The job of the President of the United States is the toughest in the world. The job carries many responsibilities that can change the world for the better or for the worse. He is, essentially, the leader of the free world; he leads their meetings and summits and is the ultimate decider for policy regarding the nation. He must work with the country’s legislators to pass effective laws and enforce them. The commander-in-chief has the duty to guide the country during troubling times and lead the people during times of crisis. He must work with his cabinet members to solve problems plaguing the country and make government work effectively. Being the country’s chief executive demands much creativity, skill and experience. Imagine yourself hiring a person without originality, talent or expertise to run your business or corporation. It will falter.
The United States is bigger than any corporation and, therefore, needs an inspirational and knowledgeable leader. Indeed, many protested that Barack Obama didn’t have those qualifications to become president. They claimed that he had nominal experience to lead the greatest and most powerful nation in the universe. In fact, some claim that his naiveté and inexperience had a direct effect on executing some of his signature legislations and presidential duties. Ever since Obama’s approval ratings tanked that eventually led to become a “shellacking” at the recent midterm elections, eyes are on the potential GOP nominees for president. With Sarah Palin as one of the frontrunners, I am aghast; are we going to do all of this over again? Barack Obama and Sarah Palin seem to be nearly identical in their qualities and rise to politics when put side by side; ideals and philosophies aside, their similarities are striking.
Barack Obama had a distressed youth: moving across the globe and growing up without parents, he used drugs and other illegal substances to alleviate his pain. Sarah Palin also grew up in poverty, switched between schools and colleges in multiple states and smoked pot – legal in her state at that time. Barack Obama got much criticism from critics for covering up his past and deceiving the public about his youth. Sarah Palin too, was repeatedly condemned for distorting facts and lying about her story. An eloquent speaker and best-selling author, Barack Obama, became a rising star in his party after giving an anti-war speech in 2002, and further ascended the ranks in politics after his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. In contrast, Sarah Palin, a powerful and well-expressed speaker, was thrust onto the national scene after John McCain picked her as his running mate; her acceptance speech made her a darling for conservatives around the nation.
Obama was criticized for making the presidency a personal discovery, being naïve and unqualified to serve as commander-in-chief. Sarah Palin was also criticized for going on a journey for personal discovery, being incapable to lead and having limited experience to serve as the leading executive of the nation. Barack Obama, who is often called arrogant and out of touch, touted his inexperience and outsider status as an asset. Sarah Palin, considered an egoist by many, also ran on the platform of change, and claimed the mantra of an average family mom.
Barack Obama got the rock-star status in his party after being the first black candidate to win his party’s nomination and the presidency. Sarah Palin, a conservative celebrity, made history for being the first woman on a GOP ticket and would be the first female president, if elected. Barack Obama, often called divisive and partisan by his critics, has a populist approach and used a grassroots campaign to become president. Controversial and opinionated, Sarah Palin, an author of two best selling memoirs, is also considered a polarizing figure who leads grassroots campaigns largely responsible for her popularity. Barack Obama, a charismatic individual, introduced technological means such as Twitter to connect to his followers and fans. He took on the conventional candidate of his party and defeated her to receive the nomination for president on behalf of the Democratic Party. Sarah Palin, a charming and appealing personality, uses Facebook and Twitter to get her message out. She has often challenged incumbents and establishment picks of her party.
Ronald Reagan points to his years serving as the Governor of California – the eighth biggest economy in the world – for preparing his terms in the White House. The years in Sacramento gave him the skills necessary to negotiate and broker deals with an opposition. He knew that not always can he remain steadfast with his position, and that he needed to induce some creativity in getting his policy done. The Democrats freaked out when a rookie politician straight from Hollywood hit back at them and vetoed their spending bills. They learned it the hard way – but so did Reagan. His ulcer – a condition he got first in the State Capitol – thought him that nothing in politics gets done without a fight, and how to fight he learned. A fight that should leave his enemy bruised.
Experience isn’t the only key in being a good president. Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the least experienced candidate for president in US history, is rated one of the best presidents according to historians. In contrast, James Buchanan – an experienced and seasoned politician and diplomat before being elected president– is considered one of the worst presidents ever. However, in trying times like these with the country divided like never before, we need an experienced leader that can unify the country and Congress and pass effective legislation. Sarah Palin was an effective mayor and governor, but her experience is still scarce for being president of the biggest and strongest nation in the world. The White House isn’t Hollywood and the presidency isn’t a reality show.
A stint of executive experience is lacking for a presidential resume; you need the competence to reach out to Congress with policy and ideas and work on effective legislation. We ought to elect a harmonious, competent and articulate person to lead the nation; a level-headed person that will be able to influence Congress and Washington in passing effective legislation, and create a better future. Sarah Palin has excited the Republican Party as no one had done before; however, one term with a campaigner-in-chief in the White House is enough.