Experience is a fascinating topic, given the Presidential election of 2008. This writer thinks it is reasonable to assume that none of the Founding Fathers had experience in Washington D. C. Some of our greatest Presidents had little experience, including Lincoln, T. R. Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson. Richard Nixon had a mere four years as a Representative when selected to run as Vice President (Nixon became a great master of foreign policy, with his failures totally in the political arena.) We should note that Ronald Reagan had no foreign policy experience when elected President. So what about experience in 2008.
Let’s back up a minute to the past eight years. President George W. Bush had little foreign policy experience – but comforted all of us the people with which he surrounded himself – people like Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfield, Colin Powell, and Condi Rice. None of us could have predicted September 11, 2001. It appears in retrospect that the vast experience of the current administration did little good. So much for experience.
Lincoln was chosen on the third ballot of the Republican convention of 1960. Teddy Roosevelt was nominated for Vice President because the Republican Party of that time wanted him out of the Governor’s Mansion in New York – he was not the darling of the Republicans. The Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the Presidency as a consequence of T. R. Roosevelt splitting the ticket with his Progressive Party challenge to the Republicans. Richard Nixon was chosen by Dwight D. Eisenhower because Nixon has become nationally known for his challenge to communism in house committees. Each of these men were unlikely to become President.
OK – back to 2008. Nine months ago this writer defended John McCain (Here). Sadly, Senator McCain has lost his moral bearing and has retreated to the safety of the religious right. His politics have become more important than his character. It is very clear that his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was another effort to pander to the fanatical right.
This writer has written about Governor Sarah Palin, even referring to her as an Unidentified Flying Object. That statement has been misconstrued by some of the fireside readers. We never said she was not a real flying saucer – only that she was so unknown as to be a gamble as Vice President. In subsequent posts we have felt great sympathy for her family as the national media has descended like vultures on a wounded moose. We feel she had no idea what was coming – else why would she have subjected her family and her small town to the barage of a frenzied media, fighting for scraps of meat in the baren tundra of Alaska. Governor Palin has a degree in journalism from Idaho State. By her own account, Sarah Palin has been in the PTA, a City Council member and Mayor of a town of 9,000, and Governor of Alaska for two years. Alaska is geographically the largest state, with a population smaller than that of Kansas City, Missouri.
So we are compelled to talk about Barack Obama. Senator Obama has a Jurist Doctorate from Harvard University. That is a plus for some – a minus for others. During an election education is in the eye of the beholder. Senator Obama was a “Community Organizer.” What do you suppose that is? Barack Obama worked on the streets in the South Side of Chicago to help steel workers who had been laid off because their jobs had been shipped to China. Obama worked to help tenants of Chicago slum lords – working tirelessly to raise people above substandard housing. Frustrated wtih the slow progress he entered the brass knuckle politics of Chicago. He won a seat in the Illinoi Senate in a district with a population 20 times as large as the population of Alaska. Obama rose quickly (even in a State Senate) to national prominence. Obama won his seat in the United States Senate in 2004. Senator Obama has never been a Governor. Actually, the usual pormotional path of State politicians is to hold a state wide office such as Governor, and then run for the Senate – the Senate is held in higher esteem. We live in Missouri, Governor Bond became Senator Bond – Governor Ashcroft became Senator Ashcroft. That is how it works, how it has always worked.
There is no comparison of the Brass Knuckle Politics of Chicago to the Mayberry politics of Alaska.