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It's not about experience.

If you honestly think the careers of Senator Obama and Governor Palin are comparable, or contrast well in Palin's favor, I think you're crazy, but that's beside the point. Why? Because experience doesn't mean you'll do a good job. Because supposed lack of experience doesn't mean you'll do a poor job. Because being the President of the United States isn't quite like any other job in America.

Former Presidents and Governors Carter and Clinton have both expressed the opinion that nothing can really prepare a person for the top executive position in American government. Though they have been expressing this sentiment of late, either to cast aspersions of doubt on Obama or (alternately) to deride the claim that McCain's seniority in Washington better prepares him for the job, I seem to recall hearing much the same from them in years previous, as little more than honest reflection. Whether you trust their judgement on this or not, it is arguable, both showed in their early days at the highest office that being a governor really doesn't do much to get you ready to be POTUS, although Clinton recovered where Carter foundered. And many would point out that George W. Bush, who went from being governor of Texas to the White House, has further exhibited that previous executive experience in elected office doesn't always count for much.

We can also look to the arguments being rallied against McCain, as being wrongheaded on much foreign policy and clueless on many domestic matters, or Biden, as having never learned the diplomatic discipline of decorum or 'knowing when to keep his mouth shut', despite all their years as Senators.

So, if it's not about experience, what is it about? Perhaps judgement; leadership; character; the ability to listen to advisers of different bents, come to one's own, sound conclusions, and then make sure those decisions are carried out properly.

The longer a candidate has been around, the more a candidate has done in the public eye, the greater our material from which we can judge whether one has these abilities or others we hold important. It makes sense that we should shy away from the unknown. This, not questions of experience, is the essence of the, "You're gambling on Obama," or, "I wouldn't trust Palin," arguments; the idea that we don't know them well enough. And that's a matter of judgement on your part.

I've seen both Obama and McCain make much the same point, in levying the argument that one is ready to lead due to his proven judgement, while the other has a less than desirable track record when it comes to what he has or hasn't supported. They do the same in debating who is offering the right sort of change, the right policies, and so forth. That they can (and sometimes, if rarely, do) have substantive debates on these issues shows that each man has enough of a record for folks who pay attention to know who they should vote for.

So, here's my question to you:

What do you know about Sarah Palin's judgement?


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