Thursday, October 23, 2008

Which of the candidates have the most experience?

Ok, so I'm sick of the election cycle already - as if reading news articles or watching the talking heads spin their favorite candidate will make any of this better. I've been told time and again by my much better half to stop reading the news so I think I'll take that advice....after the election :-) Just kidding, but I did have a thought on a method of comparing the two candidates because aside from all the mudslinging I usually don't seem to get any kind of decent side by side comparison to go off of. Hopefully my comparisons will be devoid of bias as to invoke a non-emotional view on the candidates.

Experience
The news seems to love comparing experience and "readiness" of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates for office, in that case let's just make an assumption that since we cannot simply or easily judge the quality of a candidates' time in office we are forced to compare the quantity of actual work experience including non political service(excluding schooling although we could add that in if you are upset by it), in that case here are the numbers:

McCain = 22 years in the Navy, 4 years in US congress, 22 years in US Senate, Total: 48 years work experience

Obama = 1 year at Business machines(83-84), 3 years as community director(85-87), 4 years of work after Harvard Law school as attorney and lecturer at Univ of Chicago(92-96), 8 years in Illinois state senate, 4 years in US Senate(04+), Total: 20 years work experience

Palin = 1 year as reporter(88)? 4 years city council(92-96), 6 years mayor(96-02), 4 years as Chair of Alaska Oil and Gas Commission(02-06), 2 years Governor(06+, Total: 17 years (should we count raising children as work experience? I'd say yes because anyone working full time knows that's easier than raising kids, OK, I've talked myself into it and if you argue against it than you're a bigoted anti-stay-at-home-mom chauvinist), so accounting for that we'll say 3 more years for that- Total of 20 years work experience(oddly close to what Obama has)

Biden = 2 years public defender, 2 years city council, 36 years US senate = Total: 40 years in political service (Holy CRAP did this guy ever work outside of politics? answer is Yes, wow, for two whole years as a public defender)

Total for McCain / Palin: 68
Total for Obama / Biden: 60

Experience comparison round 2
After doing this I thought, OK - this could be biased, let's simplify it further and say anything AFTER their last round of school is considered "real work" and hence qualifies as work experience, let's run the numbers:

McCain: Graduates from Naval Academy 1958, to 2008 = 50 years experience
Obama: In this case we're going to go from his bachelors from Columbia (83) since he has a period of work experience between that and Harvard Law School (88-91 excluded): 21 years experience
Palin: Graduates from University of Idaho: 1987: 21 years of experience
Biden: Graduates from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968: 40 years of experience

Total for McCain / Palin: 71
Total for Obama / Biden: 61

Hmm - let's argue that? Why would I choose to use only post schooling experience you ask? Although as an overly educated student loan slave I firmly believe school is harder than work and many times much more difficult I also think that it isn't looked at on a resume in the same light as a "real job", HR departments look at school as one segment of life experience and work experience as another, hence my consideration of only post graduation experience. I also think that the propensity for group think and hive thinking is much greater in an educational environment than in a work environment where there is a far greater diversity of experience, backgrounds, age, talents, interests etc, the educational environment looks at things idealistically and critically, in the "real world" your grades aren't on the line, your job and bottom line is, it's kind of a different experience wouldn't you agree?

Conclusion
So who wins? On simple duration of experience, I'd say McCain has it hands down over Obama, together McCain and Palin have it over Obama and Biden. If you compare Palin to Obama it's actually pretty close, leaving aside "quality" and "depth" of experience, if you throw those factors in it probably leans towards Obama although he's a lawyer so that should be a couple of negative points. If you compare Palin to Biden, wait, you really can't, Biden's been in the Senate for his entire career(other than 2 years as a Public Defender), if anyone in the whole dang world doesn't understand my needs is that blowhard so I can't even remotely consider him.

I'll have to say for now that McCain/Palin score on the "simple" experience comparison. Plus, did I say Biden sucks?

Citations:
Timelines for McCain and Obama are from George Washington University:
McCain: http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2008/cands08/mccaintime.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mccain (Wiki)
Obama: http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2008/cands08/obamatime.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_obama (wiki)

Timeline for Palin from ABC News and wiki:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=5688162
Timeline for Biden from Reuters and wiki:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/08/22/politics/p222636D16.DTL
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden

After writing this post I decided I'll have to revisit other aspects of the candidate comparisons in subsequent posts, what I thought was simple turned out to take longer and that excluded any kind of quality analysis of the candidates experience.

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