About This Experience Thing
OK, this was the post that I was originally going to write before the baby news hit yesterday. In the interest of posting more about political issues of substance, I am going to post it now and not wait until tomorrow. So that will save you from two straight days of political posts at least.
I will say that the whole "Palin has just as much experience as Obama" thing is wearing a little thin. If folks really can not see the difference between the two (I talk about this a little here) than I really worry for this country.
For folks who are still not sure and want to get a better idea of how Obama is about managing and running things, check out Executive Experience which has links to fascinating articles on how the campaign is run and gives great insight into Obama's management philosophy and style. And More on Executive Experience explains how the "no experience" comparison of Obama and Palin just does not hold water.
I especially found this Rolling Stone article, Obama's Brain Trust, a look at how Obama picked his team and grew his campaign, to be fascinating and revealing:
By marrying online technology to grass-roots activism, Obama's brain trust mobilized 1.5 million donors, raised more than $250 million, derailed the Clinton juggernaut and built something new in Democratic politics. "The size and scale and sophistication of the Obama enterprise — it's like a multinational corporation compared to the mom-and-pop nonprofits of previous Democratic campaigns," says Simon Rosenberg, president of the progressive think tank NDN and a veteran of Bill Clinton's 1992 run. "And it isn't just bigger — it's a better model, it's more democratic, it taps into the power and passion of everyday people."
So he has rethought the whole campaign process and made it better and more effective and encouraged more involvement. Pretty cool.
Everything I have seen about McCain's approach to things (especially how he went about picking Sarah Palin) just strikes me as risky. Whereas everything that I have seen about Obama talks about how well thought out and deliberative he is. I don't know about you, but with the stakes as high as they are (especially in the foreign policy arena) I don't want someone who is going to gamble with our future.
As an executive, Obama does not have an impulsive leadership style. When he's running a meeting, Jarrett says, he does more listening than talking, asking questions and taking the temperature of everyone in the room. "Regardless of where you fall in the hierarchy, he listens to you as though you are the campaign manager. He focuses, he prods, he pushes, to make sure that he fully understands your position. That sets an important tone as well: When you go into a meeting expecting to learn and not dictate, it fosters camaraderie."
So Obama has a great talent for surrounding himself with talented people and actually listening to what they say. Sounds like a great trait to have in a president.
This Rolling Stone article about Obama's field operations, The Machinery of Hope, was equally revealing.
In recent weeks, however, the campaign has granted Rolling Stone rare access to its top strategists and organizers, who discussed in detail the mechanics of Obama's meteoric ascendancy. According to David Axelrod, the campaign's chief strategist, the bottom-up ethos of the campaign comes straight from the top. "When we started this race, Barack told us that he wanted the campaign to be a vehicle for involving people and giving them a stake in the kind of organizing he believed in," Axelrod says. "He is still the same guy who came to Chicago as a community organizer twenty-three years ago. The idea that we can organize together and improve our country — I mean, he really believes that."
That is what really has me sold. I honestly believe that Obama does believe in what he is doing. Yes, I know he is a politician and no, I don't think that everything he does is or will be perfect (I have already disagreed with his vote on the telecommunications amnesty bill). But what I do believe is that he will be thoughtful and deliberative about his decisions. And he will seek out a variety of opinions and make the best decision he can for the direction of the country. And really, can we ask much more from our politicians?
I really liked how Obama handled this interview on 60 Minutes, being able to steer the conversation away from petty little things such as whether he liked beer and back to the issues. And the more and more I see of Obama and Biden together, the more I really think they make an awesome team:
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Updated to add:
And here are more articles to consider when comparing Obama and McCain "experience":
Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting ProcessBut Obama was seeking a running mate with whom he would be comfortable governing for four or eight years, a bit of advice Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had given him."I get the sense that he was quite serious about thinking through about the nature of who his partner will be there and, I think, the role of the vice president as a future partner in government," said David Wilhelm, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who worked on Biden's 1988 presidential campaign and is close to Obama."I think it's easy to give that sort of thing short shrift," he added, "so 'what kind of partner I'm getting' mattered quite a bit."
Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin’s background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice. The campaign was still calling Republican operatives as late as Sunday night asking them to go to Alaska to deal with the unexpected candidacy of Ms. Palin.
“They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge.”