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Obama vs. Romney: Experience Factor

Lost amid juvenile jokes about his declaration that “the president has a big stick” is Joe Biden’s larger argument that we can’t afford to turn our foreign policy to Romney because he’s a neophyte who admits that he’s no expert in foreign policy. In response to Romney’s declaration that he’d turn to the State Department and others for advice because a president “is not a foreign policy expert,” Biden harrumphed, “That kind of thinking may work for a CEO but it will not and cannot work for a president. And it will not work for a commander in chief.”

But, of course, Romney is a veritable Henry Kissinger compared to the Barack Obama we elected in 2008. Hell, just running the 2002 Olympics gives him more foreign policy experience than Obama had coming in to the Oval Office. As it turns out, it doesn’t much matter. Obama committed a ridiculous number of minor gaffes in his handling of foreign affairs early on and his administration continues to botch the roll-outs of otherwise well-crafted policy decisions. But he’s done a good job of managing key decisions, even in cases (like the Libya intervention) where I disagree with them.

As I noted many times last cycle, the résumés of presidential candidates doesn’t seem to matter. Previous experience doesn’t tell us much about how they’ll perform in office.

Only 40 men have been president, fewer still in the modern era. I’m not sure we can pinpoint what the best preparation is. We’ve had lousy presidents and good ones who have come up from the vice presidency, the Congress, the cabinet, governorships, and the military. Obama has almost exactly the same political resume as Abraham Lincoln, almost universally considered among the greats and Edwards has about as much experience as John Kennedy. (Insert your own Lloyd Benson joke here.)

Further, while they tell pollsters otherwise, previous experience for presidential candidates doesn’t seem to be a big factor in how people vote. Obama was almost certainly the least experienced candidate in the 2008 field; he beat all of them because people gravitated to his charm, wit, intellect, and coolness under pressure.

Additionally, it’s worth pointing out again to Republicans that “community organizer” jokes aren’t going to work this cycle. However effective they were with swing voters last go-round–obviously, not effective enough–the Obama of 2012 is easily the candidate with the most presidential experience. As I noted almost two years ago,

It’s true that Obama took office with less executive experience than any recent president.  All the presidents in my lifetime (that is, starting with Lyndon Johnson) had been either Vice President or a state governor.

But Obama is now President of the United States and has been for 17 months as of noon today.  At some point, that starts to add up to real executive experience.   Certainly, come the 2012 campaign, he’ll have more relevant experience than any conceivable candidate the Republicans can offer:  almost four years in the very office being contested!

So, another line of attack might be more effective.

UPDATE: Daniel Larison disagrees with my premise, declaring that, “There’s no question that Obama’s foreign policy experience in 2007-08 was very minimal. A few years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a good working relationship with Dick Lugar were not terribly impressive qualifications” but “Romney and his supporters can’t deny is that he has even less foreign policy experience than Obama did four years ago.”

Let’s not pretend that Obama was actually attending sessions of the Foreign Relations Committee. He started campaigning for president roughly five minutes after being sworn in as a senator. He was an absolute neophyte on foreign affairs and executive management.

Exaggerations by the likes of Palin notwithstanding, governors do have some modicum of relevant foreign affairs experience, at least on matters of trade promotion. And, yes, running the Olympics does involve dealing with a rather unwieldy, corrupt IGO.

Romney 2012 and Obama 2008 were both unqualified by resume to be the Decider in Chief. But, as other commenters have noted, that’s been the exception rather than the rule of late. And, as noted in the post, it doesn’t much seem to matter: we’ve had very good presidents who came into office seemingly untested and very poor ones with impressive backgrounds.

But, again, Obama 2012 isn’t Obama 2008. He’s been president for three-and-a-half years now. One can attack his record; it’s hard to attack his experience.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    Obama was a senator who sat on the FR and DoD committees for several years. Romney’s FP experience was totally empty. Not saying Obama was Dick Lugar when elected, but he had some actual FP experience prior to his election.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 5

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Ultimately it’ll all be about the stupidity, economy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  3. Hey Norm says:

    Bollocks.
    Obama came out as a State Senator against the colossal foreign policy blunder that was the Iraq invasion and occupation. Where was Romney on Iraq? He wants to still be there.
    Obama said he would get OBL and he did. Romney agreed with Bush that it was too hard.
    Obama said he would use drones to prosecute the terrorists and he was ridiculed by Republicans as being “naive” and McCain said “the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment and determination to keep us safe.”
    Bin Laden is gone. Anwar al Awlaki, who was the rising star in al Qaeda, is gone. Qadhafi is gone.
    Republicans are supposed to be the Foreign Policy guys. But 9.11 happened on their watch, they f’ed up the response, and failed to bring OBL to justice. They allowed Afghanistand to languish. Now they can’t stand that it’s a Democratic President who is showing them how it’s done. Is Obama perfect? Not by any means. But his record is a damn sight better than the Republicans recent performance. And Romney is surrounding himself with the same Neo-Cons and Bush re-treads.
    The danger with Romney is that his ambition and his malleability will allow him to be pushed around by the idiots he is surrounding himself with.

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  4. Hey Norm says:

    Another thing Republicans f’ed up on…the Iraq debacle made Iran stronger in the region.
    Now Obama is making incremental progress on that front.
    Romney and the NeoCons…clueless.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

  5. @Chad S: Obama’s undergrad was also in political science with a specialty in international relations. He also worked for the Business International Corporation.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  6. Hey Norm says:

    I guess on the other side of the coin…Romney has been helping Foreign entities avoid paying US taxes for decades. So he has that going for him…which is nice.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  7. @Timothy Watson:

    You’re really saying an ungrad degree makes one qualified to be POTUS? I hope not

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

  8. James Joyner says:

    @Chad S: Obama spent less than three years in the Senate, almost all of which he spent campaigning for president.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 21

  9. Scott says:

    I seem to remember that the Bush Administration in the form of Cheney and Rumsfeld had great contempt for the State Dept. Now Romney believes that the State Dept harbors the foreign policy experts. This flies in the face of the many of the same utterly discredited neo cons who are surrounding Romney. I don’t see that Romney has a firm world view and is haplessly fluttering in the breezes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  10. Hey Norm says:

    @ Doug…
    When the oppositions advisors are scared of eastern block nations that no longer exist…and that evidently you can’t spell…a degree in International Relations might be considered an asset.
    I’m just sayin’

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 3

  11. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: How do you say that in Austrian?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20

  12. Hey Norm says:

    “…don’t see that Romney has a firm world view and is haplessly fluttering in the breezes…”

    Don’t worry…he’ll shake the Etch-a-Sketch any minute now and start over.
    Like Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand fetish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  13. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos…don’t know…ask Arnold.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Chad S: Obama was a senator who sat on the FR and DoD committees for several years.

    Great, so his ass is qualified to keep a seat warm. What did he do besides sit there — on the occasions he bothered to show up?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 27

  15. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: I did.

    “Obama is a girly-man who wears mom jeans and never had to make any of de tough decisions or be accountable for anything in his life before he became president. Und he’s a SCOAMF.”

    Thank you, Mr. Former Governator.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 27

  16. Hey Norm says:

    I wonder if OBL thinks Obama is a SCOAMF.
    Or al Awlaki.
    Or Quadaffi.
    The facts just don’t match your ideology. Like…ever.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  17. PJ says:

    Now, Now. Romney spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.
    That must count for something!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  18. Worrying about Foreign Policy experience is one of those things that become important when your side is running an incumbent president, but otherwise no one really cares about. Most of our Presidents had not significant foreign policy experience when they began, yet managed to do just fine anyways.

    In the modern era, FDR, Eisenhower, and H. W. Bush are pretty much the only ones to come into the job with lots of previous foreign policy involvement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  19. Hey Norm says:

    @ Stormy…
    I think you make a very valid point.
    However it is important to look at who the candidate is surrounding himself with. And I believe this is doubly important when you have someone like Romney who is so severly pliant and fickle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    My problem — well, one my problems — with Romney is not lack of FP experience but lack of life experience. Can anyone tell me of a single instance in which Mitt Romney ever had to overcome any sort of obstacle? Has he done anything other than follow a clearly marked-out path through an unremarkable, unchallenging life? When has his character ever been tested?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 1

  21. Herb says:

    Romney is a veritable Henry Kissinger

    I get what you’re saying, but not sure that’s much of a compliment.

    Also, I don’t expect the “executive experience” angle to get much play this cycle, not only because President Obama has the experience Senator Obama lacked, but because Romney’s a different candidate than McCain. I get the sense that the Dems want to talk about Romney’s executive experience, if only to embarrass him as a corporate raider or the blue-state governor that prototyped Obamacare.

    Romney, on the other hand, would probably rather talk about something else. I guess we should all just be thankful that birtherism is dead. We could be talking about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  22. Hey Norm says:

    “…When has his character ever been tested?”

    Every morning when he gets up and has to decide who he is going to be today.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  23. al-Ameda says:

    Mitt Romney’s experience?

    Mitt is part of the ‘job creator’ class and he made his $250M fortune by acquiring companies, closing plants and firing American workers.

    Foreign Policy? He considers the Soviet Union to be a threat to Czechoslovakia. Neither of which country exists anymore.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  24. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    @Hey Norm: How do you say that in Austrian?

    “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. Hey Norm says:

    @ al-Ameda…
    In Romney’s defense he did invest some money in Staples…which provides a lot of low wage jobs…few of which pay more than $10 an hour.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  26. @Doug Mataconis: It matters when someone is (purposely?) misrepresenting the facts:

    But, of course, Romney is a veritable Henry Kissinger compared to the Barack Obama we elected in 2008. Hell, just running the 2002 Olympics gives him more foreign policy experience than Obama had coming in to the Oval Office.

    Running an Olympics makes someone more qualified than someone that was on the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs? James was apparently aware of the time Obama spent on the committee and his only retort was it was only three years and Obama was running for President.

    According to James, Romney spending three years working on an Olympics while also running for Governor of Massachusetts beats Obama’s three years serving on a committee dealing with Foreign Relations for one of the bodies of Congress. If James had bothered to even check Wikipedia before posting this, he might come off less as a Romney shill:

    As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He met with Mahmoud Abbas before Abbas became President of the Palestinian National Authority, and gave a speech at the University of Nairobi condemning corruption within the Kenyan government.[88]

    What next, Romney supporters talking about his extensive military experience as Commander of the Massachusetts National Guard or that he can see Canada from his house?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 0

  27. @michael reynolds: Romney’s wife’s MS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  28. Jeremy R says:

    RE: “Obama vs. Romney: Experience Factor”

    It seems this is a perfectly legitimate and politically potent knock that incumbent presidents always use against their opponents during turbulent times. The whole “one the job training”, “changing horses midstream”, learning to “manipulate the leavers of power” on the fly, etc. It’s one of the factors that tips often tips the scales in the incumbent’s favor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Jeremy R says:

    @Jeremy R:

    Sorry about the editing, I need to get more coffee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. Herb says:

    @Hey Norm: ”

    “…When has his character ever been tested?”

    Every morning when he gets up and has to decide who he is going to be today. “

    Ha! That was a good one.

    But still, there’s a grain of truth in every joke. And in this one, there’s the implication that Romney has been tested, and I think he has. Sometimes he has passed the test. But lately, the results haven’t been so good. His rightward lurch is going to box him in with supporters who can barely stand him anyway, and some of the “old” character that he used to show won’t count for much after we’ve seen so much of this “new” character.

    The sad thing about Romney isn’t that he’s evil and must be destroyed (although in a campaign year it feels like that) but that he’s just kind of unnecessary. We already have a moderate conservative in the White House and it’s not like he’s going to go crazy liberal on us when he becomes a lame duck.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  31. Hey Norm says:

    “…he’s just kind of unnecessary…”

    Well yeah…he really has no convincing argument as to why we need to elect him…and the reasons he gives for not re-electing Obama are fallacious.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Timothy Watson:
    I’ll accept that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  33. Hey Norm says:

    @ T. Watson & M. Reynolds…
    No doubt.
    But $250M makes that a lot easier to deal with than it is for someone who just had their Medicaid slashed in order to to pay for more tax cuts for the guy with $250M.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  34. Hey Norm says:

    This is off-topic…but it’s so germane to OTB that I have to show it to the class…
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_story.html
    Key takeaway…

    “…“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach…”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  35. anjin-san says:

    McCain said “the American people have every reason to doubt whether he has the strength, judgment and determination to keep us safe.”

    When you look at how Obama has decimated Al Qaeda, this is a pretty telling statement.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  36. @Hey Norm: I don’t entirely disagree. Everything that Mitt and Ann Romney have done seems intended to make them come off as the most out-of-touch people ever. The faux outrage and the Romneys’ response to Hilary Rosen’s comment being the perfect example.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  37. al-Ameda says:

    @Hey Norm:

    @ al-Ameda…
    In Romney’s defense he did invest some money in Staples…which provides a lot of low wage jobs…few of which pay more than $10 an hour.

    Good point. Those workers have plenty of incentive to leave Staples before a Bain Capital type of operation buys them out and lays off a few thousand of those jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  38. anjin-san says:

    Romney spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.

    And apparently he really dug France. Kinda makes you wonder if he is a real American, ne pensez-vous pas?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  39. superdestroyer says:

    I find it humorous that people are spending one minute thinking about the qualification of a candidate that has zero chance of winning the president. I wonder if James will spend any time reviewing the qualifications of the libertarians party candidate or the green party candidate. Since those candidates have as much chance of being president as Mitt Romney, their qualifications are equally important.

    I guess worrying about irrelevant Republicans beats thinking about the probability that Nancy Pelosi will return as Speaker of the House or the economic impact of the all of the provisions of ACA kicking in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  40. superdestroyer says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    I thinked President Obama worked in the private sector for a few months. compare that experience to years spent getting government goodies for blacks in Chicago.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 35

  41. @superdestroyer: Nice to see the racists are out in full force.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  42. superdestroyer says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    And how would you describe a black community organizer working in a majority black neighborhoods. Bring the goodies home is what politicians do and black politicians in majority black districts have the job of bringing back the goodies for blacks. Have you never paid attention to rep. like Elijah Cummings or Chaka Fattah.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 23

  43. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Have you never paid attention to rep. like Elijah Cummings or Chaka Fattah.

    I only pay attention to Chaka Khan

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  44. An Interested Party says:

    Hmm…let’s see which way the Etch-A-Sketch shaked today:

    Romney campaign aide claims auto bailout was Romney’s idea

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  45. anjin-san says:

    Romney campaign aide claims auto bailout was Romney’s idea

    This just in – Mitt also planned Operation Overlord. Additionally, he wrote “The Star Spangled Banner”…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  46. gVOR08 says:

    James, you subtitled this, “The Obama campaign’s cheap politicizing of the SEAL raid that took out bin Laden is unseemly. And unnecessary.” I’m sure you’re well aware of the billion dollar lying scheisssturm that the Romney campaign, and organizations that provide deniability to Romney, are going to unleash in the next six months. It is entirely necessary.

    As someone reminded us above, Bin Laden is dead, and GM is alive. Would anyone outside the 27% even be thinking about voting for a Republican if Romney and the gops didn’t have that pile of money?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  47. mattb says:

    @superdestroyer: BTW, by your logic Caucasian politicians with primarily white constituencies, are only concerned about the needs of “white folk.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  48. Dazedandconfused says:

    It’s not only nearly meaningless, it’s the wrong tack to take.

    Obama would be better off having the foreign policy discussion about specific policies than vague, personal levels of “experience” even if he has the advantage in that now, or so it seems to me.

    What “policy” I’ve seen coming from the Romney camp so far have been PNAC/ neocon talking points. They are not popular anymore. This nation is tired of war.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  49. Moderate Mom says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    You might want to add her battle with breast cancer as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  50. superdestroyer says:

    @mattb:

    If you were right, there would be a Congressional Caucasian Caucus to match the Congressional Black Causus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

    Also, when was the members of the CHC can get away with saying things like “I have only one loyalty,” he says, “and that’s to the immigrant community.” http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/11/29/pushing-obama-on-immigration-reform.html#

    When you can find a white Democrats who says that his only loyalty is to whites, you may have a point,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  51. jukeboxgrad says:

    anjin-san:

    And apparently he really dug France. Kinda makes you wonder if he is a real American, ne pensez-vous pas?

    Aside from spending way too much time in France, he also had a daddy who was born in Mexico. The whole thing sounds kind of fishy to me. Where’s the long-form birth certificate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  52. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Timothy Watson: Running an Olympics makes someone more qualified than someone that was on the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs?

    Romney can actually point to things he did. Including keeping the Olympic Committees of well over a hundred countries happy. Obama? Didn’t show up that often, didn’t accomplish anything of substance that anyone can point to.

    Romney has a record. Obama has a box checked off on his resume.

    So, the answer to your question? ABSOLUTELY.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 25

  53. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Romney can actually point to things he did. Including keeping the Olympic Committees of well over a hundred countries happy. Obama? Didn’t show up that often, didn’t accomplish anything of substance that anyone can point to.

    Things he did? Romney also made his $250M fortune by acquiring companies, shutting operations down and laying off American workers.

    Didn’t accomplish anything of substance? Obama, on the other hand, bailed out GM and in so doing prevented the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the auto-industry, at a time when the economy was collapsing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  54. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos brings the myths and the falsehoods to the show.
    There’s an accomplishment you can be proud of!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  55. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: “Myths and falsehoods.”

    Those are fighting words, jackwagon.

    Please elaborate on details, or withdraw and admit you’re a lying sack.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 18

  56. PJ says:

    Hell, just running the 2002 Olympics gives him more foreign policy experience than Obama had coming in to the Oval Office.

    If I was Romney, I’d wait until the 2012 Games are over until deciding to use running the 2002 Games in any ads etc.
    Reading the stories about the upcoming Games in London makes me think that it may not be positive to be linked to the Olympics after the Summer Games are over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  57. Jenos Idanian says:

    @PJ: Why should he wait? The 2002 Games are over; their history isn’t going to change.

    If London is a success, Romney can say how they learned from his Games.

    If London is a failure, then his success is even more remarkable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  58. @superdestroyer: Obama worked for 11 years at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, along at other law firms. You are aware of that, right? You might want to check out this thing called Wikipedia:

    n late 1988, Obama entered Harvard Law School. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year,[35] and president of the journal in his second year.[31][36] During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as an associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990.

    [...]

    In 1993 he joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.[43]

    It’s interesting that you would attack his time as a community organizer, since the group he worked for was created by Catholics:

    Two years after graduating, Obama was hired in Chicago as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Roseland, West Pullman and Riverdale on Chicago’s South Side.

    You’re also aware that Allen West is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which by your standards, makes him a racist? Marco Rubio is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Conference (the GOP counter to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus), does that make him a racist too?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  59. @Jenos Idanian: The same 2002 Olympics that Romney ran that made $100 million in profit after the federal government bailed them out for $323 million?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  60. Racehorse says:

    We need someone who will stand up to the Russians. Back in the 50′s through 80′s, the Russians tried to take over everything. We certainly don’t need that to happen again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  61. @Jenos Idanian: Um, Jenos, I don’t think you understand what Romney’s job was. He raised money, he wasn’t master of ceremonies or protocol officer. At most that would give him experience for running for President, not being President.

    Meanwhile, Wikipedia again:

    He [Obama] introduced two initiatives bearing his name: Lugar–Obama, which expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons;

    [...]

    In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor.[77]

    [...]

    He sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran’s oil and gas industry, which has not passed committee; and co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism.[83]

    [...]

    Committees

    Obama held assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works and Veterans’ Affairs through December 2006.[85] In January 2007, he left the Environment and Public Works committee and took additional assignments with Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.[86] He also became Chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on European Affairs.[87] As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He met with Mahmoud Abbas before Abbas became President of the Palestinian National Authority, and gave a speech at the University of Nairobi condemning corruption within the Kenyan government.[88]

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  62. anjin-san says:

    Obama worked for 11 years at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, along at other law firms.

    It always amazes me that guys who sound like they would struggle to hold a job at Taco Bell will talk for hours about how Obama has no experience, never worked in the real world, has no track record and so on. If Obama he had never done anything in his life outside of academia, he would still be impressive.

    I dunno, maybe they are just confused because he wanted to put his considerable skills to use for something besides getting rich. Maybe they are pissed because those skills allowed him to get rich anyway.

    I think one of the core reasons Obama is so hated on the right is he was dead on in his comment about “bitter people clinging”. I can see how someone who is not happy about how their own life turned out might look at Obama with all his gifts and be consumed by anger and envy.

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  63. superdestroyer says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    Barack Obama’s private sector experience in international relations was working about about a year http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_International_Corporation#Barack_Obama

    Also Barack Obama only worked for the boutigue law firm for three years and left his name of the letterhead for a few more.

    Of course, you could also point out that for a person whose father was a foreign citizen, for someone who lived outside of the U.S. for several years as a child, studied at the most exclusive prep school in mult-culture Hawaii, studied at Columbia and Harvard, President Obama never learned a foreign language.

    One would think that after progressive telling Americans to learn foreign languages that they would question why someone of President Obama experience only speaks Spanish.

    Of course, in the long run, as the U.S. becomes a one-party-state qualifications will also become irrelevant. Being the best in the media and the most charismatic will be the most important.

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  64. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    the question is how much foreign relations President Obama and with that, he did not have very much. Also, unlike Bill Clinton, it does not appear that he worked very hard to educate himself in the field.

    If anything should be taken from the biography of Bill Clinton, it should be that anyone wanting to be president should spend a decade or more studying for the position. That is something that Romney neglected to do.

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  65. george says:

    @Hey Norm:

    @ T. Watson & M. Reynolds…
    No doubt.
    But $250M makes that a lot easier to deal with than it is for someone who just had their Medicaid slashed in order to to pay for more tax cuts for the guy with $250M.

    True. Though its still harder for her than to be a middle class, healthy person – I know a number of people with MS. I don’t know a single one who wouldn’t give everything they have to not have it. Some are risking strange, potentially life threatening experimental cures, to try to get over it. Health is one of those you take for granted, until you don’t have it – and then it becomes much more important than wealth. On the other hand, I doubt its as hard on Romney as it is on his wife.

    In terms of experience, comparing Romney now to Obama back in 2008, there’s not enough difference to make a difference. If lack of foreign policy experience was Romney’s only failing, I’d vote for him in a second. Unfortunately its not.

    And I have a suspicion that in term of foreign policy, they’d end up being as indistinguishable as Bush and Obama turned out to be …

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  66. @anjin-san: As I pointed out previously:

    In 1993 he [Obama] joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.[43]

    As to languages:

    Barack Obama himself claims to speak no foreign languages.[52] Others however, including President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, claim he speaks Indonesian at a conversational level.[53] He picked up the language while he lived in Jakarta from age six to ten with his mother and stepfather, an Indonesian native. Yudhoyono noted that, in a phone call to him, Obama seemed fairly fluent in the language.[53] There is doubt, however, that his level of expertise in the language would be adequate to conduct foreign relations entirely in Indonesian.[53] He can deliver Spanish with a decent accent, but admits to only knowing “15 words” and having a poor knowledge of the language.[54]

    It’s also funny that you would say that Obama has never learned a foreign language and then say he “only speaks Spanish”.

    Oy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  67. jukeboxgrad says:

    superdestroyer:

    Barack Obama’s private sector experience in international relations was working about about a year

    I highlighted some important words. A more brazen example of goalpost-moving would be hard to find. Before what you said was this:

    I thinked President Obama worked in the private sector for a few months.

    Next time you decide to “thinked,” you need to “thinked” harder. You’re making this too easy. You’re a “superdestroyer” of nothing but this: your own credibility.

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  68. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “Romney can actually point to things he did. Including keeping the Olympic Committees of well over a hundred countries happy. Obama? Didn’t show up that often, didn’t accomplish anything of substance that anyone can point to.”

    That was then…this is now. So Romney kept Olympic Committees happy.

    Obama’s the President of the United States. That’s a BFD.

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  69. Hey Norm says:

    Seems everyone has pointed out Jenos myths and falsehoods…not that he/she will ever accept accountibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  70. toaster pastry says:

    @James Joyner: @James Joyner: It must be exhausting being this wrong all the time. I’m not sure how you manage. It is good to see an enterprising fellow such as your self attempting to ride the wingnut welfare gravy train, but you’ll find out like many before you that Romney does not reward his loyal trolls. You’re just another sucker, waiting to be grifted by the father of lies, one Willard Mitt Romney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  71. toaster pastry says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Oh, so Romney kept the Olympics folks happy.

    On Obama’s watch, and under his direction one Osama Bin Laden was killed. Pakistan’s relationship with US survived our black ops campaign (a clear diplomatic win, to boot)

    Obama has drawn down the troops in Iraq, despite a recalcitrant Congress and GOP.

    I could go on. And on. And on.

    Romney has NO FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE. NONE.

    Despite attempts to misrepresent the facts of the situation, the overwhelmingly obvious take away from all this is that it’s better for Romney if people just avoid the topic of FP experience in the first place. He’s got nothing to bring to the table there. The more you lie about it, the more desperate you seem.

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  72. xcorley says:

    The fact that Romney got to talk to foreigners about international sports does not equal “foreign policy experience”.

    Someone needs to remind James Joyner that it’s 2012, not 2008. Obama has 4 years of presidential foreign policy experience over Romney’s Utah Olympics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  73. bk says:

    You deserve to get your ass handed to you for this weak sauce.

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  74. al-Ameda says:

    Speaking of experience. Did anyone else notice that Romney and his ‘fiscally conservative’ Utah delegation managed to get $856M in subsidies from the federal government for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics?

    Mitt saved the olympics by getting the Feds to pay for everything.

    Mitt is the least authentic major national politician of the last 30 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  75. merl says:

    @James Joyner: sorry dude, you’re man is going to lose. I hope the Soviets don’t take over. hahahaha don’t worry, you can fluff him again in 2016.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  76. Moderate Mom says:

    Jimmy Carter didn’t have any foreign policy experience when he ran against and beat an incumbent President. Ronald Reagan didn’t have any foreign policy experience when he ran against and beat an incumbent President. Bill Clinton didn’t have any foreign policy experience when he ran against and beat an incumbent President. The lack of experience didn’t stop any of these challengers from winning. But, all three had two things in common: each had been the Governor of a state and in each election the electorate was dealing with a crappy economy.

    Will history repeat itself? Who knows? But I wouldn’t bet the rent money against it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  77. Mike Dixon says:

    @Timothy Watson:
    Hey man, the Romneys own a home in Canada! Also, too, I guess you “forgot” that you can see Mexico from La Jolla.
    And what can you see from Chicago or Hawaii? Nada, rein.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  78. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Someone needs to remind James Joyner that it’s 2012, not 2008. Obama has 4 years of presidential foreign policy experience over Romney’s Utah Olympics.

    Ahem. Try reading the article criticized:

    But Obama is now President of the United States and has been for 17 months as of noon today. At some point, that starts to add up to real executive experience. Certainly, come the 2012 campaign, he’ll have more relevant experience than any conceivable candidate the Republicans can offer: almost four years in the very office being contested!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  79. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Timothy Watson: No, you don’t understand Romney’s role. The 2002 Games were on the verge of collapsing entirely thanks to a bribery scandal, and Romney was brought in as CEO of the Games Organizing Committee. He cleaned up the huge messes, turned the financial situation from a $379 million deficit into a $100 million net surplus, managed the security arrangements (you might have forgotten this was about a year after 9/11), and in general saved the Games from being cut back, relocated, or canceled entirely. And he worked his ass off in the process.

    I realize that, as an Obama apologist, you’re not familiar with the term, but that is an accomplishment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  80. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Thanks for confirming, Norm, that you’re a lying sack.

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  81. An Interested Party says:

    He…turned the financial situation from a $379 million deficit into a $100 million net surplus…

    Assisted with money from the federal government…I guess Romney was for federal bailouts before he was against them…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  82. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Yeah, because “security to prevent a terrorist attack against a very tempting target a year after 911″ is not a federal concern. And security was a major component of the federal funding.

    And federal funding was about 30% of the total budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. An Interested Party says:

    Yeah, because “security to prevent a terrorist attack against a very tempting target a year after 911″ is not a federal concern. And security was a major component of the federal funding.

    No one claimed otherwise…but it is disingenuous to talk about what a profit Romney made without factoring in the federal money that assisted him…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  84. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “I realize that, as an Obama apologist, you’re not familiar with the term, but that is an accomplishment.”

    Here’s a more recent Romney accomplishment (from his Wiki page):

    He presided over a series of spending cuts and increases in fees that eliminated an up to $1.5 billion deficit. He also signed into law the Massachusetts health care reform legislation, which provided near-universal health insurance access via subsidies and state-level mandates and was the first of its kind in the nation.

    Let’s talk about the Olympics though…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  85. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: The really remarkable part is that Romney got anything done, considering that he never had more than 20% Republicans in either House. ON the other hand, Obama had both Houses for his first two years, and still has the Senate… and he still finds ways to blame Republicans for his own lack of accomplishments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  86. al-Ameda says:

    Romney and his Utah delegation managed to get the Feds to subsidize $856M of 2002 Olympic Games costs. It’s easy to balance the Games’ budget when the Feds bail you out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  87. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    and he still finds ways to blame Republicans for his own lack of accomplishments.

    Blame? Republicans are still upset that Obama bailed out GM and prevented the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Auto Industry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  88. An Interested Party says:

    Romney and his Utah delegation managed to get the Feds to subsidize $856M of 2002 Olympic Games costs. It’s easy to balance the Games’ budget when the Feds bail you out.

    Hence, he was for federal bailouts before he was against them…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  89. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “and he still finds ways to blame Republicans for his own lack of accomplishments. ”

    I think you missed what I was driving at. You seem very impressed with Romney’s Olympics performance, when his work on Romneycare is both more recent and relevant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0