Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Executive Experience

Is it possible we're over-lauding the idea of "executive experience?" The last couple of days we've heard over and over how Sarah Pallin has executive experience from being a mayor and the Governor of Alaska. Does it really matter though? The West Wing, my primer on all things political, would seem to suggest that the real executive skill needs to be seated in the Chief of Staff's office rather than in the Oval Office. Are we to now start doubting Professor Aaron Sorkin?

A recent President, one I try every day to forget, had vast executive experience. He'd been the Governor of a state, and the CEO of a baseball team. While he was running they called him the "MBA Candidate" or the "CEO President." His VP has had a vast amount of executive experience as well. Probably by most measures, if executive experience is the best qualifying gauge, it's possible that Bush/Cheney was the single most qualified ticket in the history of the Presidency.

"Are you better off now than you were eight years ago?"

By the testimony we hear through the media and investigations the current administration is the most corporately run ever. The idea of the "unitary executive" is a guiding principal of their organizational structure. Dick Cheney has spent the entire administration pooling power within the VP office in a way we've never seen before. Clearly these guys are tremendous executives. Their government though is craptacular.

Perhaps after eight years of executive influence what we need for the White House is a President who is more of a coalition builder and less of a shot caller, maybe the very best thing for us would be more of a compromiser and less of a, well, of a... dictator.

I think we need to be careful not to equate "vision" and "drive" or "purpose" with "executive." It is possible to go great places without the route being my way or the highway.

I'm an independent voter, and had I been a Democratic voter I would have likely been a Hilary voter (good golly am I glad I was spared that PA Democratic primary) which means I am now a "sought after" vote in a "battleground" state. Here's my message for both camps: I've had just about my fill of the whole "executive experience" thing. Instead, please show me the way out of this dark hole we're in.

It shouldn't take much of an exec to facilitate our escape once we know the route.

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