One of the themes of the McCain campaign, and the general Republican campaign this year, has been Barack Obama’s so-called inexperience. It’s such a big issue, in fact, that Obama addressed it directly in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. It is, in fact, one of McCain’s primary anti-Obama themes. McCain’s followers, in turn, have latched on to this, and I have seen and heard a lot of talk about Obama’s inexperience, and how voters are “worried” that he’s not up to the job.
But is it fair? Is it reasonable? Is it true?
No, it’s not fair. No, it’s not reasonable. No, it’s not true. In fact, it’s a hypocritical lie.
For starters, there is not a Bush Republican in this country who is in a position to pull the inexperience card on Obama. Regardless of Obama’s background, the Republicans voted George W. Bush to the presidency with practically no experience at all. He had been governor of Texas for 5 years when he was elected president. That’s it. He’d been a businessman before that (and, by all accounts, not a very good one). He did not have one iota of political experience in the federal government.
So regardless of Obama’s experience, any Republican discrediting Obama for lack of experience is already a hypocrite.
But is Obama, in fact, inexperienced?
Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, and began his term shortly thereafter. As such, he has about 4 years of experience in Washington politics. Prior to that, Obama had served for seven years in the Illinois state senate, having been elected in 1997. That adds up to 11 years of political experience overall, including 4 years of experience in Washington.
Does 11 years of governing experience, at both the state and federal level, really qualify as “inexperienced”?
Of course not. It’s nothing more than a hypocritical lie. It’s hypocritical because the same Republicans who are attaching this moniker to Obama had no trouble voting for a far less experienced Bush; and it’s a lie because, in fact, Obama has a perfectly reasonable amount of political experience.
In my opinion, this election comes down to one primary thing, and it’s not about whether Obama has enough experience. It’s about choosing to vote for someone who is fresh, new, and committed to positive change, or choosing to vote for someone who is old, institutionalized, and committed to staying the course of the last 8 years.