August 30, 2008


Obama: 'I feel confident about my choice' (Ben Smith, 8/31/08, Politico)

Asked at a press conference Saturday night to respond to McCain's argument that Palin has more executive experience than the Democratic ticket, Obama and Biden laughed. [...][

"I feel confident about my choice."

The office that Barrack Obama is seeking is President of the United States, which is described as follows:

United States Constitution: Article II

Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.

So, when we arrive at the question of whether he has sufficient relevant experience to quiet our doubts we would simply ask: of what institutions, corporations, organizations, polities, etc. has he been the chief executive, the ultimate decision-making authority?

Our answer is: The Harvard Law Review, if we choose to count it as significant.

The truth of the matter is that many Senators are lifelong legislators, rather than past executives, and that's why we rarely elect them president. Not to mention that the legislators we have elected (and those who were primarily creatures of the legislature--like LBJ, despite his vp experience) have been such disasters. The sole exception may be Abraham Lincoln, but they aren't growing the Great Emancipator on trees.

The best presidents have been men with experience as governors (with a couple generals thrown in): Washington, Polk, FDR, Ike, Reagan, Clinton, and W, for example.

There are, in the Senate today, a few former governors who would certainly be considered to have the requisite experience, temperament and judgment to be good presidents: Evan Bayh & Lamar Alexander come to mind most readily.

It just so happens that Barrack Obama and Joe Biden are not two of those so qualified and that John McCain's main exercise of executive authority came in the military, where he was, of course, subordinate to others.

Indeed, if we look at the two tickets and ask which of the 4 persons thereon is most qualified the unavoidable answer is the Governor of Alaska, and former mayor, Sarah Palin.

There are plenty of reasons to favor or disfavor each of these four people--their politics, their personality, their values, etc.--but if the sole criteria by which we were judging them was their Constitutional qualification, then it is obviously the executive who is best suited to be Executive.

Palin Has Long Experience: Dealing With Big Oil in Home State (RUSSELL GOLD, August 30, 2008, Wall Street Journal)

As the politics of energy engulf the presidential contest, Sen. John McCain has picked as his running mate a politician with firsthand experience of the industry and its tactics.

Since becoming Alaska's governor in 2006, Sarah Palin has pushed oil companies to move faster with projects to expand oil and gas production. She is widely credited with reviving a long-stalled effort to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska's Prudhoe Bay energy fields to the Lower 48 states.

In a state that is dependent for its operating revenue on taxes and energy royalties paid by oil companies, she has negotiated with the state's big producers, Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and ConocoPhillips.

"Sarah Palin is pro-development and is supportive of oil and gas development in an environmentally conscious way, but she is very tough on the companies. She doesn't think that when the state of Alaska leases oil and gas to big oil, it means big oil gets to call all the shots," says Drue Pearce, an appointee of President George W. Bush who directs the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects.

Palin Fought for Reform in Alaska (FRED BARNES, August 30, 2008, Wall Street Journal)
She has no experience in foreign or national-security policy -- unlike Joe Biden, the veteran Democrat she'll face in the nationally televised vice presidential debate in October. But she's an expert on one of this year's biggest issues -- energy.

Because Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has relatively little experience in national affairs, the bar has been lowered this year for national candidates. This helps Mrs. Palin. As a governor, she has more executive experience than Mr. Obama. [...]

Mrs. Palin is no feminist. Instead, she appeals to almost every conceivable grouping of conservatives. She's pro-life on abortion, pro-gun (she hunts), pro-drilling for oil (including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), and is as hawkish about cutting government spending as Mr. McCain himself. She's also an evangelical Christian.

A rule of thumb in politics is that you win more votes by energizing your base than by persuading undecided voters. Mr. McCain's strength is wooing undecided independents, moderates and soft Democrats. He's weaker with conservatives. He often seems inclined to ignore them. Now he has a running mate who can take up the slack.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 30, 2008 8:24 PM
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