Monday, September 8, 2008

Election 2008: Experience versus Judgment?

The Independent Institute in Oakland, CA, has an original and interesting view of this debate!


Both Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have been criticized for their "inexperience." In his latest op-ed, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland argues that experience should not be a determining factor in the selection of national political leaders. Richard Nixon and James Buchanan, for example, had lots of experience before becoming president, yet neither was a good president, according to Eland. In contrast, Chester Arthur was a good president despite having previously held only two mid-level jobs in New York and being vice president for a mere six months when the assassination of James Garfield thrust him into the Oval Office.

John McCain, although a more experienced candidate than Obama, has shown poor judgment on several matters of foreign policy, according to Eland, including calling for greater U.S. involvement in Iraq and advocating Georgia's entry into NATO--a move that could draw the United States into a military confrontation with Russia.

On the other hand, Obama, writes Eland, "was against invading Iraq from the start, has astutely championed withdrawing U.S. combat forces during what is likely to be a temporary lull in violence, and was much more measured about the conflict in Georgia, which threatened no vital U.S. strategic interests." McCain, Eland concludes, has too much experience in getting co-opted into making bad judgments from serving too long in Washington's military-industrial-congressional complex.

"A President Needs Good Judgment Rather than Experience," by Ivan Eland (9/8/08) Spanish Translation

The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed (Updated Edition), by Ivan Eland

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, Director)

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