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.