Who Needs Seasoning? Edwards Far More than Obama

Questions of experience have often come up this year, perhaps after we saw the effects of having a president who was not capable of performing the job for the last eight years. I could see if supporters of candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, or Joe Biden were to use their candidate’s experience as an argument against Barack Obama. There’s no question that Obama has less experience than many of the previous presidents. However, Obama is far from the least experienced candidate running, making this claim at Talk Left rather absurd:

Why this race isn’t between Hillary and Edwards as opposed to Hillary and Obama has me stumped. I think Obama needs a lot more seasoning and experience before becoming presidential material.

Which leads me to conclude it’s still a three-way race and Edwards is very much in it.

Nobody has less experience than John Edwards. Edwards has a single term in the Senate, and he made a rather poor Senate while there. It was also clear that he had no interest in the Senate and was only using this as a stepping stone to run for president. As Bob Shrum has written, he’s “a Clinton who hadn’t read the books.”

Obama has far more experience than Edwards. Not only does Obama have his time in the Senate, he had years of previous experience. This includes working as a community organizer and in the state legislature. While he didn’t deal with national issues in the state legislature, when he did express his opinion he was right and Edwards was wrong on Iraq. While John Edward has dubious experience in the Senate where he worked on the Patriot Act, Obama has experience as a professor of Constitutional law and might know a bit more about civil liberties than Edwards. Obama also knows more about separation of church and state, with his comments sounding much more like those of a seasoned professional than Edwards’ recent statements on religion and gay marriage. Edwards’ changes in so many of the positons he previously held appears to be a matter of political expediency to go along with his internet strategy as opposed to seasoning, especially when his economic policies are best described by The Onion.

This may be a three way race, but there is a true seasoned candidate who has the best shot should Clinton and Obama both fall. Edwards continues to remain in the race by primarily from his 2004 name recognition, allowing him to register in the polls as Lieberman did early in 2004, large amounts of money from the trial lawyers, and running a continuous campaign in Iowa since 2005. While all this keeps Edwards in the race, his support has been gradually dwindling while Richardson has shown momentum, including moving ahead of Edwards in some New Hampshire polls. Richardson also came close to Edwards in second quarter fund raising, and would lead him for the year if not for Edwards’ backing from the trial lawyers. Some people looking at Richardson’s momentum and Edwards’ problem believe that Richardson will win in Iowa.

I still want to hear more from Obama before deciding on him. If experience is what is desired, it would make far more sense to look at Bill Richardson or Chris Dodd than John Edwards. While Obama may be inexperienced, his is far more experienced than John Edwards and has shown far greater ability to evaluate problems and avoid mistakes of the past. Those who see Democratic victories in 2004 as an opening to return to far left economic policies misunderstand why the Republicans lost and, more importantly, why the Democrats were a minority party for so long.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Owen Teach says:

    Clinton and Edward’s early support for the war will give Obama plenty of ammo throughout the race and his “lack of experience” could be turned into a positive. It can give the public the impression that he is untouched by the corruption of politics and still holds the interests if the American people above his own ambitions for power.

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