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GUEST EDITORIAL

The presidency is no job for a rookie

While you might root for an inexperienced, but incredibly talented NFL quarterback and many bosses at many types of companies would promote an enthusiastic, but relatively junior employee, there remain areas where experience matters. For example, I'm fine with a med student taking my blood pressure or administering an IV, but I'd rather that same fellow not perform my brain surgery.

I'm also pretty sure I want an experienced airline pilot who spent a lot of time flying cargo or people who are not me at the controls of my cross-country flight. That said, I'll still watch a TV show starring a comedian with a limited acting background and I'd be okay with my child having a young, but enthusiastic kindergarten teacher.

Exuberance and intelligence make up for inexperience in many areas, but certain jobs require a little more than spunk and raw ability. Generally I'd consider the presidency of the United States one of those situations. I'm just not sure if two years in the Senate with much of that time spent running for president really qualifies someone to lead our country.

Barack Obama seems like an honest fellow capable of giving a rousing speech and he has clearly found a following with a diverse group of people. He portrays himself as an outsider and his limited time in office does make him less an insider than Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Being an affable outsider, though, does not automatically qualify someone for office.

Though Clinton's claim that being married to the president makes her more experienced seems laughable, she must have learned something about how the job gets done in eight years as First Lady. She has also served more than a full-term in the Senate and while those might be pretty sketchy credentials, they greatly outpace Obama's.

Though McCain has spent much of his professional life in the Senate and has limited management experience, he outclasses both his rivals in all areas. McCain has years of foreign policy experience, has repeatedly shown an ability to compromise on bi-partisan legislation and, in this time of war, it cannot be argued that he is the most qualified of the three to serve as commander-in-chief.

I'd accept, or even celebrate, Obama's lack of governmental experience if he had a hefty business resume from his pre-politics days. Unfortunately, though he might have vision and charisma, Obama has never managed anything bigger than his campaign and the White House is not the place for on-the-job training.

Making any real changes to our system, not to mention simply running the country, requires using the existing system to get what you want done. Jimmy Carter was a likeable fellow who spoke well and had a following, but he didn't know how to work the system and his presidency failed miserably.

Obama might make a good president, but if charisma and portraying yourself as an outsider were all you need to run the country, than why not make Dennis Hopper our next president? Obama may deserve his day, but that day has not come yet.

Daniel B. Kline's work appears in over 100 papers weekly. His new book, a collection of columns, "Easy Answers to Every Problem," can be ordered at Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. Daniel B. Kline can be reached at dan@notastep.com.

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