The Lonely Centrist

A place for reasoned debate about the issues of the day.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Prime Minister Obama?

Here is a worthwhile column on Barack Obama's lack of experience, highlighted by his recent uninformed comments on the "president" of Canada (hint - Canada doesn't have a President, it has a Prime Minister). I don't like picking on such minor details, and we shouldn't expect a person to speak perfectly at every moment. Yet in this case, I think there is something to consider, summed up in this quote from the article:
A reference to the "president of Canada" is more than a memory lapse. It is a mistake that reminds us that Obama has never met a Canadian prime minister --indeed, that he has barely ever dealt with U.S.-Canadian issues, notwithstanding that his state of Illinois borders on the Great Lakes and that Canada is Illinois' most important foreign trading partner.

That lacuna in Obama's resume in turn reminds us of all the other things he has never done. Barack Obama has never dealt in any official capacity with any foreign government on any issue, ever. He has never made any important statement on foreign affairs before launching his candidacy for president. He has never borne any kind of responsibility in any area of foreign or security policy. He has never run an organization larger than the office of a U.S. Senator. He has never served in the armed forces of the United States.

If elected president, Obama will arrive in office with less relevant job experience than any president since Warren G. Harding. Maybe that will not matter: Abraham Lincoln did not have much relevant experience either, and he did OK. But maybe it will matter. Nobody will know until it is too late.

This may still be too picky - most candidates have not dealt in "an official capacity" with a foreign government, and we generally don't want or expect our governors to be making major speeches on foreign affairs before deciding to run for president. But Obama's resume truly is light. It is one that shows ability, but not much in the way of serious public policy acheivements or even thought.

I've long thought it would be fun if we still made people's names into cruel jokes, like in the middle ages: Pepin the Short; Ethelred the Unready; Charles the Bald; etc. etc. In our modern society, we would have folks with names like Charles Big Ears and Jerrold the Fat (I hate to think what my name would be). Senator Obama remains the great gamble of 2008. The next Lincoln? Or Barack the Unready?

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