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Re: The Risky One

Jen, just as the “risky” argument has proved once more to be a problematic form of political attack,  it is time for politicians to retire the “experience” argument for all time, at least at the presidential level. Four of the past five presidents were all vastly less experienced than their rivals, and their rivals attempted to use it against them to little or no effect. Experience was what Gerald Ford had and Jimmy Carter didn’t; what Jimmy Carter had and Ronald Reagan didn’t; what George H.W. Bush had and Bill Clinton didn’t; what Al Gore had and George W. Bush didn’t. Candidates love to make this case. Arguing that the other guy doesn’t possess the requisite experience is a wildly tempting line for a politician because it offers means of going on the attack that is neither ideological nor personal — the problem is not the other’s ideas or his character but rather something over which the rival has no control. And it makes them feel good, because they get credit for being older and wiser.

Candidates and their consultants will continue to be tempted by the experience argument. But, as my Israeli nephew once said, it don’t working.

It is clear, now, that a relative lack of experience is almost certainly a plus when running for president. It makes the candidate seem fresh, unbloodied by the bruising partisan fights of Washington, and able to come in like Heracles and clean the Augean stables.  the ugliest things one candidate can say about another, because it suggests the election of the other guy has an implicitly murderous component



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