Posts Tagged obama

Presidential Candidate Leadership Experience Scorecard

At dinner last night with friends, we discussed politics and many agreed that Barack Obama did not have enough leadership experience to prepare him for POTUS. So, I decided to do a quick scorecard of “leadership experience” of all the candidates. I decided after throwing it together to post it here.
First some disclaimers: This scorecard is entirely arbitrary, quick, and dirty. It is also really a scorecard of leadership/political/management experience instead of a true analysis of “leadership”. The list of qualities of “leadership” is lengthy and arguable, and I will leave that argument to the thousands of books already written on the topic. Finally, as shown below, the scorecard is simply a quickly-assembled list of 11 roles/experiences that might prepare a candidate to be successful as POTUS. The 11 are:

  • VP
  • State Governor
  • Cabinet (heading any large federal government agency)
  • US Senate
  • US House of Representatives
  • State elected official
  • Local elected official
  • Military officer
  • CEO (or any managing executive role in a large company)
  • MBA
  • Political Science, Foreign Relations, or Public Admin degree

And then I checked Wikipedia to complete the scorecard for the three remaining candidates for POTUS (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain). For contrast, I included the previous four POTUSs (POTUSi?) as well. The results:

  H Clinton Obama McCain W Bush B Clinton H Bush Reagan
VP           X  
Governor       X X   X
Cabinet           X  
Senate X X X        
H of R     X     X  
State   X     X    
Military     X X   X X
CEO       X   X  
MBA       X      
PoliSci X X     X    
Total: 2 3 3 4 3 5 2


But, obviously, all these things are not equal. So I decided to weight the 11 categories like this: VP: 5, Governor: 4, Cabinet: 3, Senate and H of R: 2, every thing else gets a 1. I also spotted a few points for Hillary’s First Lady (3 points under VP) and gave Reagan a CEO point for his presidency of SAG. With that weighted scale, the leadership experience scorecard winners are:

  H Clinton Obama McCain W Bush B Clinton H Bush Reagan
VP (3)         5  
Governor       4 4   4
Cabinet           3  
Senate 2 2 2        
H of R     2     2  
State   1     1    
Military     1 1   1 1
CEO       1   1 1
MBA       1      
PoliSci 1 1     1    
Total: 6 4 5 7 6 12 6


So, if we are to judge how successful a candidate will be as POTUS based on their “leadership” experience, the best of the bunch would be both of the Bush boys. And the recent favorites from both parties (Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan) only score a 6 – half of the total for the clear winner, Bush the First. As for our current three candidates, it is a close race. The three points spotted to Hillary for for First Lady put’s her on top of McCain by one point.
Now, to wrap things up, I will spot one last set of (completely arbitrary) points. I start with the assumption that every day you are alive you gain wisdom that makes you a better leader. So, for every year in age, I will give each candidate one-tenth of a point. Hillary gets 6, Obama gets 4.5, and McCain gets 7.1. The final tally this increasingly arbitrary scorecard of leadership experience:

  • John McCain: 12.1
  • Hillary Clinton: 12.0
  • Barack Obama: 8.5

So, when you do this (admittedly arbitrary) math, Obama is considerably less experienced for the job (30% less so than Hillary or McCain).
Now we just need to decide if leadership experience is what we need most in a POTUS now…

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