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Does Obama Have The Experience To Be President? Why/Why Not?

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posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 02:31 PM
We have heard a lot this election cycle about how Obama is not experience or qualified enough to be President of this country. Do you agree with that or not? If you do, give some examples of why you believe Obama has the qualifications necessary to run America. If you don't, explain as well.

As always, in accordance with Bully Pulpit guidelines, this is not a thread intended to bash Obama. I am merely seeking to find out why or why not members of ATS think Obama is fit to lead.

I look forward to the responses.

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 03:01 PM
I do not agree with it.

He is clearly a leader. He has experience as a leader. He was a community organizer in Chicago, then spent 8 years in the state Senate and 4 years as a US Senator...

I don't see how people can think he's not a "good leader" when he has millions of people ready to elect him as theirs...

He has more political experience than Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, to name only a few... (Source)

Nobody who has taken the office for the first time has any experience in being president. Why is it that Obama needs to have some kind of "experience" that no other new president would be required to have?

He has experience as a leader. He has more political experience than the above presidents. What kind of experience are we talking about?

[edit on 27-8-2008 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 03:16 PM
I believe most people are looking for some experience that qualifies him to run an entire country.

What experience does he have dealing with foreign policy matters? What sort of economic experience does he have that tells us he can manage the finances of a whole country? What experience does he have that shows he can make very important decisions under the most extreme circumstances?

I also don't believe most people buy being a "community organizer" as Presidential experience. I'm not even sure what that is.

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 03:37 PM
I ask again: What kind of experience, though, would qualify him to run a country? Specifically.

And what other president has had the experience of running a country before taking office? What other president have we made this demand of?

He doesn't have foreign policy experience. But Biden does. And his other advisors will. That shows judgment, which is another important quality. That trumps experience, for me, in a heartbeat. And no man has ever entered the presidency with complete experience. Why demand that Obama have this experience?

I didn't mean (or say) that a community organizer is a presidential experience.

I made a thread a while ago that covers Obama's political experience.

My position is that he is definitely qualified. I understand that not all people will see it that way.

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 03:52 PM
Again, I think the problem lies in that he has no experience managing anything of importance. I won’t argue he may have the political experience necessary, but nothing else.

I mean we aren’t talking about electing this man for a lowly position, we are talking about President of the United States. The most important job in the world.

Running the country should require at least some experience in running something else. Obama has not experience in managing anything that would signal to me he can handle running America.

Furthermore, I don't think we should be electing our President based on the qualifications of his VP or advisor's. Obama is the one running for President. He should be able to handle these things himself.

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 04:23 PM
I question Obama's experience and lack thereof, myself. The man has spent a grand total of one term in the Senate and then decides to run for president. Aside from that, he has just as much experience in leadership that any other man or woman does who heads any semi-major organization has, like a school district superintendent or a city councilman. But that doesn't qualify them for the office of POTUS either. I don't necessarily respect a law degree on a candidate, either because that tells me they have learned how to spin reality to their advantage.

My opinion, a candidate for POTUS (not VP) should have served in the military since that person will be making decisions that will be sending brave men and women to fight and die for this country; and a candidate ought to have spent at least a dozen years as a public servant, serving their country on the issues, drafting legislation, attending congressional hearings, endorsing bills, getting involved with the process - all before they can even be considered for the office of POTUS.

posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 11:08 PM
If time in the senate is a pre-requisite to being President, nobody has pointed me to that rule.

Furthermore - i could give you a very long list of Presidents who never spent a day in the senate, but have been elected to more than 1 term. (democratic and republican alike)

Should a president have lawyer experience? After all, a presidents job mainly revolves around bills and creations of laws, etc. So he should 'definitely' have a lawyers background, right?

Should a President have served in the military? No doubt that the POTUS's job requires them to make the big decisions for our troops on the ground. But does having your boots on the ground make you less likely to make a decision based on the advice of those who have?

Should a president make less than the Poverty line for their non-political career?

In a nutshell, to fit the notion of "lack of senate experience" to be a qualifying factor which proves ineligibility to be POTUS, you would have to

add the requirement for an Economics major, Foreign Relations Major, Physicians degree, Law degree, and Business degree the requirements to be President.

Being the President means you're in the top seat of our country. You influence the important things that affect those you lead: Health Care, Education, Foreign Relations, National Defense, etc.

Adding a pre-requisite (aside from the constitutionally required ones) to the job would prevent a large selection of our Previous Great presidents from ever have being able to have taken office.

The American Dream is "you can be anything your heart desires"
So if your heart desires to be President....why not?

Being a president is being a being THE leader of our country.

Being the president isnt being a senator.
Being the president isnt being a lawyer
Being the president isnt being a father, husband, or son/daughter.

Being the President is being the FACE of America. You are the facade of the Free World in that Oval Office.

When's the last time you saw terrorists burning flags with pictures of Congressmen on them?

Being the president is being a LEADER. A wise leader who will listen to the advice of those who make it their life to be at the head of their field. To be experts at what they do best.

You don't go to the President for advice on how to raise your son. You would go to a child therapist - or to another parent with experience.

But you would go to the President for HELP getting the things necessary to properly raise your son.

You wouldn't go see the President for a tooth ache.
You'd go to a dentist.

But you'd go to your President for help paying for that visit.

So why would you go to a senator for advice on being President?
Nobody alive today - who has not been president - can offer you advice on being president and be any more qualified than the next guy.

All Presidents, future, past, and present have had a cabinet of Advisers for a reason. And that reason isn't because it gets lonely in the White House.

The Senate and the President are equal power.
To say that one is more important than the other is sheer ignorance.

There are three deciding branches in this Country, and you already know which they are.

And they all 3 must collectively agree on something before it comes to pass.

Leadership does not always reflect experience.

A leader inspires and encourages.
A leader puts others first, and himself last.

There are natural born leaders who learn from experience, and there are natural born leaders who learn from those with Experience.

Barack Obama is a natural born leader.
He has the Charisma, the Intelligence, the Compassion, and the Leadership to take our country onto bigger and better things.

I, personally, find it more invigorating that he became a senator at such a young age. And that he's nominated, by his party, to be a President at 47 years of age.

He's been a lawyer
He's been a volunteer
He's been a leader in his community
He's a loving Husband
He's a wonderful Father
He's been a state senator
He's been a US senator

I see a lot of experience to create a fluent leader in that background.

He inspires hope into those who had little, and he provides change to those who crave it the most.

I believe that he is the key to changing our country. The state of the Union varies by who you talk to these days.

For me, i see the state dwindling. Thats my take based on the experiences in my personal life.

I am willing to give my vote to a man who promises me what i've been craving for years.

A man who offers us a different course. What is down this course? We'll find out as we go. But if all goes well - we already know the destination. And its a bright tomorrow for the U.S.

My hope was to answer the question in the OP:

Do you agree with that or not? If you do, give some examples of why you believe Obama has the qualifications necessary to run America

I hope i have achieved such.

[edit on 8/27/2008 by Andrew E. Wiggin]

posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 10:41 PM
Let's compare Obama to our current president and his 4 most immediate predecessors, shall we?

In the last 32 Years, since the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976, Obama, if elected,
  • would be tied for number 1 out of 6 presidents in years of elected service at time taking office.
  • He would be number 2 out of 6 presidents in years of service if you counted executive appointed offices.
  • Would be number 1 out of 6 in years of legislative experience, with 50% More Legislative experience than the other 5 presidents COMBINED
  • He would be number 2 out of 6 in years of federal government service


  • He would be number 6 out of 6 in years of Executive Government Service- as the only president in the last 32 years with none.

So the question is, "What kind of experience counts when it comes to preparing to be president of the United States?"

Let's consider exactly what the president does and what the job requires.
According to the Constitution (leaving any questions about its practical relevance aside for the moment, if I may tell the truth in jest) the president:
United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 2: Presidential Powers

Number 1.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States...

Commander in Chief. The president has to make military decisions. What kind of experience prepares one for that? If you can't work in the Pentagon or the White House, the next best preparation is the Congress. Governors and State Legislatures do not deal extensively with hostile military actions. One could then argue that Obama would be the 2nd most qualified Commander in Chief of the last 32 years, behind George H W Bush, who was Vice President for 8 years and Director of Central Intelligence for 1 year.


he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices,

The President manages the cabinet. That's an interesting one because it hits on a little understood point of the American executive branch. The President, whether you subscribe to the idea of an imperial presidency/decider or see him as merely a constitutionally hog-tied paper-pusher, or somewhere in between, ultimately is there to direct the abilities of the rest of the executive, not to generate it himself. The constitutional description of the president is not that of the "head idea guy"; he doesn't have to possess all of the answers. He has to know how to get the answers from the people who have them- which in theory is supposed to be his cabinet and the resources at their disposal.
Never the less, that's not an idle job. There are good and bad managers. What does the tale of the tape on experience suggest that Barack Obama would be? The campaign is actually one of the best indicators of managerial strength in my opinion.
The recent Democratic Primary stands in my mind as a prime example. Clinton biographer Gail Sheehy has suggested that Clinton's bid was doomed by poor campaign organization. Guardian
And Obama could not have pulled of his victory without his enormous performances in the caucus states. This was already being discussed in 2007, before the victories even began with the Iowa upset that virtually nobody fully anticipated before December 2007, when the Obama organization started generating a large number of likely first-time caucus goers (Wikipedia. (You'll forgive me for also reminding you that I correctly predicted Obama's victory AND Clinton's 3rd Place finish in Iowa in April 2007)
What's more, Obama has lost fewer elections than any of the previous 5 presidents. He's only lost 1. And that's to say nothing of his past career as a community organizer. The man can definitely manage.

Next Duty

and he shall have power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

A little bird from Arkansas told me that presidents should do as little of that as possible. One from Texas added that if you absolutely have to do it, you're better off to wait until the end of your term, like the bird from Arkansas did.


He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law...

Obama's legislative experience should make him more attuned than his predecessors to the advice and consent process (although admittedly not as well as McCain). If one does not subscribe to the Stewardship Theory which has evolved into the modern presidency, as I happen not to, then this is the sole requirement raised by the above section of the constitution. If on the other hand you do believe that extra-constitutional documents such as executive agreements have valid standing, you will likely be even more concerned about Obama's management of his state department than others (as answered for in the point on management above). I realize that management skills alone won't convince everyone. Some would prefer to have a president who is a stand-alone expert on foreign policy (it certainly wouldn't hurt right now, I admit, if we had a legitimate foreign policy genius somewhere in Washington D.C. (foreign embassies notwithstanding)). But the presidency of George H.W. Bush offers a great deal of insight into what happens to presidents who are stand-alone experts in one field- in fact, conveniently, in this case the field in question is foreign policy.
Bush 41 had a respectable foreign policy resume, but that brought with it an unjustified confidence in situations which demanded further inspection. The building of a coalition for the Persian Gulf War was masterful, but his understanding of middle eastern politics in particular was not, and this resulted in a major unintended upswing in hostility towards the United States even while we sacrificed the goal of removing Saddam Hussien in the name of bringing Arab states into the coalition.

In short, I believe that Obama's experience prepares him for the presidency as constitutionally described (per my admittedly unofficial interpretation), which is to say that Obama is well prepared to serve this nation as a concensus builder and as a shared resource of the Congress (as executor of the laws congress passes) and the People (through his check upon the congress- the veto).

On the other hand, Obama is not prepared to manage an imperial presidency. That is to say that he is not ready to conceive and implement policy on his own, running rough-shod over both congress and dissenters within his administration. Obama does need other people. He needs to be fed information, he needs to intellectualize over the options and opinions he is presented with, question them, etc. He is, to put it indelicately, Bizarro Bush. I see that as a good thing. I can see why others would have legitimate concerns over that.

Of course it is counterintuitive to view inabilities as strengths. However my rationale is simple. Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. IF, and I stress IF it is true that only a strong executive can keep America secure, I would still favor a weak executive. Point nuclear weapons at me. Send suicide bombers after me. Put anthrax in my mailbox. But don't tell me what to do. Because I'm an American, and that means that if you want to see me cry, hitting me won't work- but not letting me have things my way probably will.

Oh, and Here are all the numbers for you:

Years in Any Government Office, from Most to Fewest:
1. George H.W. Bush_(16 Years)
2. Barack Obama____(12 Years)
3. Ronald Reagan____(8 Years)
3. Jimmy Carter_____(8 Years)
4. Bill Clinton_______(6 Years)
4. George W Bush___(6 Years)

Years in ELECTED Government Office, from Most to Fewest:
1. George H.W. Bush_(12 Years)
1. Barack Obama____(12 Years)
2. Ronald Reagan____(8 Years)
2. Jimmy Carter_____(8 Years)
3. Bill Clinton_______(6 Years)
3. George W Bush___(6 Years)

Total Legislative Experience
1. Barack Obama____(12 Years)
2. George H.W. Bush_(4 Years)
2. Jimmy Carter_____(4 Years)
3. Ronald Reagan____(None)
3. Bill Clinton_______(None)
3. George W Bush___(None)

Total Federal Government Experience
1. George H.W. Bush_(12 Years)
2. Barack Obama____(4 Years)
3. Jimmy Carter_____(None)
3. Ronald Reagan____(None)
3. Bill Clinton_______(None)
3. George W Bush___(None)

*All years of service are calculated up until the time of election (or in Obama's case, possible election) to the Presidency.

Barack Obama:
Career before office:
Community/Political Activist and Organizer
Elected Legislative Experience: 11 Years
  • State Experience: 7 Years
  • Federal Experience: 4 Years

Elected Executive Experience: None
Appointed Executive Experience: None
Total Years in Elected office: 11 Years
Total Years in Government office: 11 Years

George W Bush:
Career before office:
Corporate Chairman
Elected Legislative Experience: None
  • State Experience: None
  • Federal Experience: None

Elected Executive Experience: 6 Years
Appointed Executive Experience: None
Total Years in Elected office: 6 Years
Total Years in Government office: 6 Years

Bill Clinton:
Career before office:
Professor, Lawyer
Elected Legislative Experience: None
  • State Experience: 4 Years
  • Federal Experience: None

Elected Executive Experience: *4 Years (2 years Attorney General, 2 years Governor)
Appointed Executive Experience: None
Total Years in Elected office: 4 Years
Total Years in Government office: 4 Years

George H W Bush:
Career before office:
Businessman (oil)
Elected Legislative Experience: 4 Years
  • State Experience: None
  • Federal Experience: 4 Years

Elected Executive Experience: 8 Years
Appointed Executive Experience: 4 Years
Total Years in Elected office: 12 Years
Total Years in Government office:16 Years

Ronald Reagan:
Career before office:
Actor, Corporate Spokesman
Elected Legislative Experience: None
  • State Experience: None
  • Federal Experience: None

Elected Executive Experience: 8 Years (Governor of CA)
Appointed Executive Experience: None
Total Years in Elected office: 8 Years
Total Years in Government office: 8 Years

Jimmy Carter:
Career before office:
Elected Legislative Experience: 4 Years
  • State Experience: 4 Years
  • Federal Experience: None

Elected Executive Experience: 4 Years (Governor of GA)
Appointed Executive Experience: None
Total Years in Elected office: 8 Years
Total Years in Government office: 8 Years

posted on Aug, 29 2008 @ 11:41 AM
reply to post by nyk537

As Sen McCain has just picked inexperienced Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate, this question now seems a little moot. One of the concerns is for Sen. McCain's health. While his mother is still hearty and hale, Sen. McCain could of been exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. One of the problems associated with the agent is heart problems. I have a Vietnam vet friend who has a very bad heart because of his limited exposure.
I am wondering how this choice will play out.

posted on Aug, 29 2008 @ 09:25 PM
After watching the VP selection today for the Republican party, I too would have to voice my opinion that the issue of experience is no longer a factor. I feel that the Republican party may attempt to continue to make it an issue on the short-term, but something that will ultimately be avoided at all costs.

Palin does have more executive experience than Obama, which is a point that I'm sure will be reinforced, but does her short run as Governor of Alaska really qualify?

CNN continued to chime in with "God forbid..." when they were referring to if anything ever happened to McCain and I would have to agree that it is a huge reason to not offer them your vote. When considering the undecided population, I think this is going to weigh heavily. If something does happen to McCain, would you really want her as your commander in chief?

I can see why McCain went with Palin, however it severely undermines some of his biggest critiques of his opponent. But their little tactics today certainly kept the mass media from discussing Obama's speech last night. Which in and of itself must be considered a victory.

posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 10:12 PM
I have just a little to add to those who defend Obama's readiness to be president:

He is a member of the following Senate committees:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

This information is from his Senate website: Committees

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee qualifies as foreign relations experience. It is a key committee.

Admittedly, he doesn't have the experience of Hillary Clinton, but as the Vagabond has pointed out in his superb list of comparisons, he has more than many of his predecessors in the Executive office.

posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 04:55 AM
I think Obamas choice of running mate is better than mccains

as mentioned, bill clinton has no experiance when he came into office.
obama has a cracking vice president there.

what would happen if mccain died (i hope he doesnt)
we would have some woman in charge of the world.

i think mccains choice of vice pres was a gamble, and i cant see it coming off.

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