Sunday, October 5, 2008

Obama’s Experience and McCain’s Skill Set

Saying that a person is “experienced” is only part of the equation. Saying that alone leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I have a friend that has been a plumber for 25 years. Nobody can snake shit out of a backed up drain better then he can. To be honest he is not the deepest thinker. He is pretty up front and straight forward in his demeanor. While I am glad to know him, and we have a great time watching sports, downing beers, and he is very insightful and many issues. I am glad to know if I have a blockage at 10 pm or when I am our of town away from my wife, that I can have him fix the problem. However, if I was getting audited by the IRS, I wouldn’t call him. If I were wrongly accused of bank robbery, I wouldn’t call him. If my brain was hemorrhaging I would not call him to do the operation. This is in spite all of his years of “experience”. So it can’t be just about a politician’s experience that matters. Oh and by the way, before he was a plumber he was a soldier. That experience doesn’t help him plumb or wouldn’t aid in any of the other listed tasks.

So if it isn’t simply experience, what else would make a good politician? Many have said, “McCain has been in Washington for a long time. He knows how it works.” But Washington is the job and not the task. For example, one of my occupational incarnations was as a draftsman. I can’t draw very well to be honest with you. However I was hired to replace a guy who had been at the company for 22 years. Why, because I was a computer draftsman. The other guy never learned to operate the computer drawing program. (Don’t feel too bad, he was also the architect and just had to do less work.) So while he was in the business for years, he didn’t have his finger on the skills needed to keep up the modern aspects of his business. Clients had begun to demand work be submitted in computer formatted files.

So just because you have been in a business for a long time doesn’t make you better at it. With the decline and end of the cold war, the rise of globalization, and the advent of the internet age the method and format Washington needs to has greatly changed. The fact that they haven’t changed their approach is why we are in the trouble we are in now.

Alright, if it isn’t just experience that makes a good politician, and there are thousands of people who have been in Washington for decades and they can’t get it right, what else is important? What made paying me to generate drawing a more beneficial then the old hand draftsman? The skill set is the most important part of the equation.

Ask yourself, “what is it that I want from my politician?” Many say I want them to “fight” for me. Well in case you are uniformed, they don’t hold cage matches on the Capital floor. By, fight you must mean argue for issues in your favor. So a president must be a persuasive speaker and a good debater. Some say they want a their representatives to make good decisions. Well behind every good decision which happens in a split second, come hours of research and sound logic. So what kind of person has a skill set where they learn to research topics their decisions and be a persuasive speaker in order to convince a group of people of their position? If you shouted out “a lawyer!!” you just passed the bar. That is why there are so many of them in Washington. A lawyer’s skill set is a natural fit to being a politician. Would it be nice to find somebody who was schooled in another discipline and had these other skill sets naturally? Sure, but that is a rarity, so we got to take what we can get.

One more thing before I conclude. You are probably thinking, but I also want an advocate for the issues that I believe in. That is what this whole blog is about. Many times our “common sense” view of the issues are not in par with the logic. What you have to come to terms with is that everybody in the political arena are Americans. It is the law. They have family and friends that have to live under the rules they create. Some are greedy, some are stupid, and some are stupid and greedy, but they are all acting in what they think is the best interest of their family and friends who make up America. When you vote on a single issue or a couple of issues and not the person, you are ignoring the fact that the person votes on all issues. Many of them you only don’t care about because they currently are acted upon favorably to your view. What happens when the person votes for something that changes that stance.

I think that the logic presented above seems conclusive. So who in this next election has the skill sets of a lawyer? Obama. If you have faith that this is the greatest country on earth and it is very much because of our civility and laws, then you must agree that one of the greatest law schools on earth is Harvard. Obama graduated top of his class from Harvard. McCain got average grades in the naval academy. Sure, he has been in Washington a long time. And we can see the results of the last 20 or 30 years of those rules and regulation. The skill sets of a soldier are not the one needed to fix a failing economy. And for god sakes the skill sets of a beauty pageant queen are certainly not. If you take these skills out of a politician, all you have left is a marketing ploy. Slogans, key phrases , and pretty smiles. You don’t have a person who can actually make the decision and persuade the juries.

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