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.