PermaLinkExperiment Canceled
10:01:20 PM

About six weeks ago, shortly after Senator McCain named Governor Palin as his running mate, I proposed an experiment. The idea was to use social software to engage in a structured discussion on the subject of whether executive experience matters. I planned to first provide a proposed structure for the discussion revolving around a series of scales for measuring different factors that contribute to types of experience that might (or might not) be important qualifications for the President and Vice President, and also a series of scales for measuring different factors that define how successful a President is in office. After a comment period on the structure itself, and some adjustments as per the wise suggestions of readers, I then intended to start digging through reliable sources with good biographical information of the last ten or so Presidents, compile my own scores for each of them on the various scales -- and give my specific justifications. Then the ideas was to open it up again for discussion and make adjustments as per the consensus of wise readers (which I'm possibly unrealistically optimistic about achieving ). After all the numbers were in, a consensus on relevance of executive experience should be apparent.


Admittedly, this would have not been a rigorously scientific (or even rigorously social scientific) study, but it could at least have been fun. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to start it and do a half-assed job, so I put it off until I could find the time to really do a good job on it. That time never came. :Liife and work have not really let up much, and I have been doing increasing amounts of volunteer campaign work -- to the point that I'm now putting in time 2 or 3 weekday evenings and one weekend day every week at the local Obama-Biden office, and I've also taken two days off to volunteer at campaign events. I was there tonight phone-banking, and my contacts to previously undecided voters went 9 to 1 in favor of Senator Obama, by far the widest margin I've seen so far. As good as that happened to feel, however, I take nothing at all for granted. Until November 5th, campaign work is the highest priority I've got for my disecretionary time. I've scheduled vacation days at work on election day and the day before, in order to put in full days volunteering.


Anyhow, even though I never got the experiment off the ground, that doesn't mean I haven't spent a good deal of time thinking about the question of whether executive experience matters. I certainly do have my own feeling about the subject, and I've come to my own conclusion, which is that there are certainly many types of experience that do matter and it is probably possible to rigorously categorize them and correlate some of them (probably weakly) to Presidential success, but "executive experience" is a very loose term that isn't going to map consistently to any specific subset of these categories of experience.... So the question of executive experience is IMHO invalid, and a much wider question about many different types of experience is really the valid one.

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Comments :v

1. Ian Randall10/23/2008 01:03:03 AM


Election campaign performance aside, from an outsiders perspective, both candidates seems to me to have good executive experience, as well as strong leadership qualities and politics aside, America would be well served by either candidate.

Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but in my humble opinion, Senator Obama counts youth, charisma and integrity as his main strenghs, and from an international perspective, we have not seen that combination of qualities in a US Leader since the Kennedy era.




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