Will Obama’s experience hurt in the general? It’s been his achilles heel so far in the primary race, (though to some, it might be the reason they are voting for him). We’ve all known about Hillary forever, for me, since I was nine. John Edwards was once the next Vice President of the United States. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd are stalwarts of the Senate, and I haven’t even mentioned the candidate with the most impressive resume, Bill Richardson. Compared to his opposition, perhaps Obama is inexperienced.

But will this matter in the general? Let’s take a look at Obama’s experience versus that of five Republicans. I am excluding Fred Thompson because, well, do you actually think Fred can win? And I’m throwing in Ron Paul for shits and giggles, and cause I still think he has a chance. I’ll define experience in four ways – legislative, executive, political, and foreign policy. I will also pro-rate this up to election day 2008. Numbers signify years of experience.

Crossposted at Daily Kos and OneMillionStrong.US

Barack Obama
Legislative: 12 (4 US Senate, 8 Illinois legislature)
Executive: 0
Political: 3 (Community Organizer)
Foreign Policy: 4 (US Senate Foreign Relations Committee)
Extra Credit: Professor of Constitutional Law at University of Chicago, Editor of the Harvard Law Review

Mike Huckabee
Legislative: 0
Executive: 10 (Governor of Arkansas)
Political: 3 (Lietenent Governor of Arkansas)
Foreign Policy: 0
Extra Credit: President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Ordained minister.

Mitt Romney
Legislative: 0
Executive: 4 (Governor of Mass)
Political: 1 (Salt Lake City Olympics CEO)
Foreign Policy: 0
Extra Credit: Successful businessman. Former bishop.

Rudy Guiliani
Legislative: 0
Executive: 8 (Mayor of NYC)
Political: 12 (US Attorney (2X) and Associate Attorney General)
Foreign Policy: 0
Extra Credit: 9/11. Once was a law clerk? Has ruled the lecture circuit since leaving Mayoral post.

John McCain
Legislative: 26 (4 Congressional, 22 US Senate)
Executive: 0
Foreign Policy: 0 (Not a member of any Foreign Relations related committees!)
Political: 4 (Navy Liason to the US Senate)
Extra Credit: Served bravely in Vietnam, spent five years in a POW camp.

Ron Paul
Legislative: 18 (US Re 3X)
Executive: 0
Foreign Policy: 6 (House Foreign Relations Committee)
Political: 0
Extra Credit: OB/GYN, delivered many babies. Even when he was a Congressman.

Conclusion

Only one Republican candidate for President can claim truthfully to be more experienced than Barack Obama, and he, in my opinion, is the least likely of any candidate on this page to win. John McCain will not be the Republican nominee for President, and even if he is, I doubt he could use experience to beat Barack. More likely, people will worry about his age, at 73 he would be the oldest first term President ever.

As for everyone else, Barack Obama more or as much legislative, and except for Ron Paul, more foreign policy experience. He has been in the public sphere as long as, or longer, than any candidate except for John McCain and Rudy Guiliani.

Compared to the Republicans running for President (a truly weak field) Barack Obama is experienced, fresh, and electable. No Republican will be able to effectively use experience as an issue against Barack. He can beat the Republicans in November, and he can beat them decisively. Experience will not be an issue in Fall 2008 with Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President.

Sources: Wikipedia and candidate websites.

Keep up with Nithin's work

Sign up for my mailing list today to get monthly updates on my most recent articles, projects, and upcoming travels. I'll also share my top stories on undercovered global issues.

You're in! Check your email to confirm.