The Corner

Campaign Executive

The Obama campaign’s struggle to put their candidate on par with at least the GOP’s vice presidential candidate is producing some very telling moments. The quote from Obama that Byron cites below is really extraordinary. Byron lays out how Obama could only compare his experience running a campaign to Sarah Palin’s executive experience by ignoring the fact that she’s a governor, and not a small town mayor. But the comment is also utterly absurd for another reason. A campaign, after all, is directed entirely to advancing the interests and needs of the candidate. A Senate office is too. A state government exists to serve the people and manage a bureaucracy that deals with very complicated problems of public policy. It presents the chief executive with challenges that go very far beyond how to make himself look as good as possible that day. Running for office certainly counts as political experience—as some here have mentioned—and political experience is important. But that he would argue that running for office is executive experience suggests Obama has no idea what he’s in for if he’s elected president.

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.


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