The less experience the better

With the NBA draft coming up it occurs to me that electing a president is like drafting a player. You hope to extrapolate from a candidates past history how they will perform in a similar job under much higher pressure. Recently the NBA barred entrants into the draft directly from high school. One of the reasons they did this was to give teams more meaningful ways of evaluating talent in hopes of avoiding busts such as Kwame Brown. The more meaningful data a team has about a player the safer the pick becomes. If it is possible to predict future performance, the more meaningful data the better the prediction. In baseball if a team has a choice between someone who averaged 35 home runs a year for five years, and someone who hit 40 home runs last year, the safer pick is the first player, because the one good year could be a statistical anomaly.

In presidential politics it should be even more important to avoid mistakes than in sports drafts. After all if a team makes a huge mistake in the draft, there is another one next year and there are alternate ways to acquire players. If the public makes a bad choice for president, we are pretty much stuck with that choice for four years and we only get one president at a time. However, unlike in sports drafts, experience in presidential politics seems to be a liability. Of the seven candidates who have a chance of being elected only one (McCain) has a long record of elected office to evaluate. What seems to me the most likely pairing in the general election will match two senators, both with one and a half terms experience (Hillary vs. Thompson). Both parties have many more potential candidates with much more experience but they have failed to gain any traction.

The reason for this is one of the main facts that shape our political races, it is much easier to lose votes than it is to gain them. The more decisions you have made the more likely it is for someone to find one of those decisions and vote against the the candidate because of it. People will vote against you for strange reasons, such as how you transport your dog or how you voted for something ten years ago. As a result we have candidates who have less experience, it is harder to make an informed decision about who to vote for, and we get candidates who are smooth talking lightweights(You Know Who).



Share this

You mean who, exactly?

Obama came to my mind first.

I meant

John Edwards specifically, but there are plenty to choose from.