WASHINGTON, June 6, 2014 — The list of potential candidates for the not-so-far-off 2016 presidential election makes for interesting reading.
On the blue team we have Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley, and a grab-bag of assorted Democratic hopefuls. On the red team, we have Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and other Republicans looking to make a name for themselves.
Most of the people on this list share a common problem: a lack of executive experience.
With the possible exception of Uncle Joe Biden, very few of the 2016 hopefuls have the experience that many would deem necessary to run for or even hold the title of “leader of the free world.” The two with the most experience are Clinton and Biden, but in this particular field that is not saying much.
Joe Biden has been doing nothing for the last five years except make dents in big important chairs and tell people to buy shotguns to shoot through doors. Before he was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Biden represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate for over 30 years.
He chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Narcotics Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. He has a lot of “experience,” but he is about as electable as the Hamburglar, who is only slightly more sane than Uncle Joe.
Hillary Clinton would be next. She served eight years as a senator from New York, but did not serve on any committees. The brightest spot on her resume in terms of qualifications for the Oval Office is also her darkest one. As Secretary of State she indeed would garner some experience of managing the foreign policy of a nation, but it just so happens that the United States has not had a cohesive foreign policy since Barack Obama took office.
Her stint as the top diplomat also included the Benghazi attacks, which are still under investigation and to which Clinton is tied.
As Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley has some executive experience, but his mismanagement of the ACA rollout in his state will cost the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars.
On the Republican side, the man with the most experience is Jeb Bush, brother and son to two former U.S. presidents. As governor of the fourth-most-populous state in the nation, he has had executive experience in government, and he has had to face the accountability level of the buck stopping with him.
However, the nation will not embrace the idea of another Bush being in the White House until they have exhausted every other possible option. To conservatives, Jeb Bush is too centrist, and to progressives he is too conservative.
Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul have received a tremendous amount of popular support, despite being relatively new to the game. But filibusters, shutdowns, and views on abortion and gay marriage may cause many voters, particularly among millenials, to stay home or vote left.
That boils us down to a single point in looking at all of these candidates. With most of these potential runners lacking in experience, they will have to run on something else.
This election will be about ideas.
While Biden and Clinton will claim experience, the rest of the field will run on their ideas and the direction they wish to take the country. The last few years have certainly provided plenty of chances for them to bloody themselves and take stances on the issues.
For the Democrats, that has meant getting tough on guns, promoting the ACA, promoting gay marriage, pushing amnesty for illegal aliens, entitlement protection, and protecting the NSA. For Republicans, it has been guns, fighting the ACA, promoting the sanctity of marriage, fighting amnesty, trying to cut the budget, and reigning in the NSA.
There is a pattern here.
The 2016 election cannot rely on the experience of each individual candidate, it has to rely on what they stand for and what they believe in. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton believe are the scions of Progressivism, they will both continue to take this nation to the left.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio will take it to the right, and Rand Paul will be a quasi-libertarian in Republican clothing, although his stances on gay marriage and abortion will put doubts in the minds of actual libertarians.
President Obama paved the way for this to happen. In 2008 he defeated John McCain, a man with substantial experience in government, and he did so without the experience many said was necessary to do the job. He ran on the ideas of “hope” and “change” and he won.
He brought together people who usually would not vote, or who were apathetic, and he lit a fire under them.
They looked past his inexperience and only saw his passion. Now, five years later, with plummeting approval ratings and a buffet of scandals to choose from, it seems Obama may not have been the best for the job. But the fact is he won on ideas alone, with minimal experience.
That is what this election will be, with candidates for the most part stepping to the plate with level experience. One could even argue that at time when trust in government is waning, an individual running on government experience alone may actually be at a disadvantage.
With the exception of Biden and Clinton, the blood in this particular candidate pool is relatively young. Candidates will probably want to avoid harping on experience, attacking instead the ideas their opponent endorses.
If we see Clinton, Biden, and Bush nudged out in this election, it will be a sign that America is ready for a new crop of politicians, and a new crop of ideas.
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