Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Experience and Presidential Candidates

I have listened with some amusement as the various presidential candidates have tried to convince the voters that they have the "experience" required to be president. Frankly, no one has that kind of experience, with the possible exception of having held a cabinet position. It is on the job training.

John McCain has frequently said that his military experience and his "foreign policy" experience in the Senate qualify him to be president. In reality, he has made no foreign policy decisions in his life. He has voted on committees and visited countries, but he hasn't had the "buck" stop with him when a final decision had to be made. His military experience, while outstanding, does nothing to qualify him for the presidency. He often talks about his commanding the largest squadron in the US Navy. However, outside of day to day operations, he was following the orders of the decision makers, not making those decisions himself.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are no different. Like McCain, they have never run a country and, other than voting on the Senate floor, serving on committees or taking junkets to foreign countries, they have not been involved in the final say on any major United States policy decisions.

Obama has summed it up pretty well, saying a president has to make common sense, informed decisions. A good president must surround him/her self with good people and ensure that the best possible information is at hand before making crucial decisions. None of the candidates can do any better than that. We, the voters, simply can't make decisions based on candidates' experience, because, frankly, they have no experience in a similar job. We have to look at the big picture and understand where they stand, what they stand for, and whether we agree.

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