What Kind of Experience Makes a Good President? by Karoleena

The issue of experience has dominated the 2008 Presidential campaign. But what kind of experience has historically paved the way for a successful presidency?”

One of the primary themes of this 2008 Presidential campaign has been experience. Namely, both Hillary Clinton and John McCain have made the claim that Barack Obama does not have enough experience to be the President of the United States. The problem with this argument is that it’s pretty vague. The Presidency is a job unlike any other, so the only real experience for the big chair is actually being President.”

In a somewhat tentative way, I guess you could say that what Bill Clinton cautiously told a reporter when asked if Obama was ready to be president was true when he stated that no one was actually ready to be president. I assume that would have included him as well.

A study done to determine the top best presidents ever produced the following (there is a table showing how they arrived at this conclusion):

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. Franklin Roosevelt
3. George Washington
4. Teddy Roosevelt
5. Thomas Jefferson

I’m not sure I agree with this conclusion, and neither does the writer, because I would have put John F. Kennedy a little higher up the ranking. Maybe I’m just biased, though. He did not really have much time to prove how good a president he could have been, but he did stand up in a lot of pressure that was successful.

The Age Issue: “Before beginning that analysis, though, it’s worth mentioning that one of the reasons that this experience issue is highlighted is because of the age difference between the candidates. Obama is 47, and McCain will be 72 later this month. Interestingly enough, this actually puts Obama closer in age to the five most successful presidents. The average age of all five presidents is 52, with Teddy Roosevelt the youngest at 42, and Jefferson the oldest at 58. Thus, Barack Obama is actually within the age range of the most successful Presidents. McCain, by contrast, is two decades older than this average age. Clearly, then, it is not merely age that makes experience.

What experiences did all five of the best Presidents have in common? Here they are:

1. All five of the best Presidents were state legislators.

2. All five of the best Presidents married wealthy wives.

3. All five of the best Presidents had legal training.

4. All five of the best Presidents had successful careers in the private sector.

Conclusion: After examining the lives and careers of what appear to be the “consensus pick” for the five best Presidents, it is clear that Barack Obama is not “too inexperienced” to become President. Like these five, Obama has legal training, has served in the state legislature, and has had a successful private sector career. True, he did not marry a wealthy woman, but looking solely at his career it looks as though he shares more experience in common with the most successful Presidents than does his rival, John McCain. Accordingly, this begs the question: who’s the real inexperienced candidate in this election?”





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65 responses to “What Kind of Experience Makes a Good President? by Karoleena

  1. Kathy

    Article related to the post from today’s Concord Monitor about McCain’s lack of judgment in his pick- and how it may work


  2. Bear

    Nice job Karoleena,

    I was half joking last night when I said I have McDonald’s management experience where I managed a lot more money that Palin did as mayor…not to mention that I was under a lot more pressure to insure nothing bad happened on a daily basis…I think I’m much more qualified that she is to be President….really…

  3. Chef Sheila

    Well done Karolenna and great find. I am sending the link to our blog to some friends. This is a great argument.

  4. Chef Sheila

    Bear good to see you here.

  5. Chef Sheila

    What has been a never ending frustration to me, is that no one I know really wants to see the simlilarity between Lincoln’s “Inexperience” and Obama’s. I mean its kind of special

  6. horsedooty

    Austin, Tx has more people living in the area than the state of Alaska.

  7. Karolenna

    This thread was actually something I sent Brian over a week ago before Sarah Palin even entered the picture. But, I still say that her experience is nothing compared to Barak Obama’s. After all, Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus has more management experience over about three times the population as she does in the entire state of Alaska. Include ALL the suburbs and he is far superior to her.

    McCain was merely pandering to “his base”, which was not “his base” before this election. Unfortunately, there are those who will fall for anything, especially when they won’t ever vote for a Democratic candidate who is superior.

  8. Chef Sheila

    You’re right K,

    The base is so frightened right now. They would take a 5 day old sirloin attached to a willow twig, as long as the willow twig did exactly as they said.

    Last night I nothing but, “Look at the Crown Princess’ New Clothes!” When we all know She has nothing on.

  9. dog's eye view

    Josh Marshall’s blogpost on Steve Schmidt interview with Katie Couric last night. I caught Schmidt in real time and it was jaw dropping. I was thinking “yea!” when he complained that journalists were raising questions about baby Trig’s paternity.

    Through the interview, Lindsey Graham lounged between the two of them, playing with his hands, and probably wishing he could be anywhere but. (He’d probably been questioned just before I switched channels; missed anything he had to say about the convention.)

    Excerpt from TPM:

    From an insider and longtime friend of the site …

    Either McCain’s vetting process was a complete sham. Or his press operation is the worst in modern presidential politics history. Or some unholy blend of both.

    Now look at this comment from McCain honcho Steve Schmidt to Katie Couric last night: “Members of this campaign went to off-the-record lunches with reporters today, and they were asked if she would do paternity tests to prove paternity for her last child. Smear after smear after smear, and it’s disgraceful and it’s wrong. And the American people are going to reject it overwhelmingly when they see her.”


  10. dnd

    Very interesting piece. Thanks.

    We all know that judgment arises from experience, but we all know people with lots of experience yet have poor judgment, and people with little experience and excellent judgment.

    I’m not quite sure what kind of experience prepares someone to be president, but I know for sure that without good judgment a president is doomed to fail.

    So I’m not sure what kind of judgment McCain was using in picking someone who lacks the qualifications to be president. And I’m not sure what kind of judgment Palin was using in accepting, knowing in her heart she lacks the necessary qualifications.

  11. dog's eye view

    The blog ate my post about Steve Schmidt CBS interview last night.

    Talking Points Memo has the item up; saw it in real time and it was some serious news that Schmidt and McCain staff are getting asked by journalists about DNA tests and baby paternity, etc.

  12. dnd

    I was watching the Rockies beat the Giants last night so I missed the Hollywood Celebrity and the Man Without a Party speak, so if anyone can fill me in, I’d appreciate it.

    ps. The Rockies may sweep the Giants tonight, so I miss Caribou Barbie too. Any objective analysis would be appreciated.

  13. dnd

    Schmidt and McCain are playing up the sexism angle to the hilt. As was predicted in my Sunday piece on why they picked Palin.

  14. dog's eye view

    Now mind you — the issue is not the Down baby; it’s judgment in late prenatal care and the odd fact that the pregnancy was so unapparent for so many months. Possible: probably? Probable — no clue. In this case, the issue is veracity. Alaska’s a small community, it appears, and protective of its own.

    A family is entitled to privacy. Period. But not entitled to putting out an untrue story, for whatever reason. Once it’s confirmed that the baby was born to Sarah — Trig was born to someone — the issue will be put to rest.

    I would put out medical records (redacted but informational) immediately to protect my daughter from aspersions cast by the media and political opponents.



  15. dog's eye view

    dnd: you just missed a lot of burping sounds from Thompson; I couldn’t watch it. Sounded like it was going to be 20 minutes on Viet Nam service … Lieberman made me sad for Connecticut Democrats. I appreciated his independence and was not a Lamont supporter at the time. No more. Not an honest broker.

    Bear had a great summary on TM. Hunting for it now.

  16. dog's eye view

    It wasn’t Bear. It was the great Dexter.

    those mics picked up every snort and sigh and throat-clearing and belch of both Thompson and Lieberman; it’s enough to put you off your food. …. X

    Posted by: Dexter | September 3, 2008 12:40 AM

  17. Chef Sheila

    Ok Dog,

    I released your post.

  18. Chef Sheila

    Chuck Todd is on for the Noon Hour. Palin is practising at the podium

    I am making Chicken soup….life is good!

  19. dog's eye view

    Here’s transcript of the CBS Couric i/view with Steve Schmidt and Lindsey Graham. I missed a good bit — Couric got after Graham for trying to say Palin had always opposed the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s about halfway down, beyond the photo of Brian Williams at 10 o clock hour.

    But the comment that struck me — from Schmidt — in a “how dumb does he think we are?” re the problems coming up about Palin — a 24 year old DUI and a teen pregnancy, when those are not material and at the bottom of the laundry list of Palin’s “issues”. Admit the minor and ignore the substantive.

    SCHMIDT: Well, let’s talk about what’s coming out. The fact that her husband had a DWI 24 years ago when he was 22 years old. Senator McCain thinks that’s nonsense, that’s not a disqualifier for a Vice President of the United States. We knew that her daughter was going to have a child. Senator McCain offered his love and support for their family. That doesn’t disqualify this exceptional leader, and the American people, I think, will angrily reject it. Today, Katie, I’ve been asked questions that are outrageous by the national media. I’ve been asked questions about when her amniotic fluid started to leak with regard to her last birth. I was asked whether we would make the genetic tests available because she had a Down’s Syndrome child. Members of this campaign went to off-the-record lunches with reporters today, and they were asked if she would do paternity tests to prove paternity for her last child. Smear after smear after smear, and it’s disgraceful, and it’s wrong, and the American people are going to reject it overwhelmingly when they see her tomorrow.


  20. dog's eye view

    Did GHWBush get a bounce from Quayle?

    Will be interesting to see the polls about 5 days from now.

    Palin may come across as warm and genuine. But so do many of our leading anchor-critters and none of them are on the GOP ticket (formally).

  21. dnd

    Correction: The Rockies play the Giants at 1pm MDT, so I guess I’ll be watching Caribou Barbie.

    I think it’s nice that she’s charming. I think it’s nice that she’s feisty. I think it’s nice that she’s a good shot. I really, really don’t care that she was pregnant when she was married, or baby-gate or Bristol or anything else to do with her personal life. What I object to is her stance on the issues, What I object to is her record, and the disingenuous account of her real record. And that she is particularly incurious about anything relevant to the office of the presidency or vice presidency.

  22. Chef Sheila


    I could never have voiced it as sucinctly as you just did.

    Can I borrow that? ;0) No never mind, I’m staying away from that for a while 🙂

  23. dnd

    Man, they really don’t want Cheney anywhere near the convention:


  24. Chef Sheila

    LOL 😆

  25. Steve (AH)

    Peggy Noonan Open Mike on MSNBC- Palin pick is “Bullshit” and “Its over”


  26. Steve (AH)

    Sheila or Biran- I have a great link please hit Spam release.

  27. Chef Sheila

    Steve, Done

  28. Steve (AH)

    Thanks Ninja Chef

  29. Steve (AH)

    BTW the open mike Noonan link above is a “must hear” at 1 and 1/2 minutes

  30. Chef Sheila

    Your welcome oh venerable Teacha!

  31. Chef Sheila

    Ooooh, my! That makes me happy to hear that! Thank Steve. I respect Noonan and its great to know she is still all there.

  32. Bear

    Great link…how are you kids doing?

  33. Chef Sheila

    We’re great Bear. Hows Texas and how’s your blood running on Tail mix?

  34. Chef Sheila

    …..lol…..That’s Trail Mix……..(covering mouth and giggles)

  35. Bear

    If there was some available tail I’d like it more…lol

    I’m doing OK…hungry for a good pastrami sandwich though…lol

  36. Steve (AH)

    Howdy Bear!

    The Noonan thing is a rare moment of honest about Palin from the GOP. She’s right too. It IS over.

  37. Chef Sheila

    Well….maybe not tail, but theres lost of PUMA anyway.

    I haven’t had a good pastromi since NYC. Hate to admit that because Brian will be tickled, but its true what they say about the Carnegie Deli…..YUM!

  38. Chef Sheila

    That’s LOTS of PUMA ;0)

  39. dnd

    Priceless. When Murphy and Noonan think is was a huge mistake, ya gotta pay attention.

  40. dnd

    Hey Bear,
    Good to see ya. How’s things?

  41. Chef Sheila

    Steve, I really respect Noonan. She is a gracious, intelligent, classic Republican from the Old School.

    She’s not one of THOSE.

  42. Steve (AH)

    Pretty dang interesting

  43. dnd

    Noonan is such an unctuous drama queen. I love her. I rarely agree with her, and sometimes she pisses me off, but I really admire how well she writes.

  44. dnd

    Borowitz weighs in:


    Well, at least she didn’t blame Edwards.

  45. Karolenna

    Hey Gang,

    How interesting catching up. I believe the Maverick will sometime during the campaign need to “eject” from the cockpit. Let’s hope this time he remembers to “tuck under”!

    Before I left for my appointment I heard (I think it was CNN if you can believe) say that Obama now has a 50% approval rating. Isn’t that up?

    CNN Intrade Market Prices for Ohio Election: McCain vs. Obama

    Obama 52; McCain 48. That’s in Ohio. Repug state.

  46. dog's eye view

    I love it, because Chuck Todd gives voice to what’s usually said by the “concerned woman voice” in negative advertising:

    Mike Murphy: They’re all bummed out.

    Chuck Todd: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

    Peggy Noonan: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this — excuse me– political bullshit about narratives —

    Transcript from Talking Points Memo site


    Somebody’s prayers got answered today.

  47. dnd

    Just a thought on passport-gate. She got one last year to travel to Kuwait to visit the troops.

    Colorado’s governors are always traveling abroad to drum up trade. I’m surprised Alaska’s is not so inclined.

  48. Karolenna

    “Somebody’s prayers got answered today.”

    Well, the Dobson guy’s prayers didn’t get answered, so I’d say our are just as beneficial as anyone else. Comprehende?

  49. dog's eye view

    I hate that Chuck Todd’s career might be in jeopardy for this slip,which proves he does analyze information well and knows what’s going on, even if the networks decline to share that with their viewers, because “objectivity” and “fairness to all sides, no matter how fake” trump “accuracy.”

  50. Chef Sheila

    What Slip?

  51. Karolenna

    Yes, what slip? C. Todd is the greatest. If he goes, MSNBC goes for me. Crap…there’s nothing else.

  52. Chef Sheila


    I wouldn’t go that far, but all the same, If Todd pulled a Shuster, he would apologise and take the consequences. They, NBC, would never get rid of Chuck Tood. He is actually a rare Gem.

  53. Chef Sheila

    Hmm…..Dog, if you mean the Open Mic. Chuck Todd is not responcible. Its the Sound Technician’s responsibility. Aside from a hand slap, nothing’s going to happen.

    But then, I’m sure you all ready know that. Did Chuck do something wrong on camera?

  54. Steve (AH)

    They would be totally idiots to get rid of Chuckles.

  55. Steve (AH)



    Shouldve read “total idiots”

  56. Chef Sheila

    …..:) Just thought you were talking like a Valley Girl.

  57. Karolenna

    “Democrats continue to hold a significant advantage over Republicans, 61% to 42%.”

    We must rid ourselves of the infidels like Bush, Cheney, and Rove. Let’s hope this doesn’t change.



  58. dnd

    Romney is disparaging the “eastern elites.” Huh?

  59. dnd

    Bristol is holding her brother Trig at 9pm CDT in a noisy arena. Trig seems to be resting nicely. Swell. But why would anyone subject an infant to an environment like this?

  60. dnd

    Tonight’s theme: family values. A serial adulterer supporting an adulterer introducing a evangelical who’s family hasn’t exactly stuck to their teachings.

    I love reality TV.

  61. dog's eye view

    Such contempt for their political opponents. DNC was not like this.

    This is polarization — we’re Red America — bring it on.

    Palin delivers a speech well; she’s livelier than that dreadful Gov. Ling who droned on and on.

    That does not a VP make

    Harry S Truman? Nope.

    John Rich performing Raising McCain — vigorous tune.

    Cowboy Troy. Check. Where’s Big? Missing in action….

  62. Bear

    People are masturbating to Palin in all 50 states…if they can get McCain dumped from the ticket, she wins in a breeze.

    Ironically the Clinton’s can only win the White House if they follow Obama. She will lose to Palin in 2012

    McCain will only serve on term, but won’t announce it until 2012. Hillary fucked herself big time by playing up the PUMA card…just another case of how incompetent her campaign management skills are…lol

  63. dog's eye view

    Bear: you can’t be serious? God help us.

    And great to see you here!

  64. chefsheila


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