Will any presidential candidate be ready on “Day One”?

An interesting article by the same title from USA TODAY explores the notion that perhaps none of the candidates running actually have executive experience. Here’s an excerpt:

WASHINGTON — Ready, or not?

Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain all boast about their preparation and credentials for the Oval Office — and their ability to, as Clinton has called it, be “ready on Day One to solve our problems.”

In South Texas last week, the New York senator urged voters “to think who you want to have in the White House answering the phone at 3 o’clock in the morning when some crisis breaks out somewhere in the world.” McCain said in Columbus, “I’m not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced.”

And Obama said in Austin that his “cumulative experience,” including as a community organizer in Chicago, “is the reason that I have the capacity to bring people together” and lead the nation.

Maybe so, but the three leading contenders for president have less executive grounding than anyone elected to the White House in nearly a half-century. Each candidate has scored impressive achievements in life, but none has run a city or state, a small business or large corporation — or any bureaucracy larger than their Senate staffs and campaign teams.

It’s true, none of them have run anything in an executive position. Therefore, is the issue of “experience” even reasonable issue to discuss considering the candidates we have? Has this campaign become more of a popularity contest or simply a personality contest among the candidates?

Basically, if it’s not experience, is this what people are deciding on:

Barack Obama – Amazing speaker, captivating with his message of hope, change, and togetherness. Has an amazing life story and would be the first African-American Democratic nominee. Capturing the youth voters.

Hillary Clinton – Is very well known, has “White House experience” and knows how the system works. She’d be the first woman nominated by the Democratic Party. Has the “Clinton appeal” to the Democratic base.

John McCain – Is running on his time in the military playing the “war hero” card. Has a lot of support in that respect considering we’re currently in a war. Appeals to independents and moderate Democrats as the “maverick” leader.

So we have a charismatic speaker, a well-known senator and former first lady, and a candidate running on his “war hero” record. I don’t mean to take anything way from any of them but I think, in a lot of people’s minds, that may be what it boils down to. We’re voting on personality and likability, not actual executive experience. If that was the case, Bill Richardson would be the Democratic nominee and Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee.

Another excerpt from the article:

The crux of Clinton’s campaign against Obama for the Democratic nomination centers on whether the 46-year-old, first-term senator from Illinois is ready to be president. In recent days, McCain, 71, has taken a similar line, calling Obama “dangerously naive.”

The debate is sure to continue into the fall over what experience is essential before taking on the job of managing the government, negotiating with Congress, commanding the armed forces, mobilizing public support at home and responding to crises abroad.

What sort of president would each contender be on Day One? And how are voters supposed to figure that out?

Since this campaign can’t possibly be about executive experience, I think examining their records and positions on the issues of the past is probably the only way to glean some insight into their future leadership styles should they be elected.

  • Bob

    I notice that your website doesn’t have much about Huckabee. It doesn’t surprise me because none of the media really talks much about him and most of the time when they do, it’s making fun of him for the mathematical impossibility. But still, you have Romney’s picture showing more than Huckabee’s in your flash pictures yet Romney dropped out. You bring up executive experience and talk about Romney when he was only a governor for 4 years.

    I bring Huckabee up because he has more executive experience running a government than anyone that has run for president in the 2007-2008 race. (10 1/2 years as governor). It’s still possible for him to get a brokered convention, but the less websites and blogs talk about the issues and all the perspectives, the worse off we as a country will be.

    Until both the Democratic and Republican candidates get the required # of delegates for the nomination, it’s still open.

  • nzpudding

    Has there ever been a candidate in history that was ready on day one? I don’t think so.

    If Hillary became President, the only thing that was ready on day one would be a fully stocked cocktail cabinet and a fresh box of cigars.

  • Bob, images of Romney in the advertisements are put there by the advertisers, someone should tell them he’s dropped out, I don’t have control over that.

    However, I agree Huckabee isn’t talked about much. I did run the video of him on Saturday Night Live the other day, it was pretty good.

    The fact is though that it’s no longer possible for Huckabee to be the nominee. He could win every single contest that’s left but it would still leave him short by a couple hundred delegates.

    I will make it a point to try not to exclude Huckabee until McCain gets the 1,191 delegates.

  • Stalin


    I like Huckabee and would vote for him over McCain anyday. However, it is looking like Huck is just having fun doing the talk shows at this point. While that may be fine for him, he needs to step aside for a couple of reasons. People that continue to send money to Huck could be sending that money to McCain in order to help him defeat the larger threat that is Obama. It also distracts McCain from looking forward to the general election which will be a very difficult fight.

  • Bob

    Yes I know that Huckabee can no longer win the nomination outright. The media and many people have thought that Huckabee’s goal has been to ignore the math and try and win the nomination outright. On the contrary, his goals now are to 1) prevent McCain from getting to 1,191 delegates. If he does that then he may have a shot since he has won the red states while mccain has won the blue states and the brokered convetion would release all delegates to vote. Maybe that trend will continue and Huckabee will get his chance…maybe not. Either way, it’s not a complete gimme that McCain will reach 1,191. 2) Huckabee can keep the conversation going on topics that are important to conservatives, thus preventing McCain from running too far to the middle or to even the left. I also think that keeping the conversation going is a reason for Ron Paul to stay in. I wish CNN had not cancelled the republican debate on 2/28.

    Anyway, I appreciate you letting me know that it is the advertisers that put the flash pictures up. I should have known.

    Despite what others have said about you in other posts, I think you have a very unbiased and informative website. I’ve enjoyed looking at it every week since last fall.

  • nzpudding

    Huckabee could still win the nomination if it’s found out that McCain has a ‘wide stance’ in public toilets, failing that or some other such earth shattering scandal, McCain is the GOP nominee.

    To comment on Stalin, you presume that those who send money to Huckabee would automatically send money to McCain if Huckabee dropped out, I don’t think they would.

  • Stalin


    I don’t think that a brokered convention would be a very good outcome for the Republican Party. The sooner we get behind one candidate the better. Believe me, I wish it was Huckabee, but’s it’s just not in the cards. Perhaps Huckabee can do what Romney has done and put his campaign “on hold”. A lot can happen before the convention.


    No, I don’t presume that every single Huckabee supporter would redirect their funds, but some would.

  • Jay Em

    Again I say, if Huckabee had some debates without Romney taking all the media shots, he would have made some progress for deligates.
    But the media obviously does not want him to win, so the media avoids talking about him.
    I believe in Huckabee and no one else really.
    I am proud to send him money even though he is a long shot.
    But if he is no longer a candidate then my money stays in my pockets until I find the next Fairtax supporter.
    I for one hate to waste money on lousy politicians that have no interest but their own.
    For example 25 years in the senate, do you really think McCain is after your best interests?
    He is now so far removed from the ordinary citizen. As are those two democrats.
    Remember truth and common sense does not really work in these U.S. elections.
    Popularity and good looks with the help of the media does work however.
    Sio why are we here talking some sense into this, we are wasting our time.
    One of these three idiots is going to be our president and there is nothing you can do about it.

  • These are the worst Three Presidental Candidates that have been floated as of late.
    I think Regan was a complete success on his first day in office. Having the Iranian Hostages release the day he enters into office showed the fear and intimidation Iran felt as Regan entered office. It also showed how weak Jimmy Carters administration really was.

  • Stalin


    Yes, it is a depressing election cycle for Reagan Conservatives. I hope that McCain is smart enough to select a decent VP to cheer for.

  • Carrie

    McCain will be lucky to get my vote!!!!!!! He won’t be getting my dollars!!!!!!!! I think its bull that everyone has to get behind the nominee that the media and GOP has picked for us.
    GO Huckabee! Take it to the convention!

  • Carrie, If Huckabee’s on the ballad I’ll vote for him.