Experience and the presidency

Suppose you had to choose between two Presidential candidates, one of whom had spent 20 years in Congress plus had considerable other relevant experience and the other of whom had about half a dozen years in the Illinois state legislature and 2 years in Congress. Which one do you think would make a better President? If you chose #1, congratulations, you picked James Buchanan over Abraham Lincoln. Your pick disagrees with that of most historians, who see Lincoln as the greatest President ever and Buchanan as the second worst ever, better only than Warren “Teapot Dome” Harding.

from here.

Lots of interesting data and tables and graphs: looks like experience means very, very little when looking at presidential success.

14 thoughts on “Experience and the presidency

  1. Sam

    anon @ 3:59:It’s pretty hard to get people’s attention without catch-phrases these days, but it’s not like Obama’s doesn’t have clearly defined stances on issues, which you can find easily enough if you care to look for them–there’s plenty on his website (which is worth a look even if you don’t care, it’s one of the nicer looking and more functional sites I’ve seen in a while).anon @ 4:06:Why is it wrong to say that experience doesn’t matter for a job like this? Why does character matter? Bill Clinton had by most accounts a successful term in office.

  2. Sam

    anon @ 3:59:
    It’s pretty hard to get people’s attention without catch-phrases these days, but it’s not like Obama’s doesn’t have clearly defined stances on issues, which you can find easily enough if you care to look for them–there’s plenty on his website (which is worth a look even if you don’t care, it’s one of the nicer looking and more functional sites I’ve seen in a while).

    anon @ 4:06:
    Why is it wrong to say that experience doesn’t matter for a job like this? Why does character matter? Bill Clinton had by most accounts a successful term in office.

  3. Anonymous

    “Experience means little”Right, and when Bill Clinton ran all his apologists were saying character doesn’t matter. Guess what? They were wrong too.

  4. Anonymous

    “Experience means little”

    Right, and when Bill Clinton ran all his apologists were saying character doesn’t matter.

    Guess what? They were wrong too.

  5. Anonymous

    Lincoln, unlike either Obama, McCain, or Hillary had a very successful extended career in the private sector (Hillary only got her job at the Rose law firm after her hubby was elected Ark Gov and she worked on a lot of portfolios directly related to lobbying interests of the firm with the state of Ark – no conflict of interest there and how dare you question me on it!) . Also compare the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglas debates or any speech Lincoln gave while president. When he spoke there was substance, not catch phrases.And for those who say experience means little, that music to the ears of Putin, Ahmijhad, etc

  6. Anonymous

    Lincoln, unlike either Obama, McCain, or Hillary had a very successful extended career in the private sector (Hillary only got her job at the Rose law firm after her hubby was elected Ark Gov and she worked on a lot of portfolios directly related to lobbying interests of the firm with the state of Ark – no conflict of interest there and how dare you question me on it!) .

    Also compare the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglas debates or any speech Lincoln gave while president. When he spoke there was substance, not catch phrases.

    And for those who say experience means little, that music to the ears of Putin, Ahmijhad, etc

  7. Anonymous

    you’re a dumbass. a vote for obama is like a vote for jfk, not lincoln. he can’t have both.

  8. Anonymous

    you’re a dumbass. a vote for obama is like a vote for jfk, not lincoln. he can’t have both.

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