Obama's inexperience

The lack of executive experience is annoying, but oh well. He’s better than the other alternatives.

While I like Obama better than anyone else running at this point, one thing does give me pause: we’re suffering right now from having someone in office who is in over his head.

I know everyone here hates Bush, thinks he’s evil, can’t tie his shoes, etc. But he was a pretty good governor in Texas, and was able to understand what was needed to get things done there. I was at a business dinner at which he was the speaker and was then at the table at which I was seated, and he was very articulate and intelligent on the issues of concern to the folks at the table. He was a fine governor and a good person.

He is and has been completely over his head at the presidency, and the skills that served him well as governor of Texas (a state in which the governor does not have a huge amount of power) were completely insufficient in the Oval Office. The complexity of the issues and how the data is presented to the president for decisions, the ability to choose the absolute best people to surround him, etc. were at such a higher level that he completely bombed.

So my main concern with Obama is whether a charming, sincere, intelligent guy with a great vision has the experience to play all the roles a president has to play to be effective. Can he be the S.O.B. that the role can demand, and call in a cabinet member who has 30 years more experience than he has and tell him/her that their performance on some issue is 100% unacceptable, with examples, and what he demands happen immediately? What would he have done differently with a situation such as the one in Iraq during Saddams’ hide and seek games, resolutions being made and ignored, conflicting data coming in, people playing power politics around him on the issues, the knowledge of what could happen if you’re wrong, etc.? Would he have made a different response to the first World Trade Center attack? How would he respond to North Korea, or the head of Iran deciding, let’s say, to completely kick out any oversite on their nuclear program and a top secret intelligence report that the military is holding secret exercises and a couple of large missiles have been taken underground for some type of work? This is the easiest job in the world to second guess - of COURSE the right answer in the Cuban Missile Crisis was to go chin to chin with the USSR and wait for them to back down. And of COURSE the Bay of Pigs invasion was foolish.

I’m not sure what job really does prepare you for the presidency. But the consequence of learning from your mistakes as you learn the job can be disastrous.

At the moment the only candidate in both parties that you couldn’t say would be in over their head is Hillary, right? :)

Actually, she doesn’t have much more personal experience at making these types of decisions. And I’m not sure how close she and Bill are these days… ;)

Maybe, but I think just being in the White House as First Lady counts for something–probably a lot. Having experienced the day-to-day details of the job first-hand for eight years, I think she probably has a pretty good idea what it entails. And she’s clearly been preparing herself for it for some time now.

Oh, I was just being facetious. ;) She certainly saw up close what the job entails, and all that goes with it. Doesn’t mean she’d be good at it, but she would probably not be surprised.

The thing with Bush, though, was not a “lack of experience”, but a lack of accomplishment. Through out his entire life he coasted on his family’s name, money, and connections. The best example of this is when he was CEO of a Texan oil company that went bankrupt. It was still bought out for several times its worth by a bigger company so that a Bush (and his connections) could be on the board of directors.

Obama might not have had a lot of time in national public offices, but he’s had campaign experience, and actually shows signs of intelligence to boot.

I was torn between the last two, but I think it will be an issue that others make a big deal about – and therefore the public will at least notice it.

That said, better Obama than Hillary.

Is a president supposed to have any particular, y’know, skills, or is it enough that they be intelligent and have good intentions and a competent staff to carry out the Big Ideas?

Well, since he/she serves as commander-in-chief of the military and head of our national-intelligence apparatus – functions to which the next prez will probably be 99% devoted for the coming years – one might ask for some semblance of what to do with ours.

Ideally, you want a Colin Powell, who was a company commander in one war, CJCS in another, and was well-rounded enough to serve as an internationally-admired SecState. Less ideally, you want someone who entrusts the NSC to a Powell-type who will steer the administration toward smart decisions. You definitely don’t want a president who will appoint a Powell and then marginalize and ignore the one real military man in the room.


He might be inexperienced enough to think he can accomplish something great. In the process of doing that I hope he’ll surround himself with staff that think like him, but also have experience. And yes, I understand I’m being much to optomistic about a U.S. politician.

You also don’t want a President like Colin Powell, who rolled over for this administration’s stupidity, said nothing about it, and apparently still doesn’t want to say anything about it. Brave leader there.

So if Barack Obama is inexperienced because of his 6ish years in the senate, doesn’t that exact same problem confront HRC? I guess this is kind of thread-crossing, but whatever. I mean if we want someone with more than a decade (say) in national politics, that ain’t either of them unless you count HRC’s time as First Lady.

The smear campaigns have already started.

I’ve already gotten two rambling attack e-mails forwarded by conservative relatives along the lines of “A Muslim in the White House!” implying that Obama is some sort of Muslim/Athiest hybrid out to destroy our good Christian nation. I wish I had the first one, which was actually coherent enough to convince a semi-intelligent paranoid Christian. This is the most recent one…

My favorite part of that email is the list of evil things the UCC supports. Environmental Justice is pretty funny, but the International Criminal Court takes the cake.

Supporting justice = commie liberalism. Wake up fool! Don’t you see that your way of life is about to be put to pasture if you don’t stop them!

YOU ARE THE ENEMY. Liberalism = death to YOU and YOUR family. Atheists, pagans, Muslims, antisemites, homosexuals, and welfare mothers are their constituents. They HATE you and want to destroy you in every possible way. They tried in the 60s and 70s, and now they’re back, and doing it again! You think a half-Muslim pagan fraud (who might be the antichrist LOOK IT UP) is going to stand up for YOUR way of life. Better keep an eye behind you brother! As soon as you put them in power they’ll stab you in the back and destroy the Constitution! The Founding Fathers believed in God, DOES HE???

What they mean to say is Justice for all - except red-blooded hard working Americans!

At the Amos Oz talk I went to Monday night, there was a super right wing jew my parents know, and I was talking to him and he said “No one’s going to vote for Hussein. Did you know he’s a Muslim? He went to a Madrassa, too.” Which I guess means he hates Israel or freedom or both.

Perhaps he believes that things are not accomplished by publicly bitching and venting your viewpoints like a prima donna on every issue that you don’t agree with with respect to an organization you’ve worked for.

He may have learned this in the army.

That’s one theory. Another is that he’s an incompetent dipshit when it matters the most. Name something positive he did as Secretary of State.

The US didn’t have to veto a Security Council condemnation of the Iraq war.

We all forget the other candidate with a giant pile of foreign policy experience.

If the Democrats were going to sit down and construct the perfect candidate for 2008, they’d be hard-pressed to improve on Gore. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has no controversial vote on Iraq to defend. Unlike Barack Obama and John Edwards, he has extensive experience in both the Senate and the White House. He has put aside his wooden, policy-wonk demeanor to emerge as the Bush administration’s most eloquent critic. And thanks to An Inconvenient Truth, Gore is not only the most impassioned leader on the most urgent crisis facing the planet, he’s also a Hollywood celebrity, the star of the third-highest-grossing documentary of all time.

“He’s perceived very differently now than he was six years ago,” says Frank Luntz, the Republican consultant who advised George W. Bush to dispute global warming during the 2000 and 2004 elections. “He’s an icon. Imagine that: Al Gore, Mr. Straight and Narrow, Mr. Dull on Wheels – now he’s culturally cool.”

The Nixon analogy is eerily accurate.