Thursday, September 4, 2008

Where's the Beef in 2008?

Experience has become an important issue in this campaign. The McCain and Obama camps are arguing back and forth over who is the most critically deficient in this regard, Obama or Palin. Does a small town mayor beat a community organizer or does it count for nothing?

We find ourselves in this odd situation because of Barack Obama's self-propelled meteoric rise to the nomination. He has hurried through various vocations and levels of public authority, never settling long enough to accomplish anything significant. Given that he had barely warmed his seat in the U.S. Senate before declaring himself a candidate for the White House, there is a sense in which he went straight from state senator to running for President. For Obama, the Senate was a launching pad, not a task to be completed before moving on. So he is presenting himself to the nation young and unaccomplished, but very charming.

Obama has picked the fruit of his own potential before it is ripe. He should have served at least a full term in the Senate, and perhaps even served as Governor of his state, and only then sought the highest office in his mid to late fifties.

In response, John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. She too is only in her first term in high office. The difference, of course, is that she has great accomplishments. Nonetheless, the fruit of her potential is, like Obama's, not yet ripe. And she's only 44!

Furthermore, weren't people seriously considering Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana for McCain's number two, whether inside the McCain circle or just outside? He is also in his first term as Governor and he is only 37.

I raise these points not to discount the possibility that any one of these people might, in the event of unforeseen circumstances, serve at least as well as...say...Jimmy Carter. I am only pointing out that this is a strange conclusion to a primary season that has been strange from the beginning. Why this youth and inexperience on both sides of the contest at one level or another? Is it simply that Obama has lurched ahead of himself and drawn the Republicans to select a running mate who is competitively young and novel? Is it that after 20 years of two families dominating the two parties, we are seeing a reaction in favor of obscurity? That theory is especially plausible on the Democratic side where the Clintons threatened to return for another eight years.

Regardless of how we got here, here we are, and we have to weigh these tickets and make our choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Obama has picked the fruit of his own potential before it is ripe."

David, this is the phrase I have been reaching for--well put! I too would have preferred to have had Palin mature in office a bit longer, and Jindal I thought was always right out, even though I doubt he would have accepted and an offer, but I have no doubt she is ready to go right now. As for Obama, I think he will have reason to regret his untimely entrance onto the stage. In any event he's only a vessel for the wing of the party that could not stomach another Clinton administration. If he loses this, he's finished.