Must Have , it is Essential , This is A Must My Dear Americans. So Stop, Look, & Listen. “Common Sense” Is A Utmost Major Qualification. Common Sense Is Not Common. So look for Common Sense in Them, & Yourself. You will have a more Harmonious Outcome, and less tears. Amen

  13. And it is clear that Senator McCain is not in a position to run this country. He talks about Czechoslovakia forgetting that it has not been a country for 15 years. He can’t keep Sunni and Shi’ia straight, he has said he knows nothing about the economy. He has piggy backed on to Obama’s position on Afghanistan and he just doesn’t get the world in the 21st cenury. You mention that McCain has developed with age and experience. I beg to differ- the Senator McCain of 2000 was someone I might have supported. The John McCain running now? No Way. Maybe like wine- he was maturing but unfortunately 2000 was probably its peak year and now in 2008 it has turned into vinegar.

    From your writing style I am assuming that you are not a native English speaker or very young with bad writing skills. In either case I welcome you to my blog- I enjoy having folks of different points of view debate on this site.

  14. Randy don`t assume anything. Your assumptions are numerous about me. If you supported McCain in 2000, either you did not know him then, as you feel you know him now. That is your business. My opinion I feel he is the best of the two. That is my business.
    Czechoslovakia, is now composed of Slovakia & Czech Republic, I`m half SLOVAK, Can speak it fluently. I can go on here but won`t.
    Your assumption I`m not a native English Speaker, or have no writing skills. Is again WRONG. I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK THAT IS INTERNATIONAL AT ALL MAJOR BOOK STORES, and 28 Copyrighted songs in D.C. It annoys me to question my heritige as a non-English or whatever. I`m an Air Force Vet, My Father was 5 th Air Force World War II, His brothers and sister, were all in World War II, Battle Of The Bulge-Roy, Okinawa–Leon–Bob, PBY5 CATALINA, retired Navy, All thru the South Pacific seeing plenty of action as a Original Black Cat Squadron, FORT BENJAMIN HARRISON, Grace, My Fathers entire family was in during World WarII. mY COUSIN A COL JUST LEFT THE AIR fORCE, retired, was the detachment Commander for all Fighters out of Hickam AFB. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA why I support McCain out of the two Sir? He paid his dues to the Country including his family. Nuff said. I welcome your opinion, however you know what happens when you assume. You make a Ass out of you and Me. BUT WE ALL HAVE OUR CHOICES. bY THE WAY i`M RESPONSIBLE FOR PUTTING DOWN THE ROAD 10,000 New Chevrolets in my time selling one at a time, with very good speaking skills, plus I went to a Communication Center Specilist School, Cheyenne Wyo.BOTTOM LINE MOST PEOPLE UNDERSTAND ME VERY WELL, and know me as a communicatin specialist. It`s nice to be important, but it`s more important to be nice. Amen

  15. I made the comment that I assumed English wasn’t your first language because your posts here are not well written and use awkwardly worded phrases such as “utmost major qualification” (it seems a tad reduntant to me) and because of your choice to capitalize the first letter of words mid-sentence that shouldn’t be capitalized. There are also spelling and punctuation errors throughout the posts. I apologize for my assumption.

    What is the title of your book? I’d love to read it.

    As far as items that have copyrights: While I applaud your creativity, anyone can copyright anything by submitting the proper papers, fees and documents with the library of Congress. Many porn movies have copyrights. Holding copyrights means little to me.

    I have no assumptions about your heritage, just your poor use of written English in your posts on this site.

    As far as John McCain- No I did not vote for him in 2000 and I have supported Obama since mid January here on my blog, in my community and with my wallet. Believe me, I am no neophyte to the world of politics and policy. I have worked on state and federal legislation and have had relationships with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

    I probably should not have made a sarcastic comment about your use of English but when someone argues with me on this blog I enjoy that argument when it is well written and well reasoned. You will notice that there are a number of regular readers that have very different views than I hold, but I respect their arguements because of how they are presented. I apologize if my critique of your writing seemed personal; it couldn’t be personal because I don’t know you.

    I certainly honor your family’s sacrifice to our nation. I too have relatives that have served this country with bravery in every war since the French and Indian War.

    I did notice that you did not respond to my comments about some of the basic errors that Mr. McCain has made which seem rather problematic for a man who has such experience and knowledge.

  16. We all make errors. McCain has made a host of them. I lived in Arizona for 6 years and sold new Chevrolets there. Not everyone holds Mr McCain in high esteem. I went to the same church Charles Keating went to. He certainly made many errors. Bottom line I don`t endorse McCain moreso than many capable people. However he is the candidate. I personally like Newt Gingrich, who people find faults with, he isn`t a candidate. My spelling or writing may not be quite perfect at times when I`m in haste to put something on paper. I overlook it, hopefully most people do. No one has to be perfect to suit me. The one that was, they nailed to the cross, & came back for the nails. You are right about written songs with copyrights, and also to get something bought is not quite easy. Billy Walker a Icon on the Opry, was and his wife, and two band members was a persoanl friend of mine, and my work has been reviewed, by some of the best. I am a published author, and that manuscript has been bought and is a done deal. I just attended the, ” International Christian Retail Show, at the Orange COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER, and a seminar for Authors a day later in Kissimmee. Bottom line I don`t feel important, I was invited to these functions. But I certainly don`t feel I`m a deadbeat , You are right any one can copyright, but it is more important to be able to write, and be creative. I am. Thankyou

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