Monday, September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin, part 3: More experienced than Obama?

As Republican spokespeople have tried to defend the choice of Sarah Palin, one thing they've said is that she has more experience than Barack Obama, at least more executive experience.

Let's consider for a moment. Yes, she's had more experience than either McCain or Obama as an elected official with an executive position (mayor and governor). As noted previously, her experience as governor has been very brief: just over a year and a half.

But if executive experience is broadened to include administrative experience in general, then both McCain and Obama can claim some. Both have administered their senate staffs. Both have headed national campaigns. Obama's in particular has been wonderfully effective, bringing in and making use of a great amount of funds, overseeing the work of something like 2500 employees, and also drawing on tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of volunteers.

Also, though some have made light of Obama's work as a community organizer, they really shouldn't--their remarks betray either ignorance or deliberate distortion. Doing significant community work in the South Side of Chicago, dealing with unemployment and housing issues, working with government officials--and more than all of that, getting things done: these are no small thing.

The reality is that Obama has had lots more experience in the public sector and at various levels of government than Palin. He's also had a good deal more international experience, not only having deep connections with Indonesia and Kenya, but having met with leaders of nations around the world and dealt with important international issues (nuclear proliferation and others) for a good number of years now.

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