Why Does Campaign Experience Count?

I am still a bit confused about this whole "experience" issue. Among the responses to my last post on whether experience of some sort or another is necessary for a Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate was the argument that the experience of running a Presidential campaign is itself important experience for the job. So, for instance, some argue that Senator Obama's successful oversight of his own campaign has provided him with sufficient executive experience to be President. (Indeed, this is an argument Senator Obama himself has made in comparing his experience to Governor Palin's experience as a suburban mayor.)

This argument seems a bit tautological: A candidate who runs for President has sufficient experience to be President because he ran for President. Any candidate who runs a successful campaign is qualified due to that success, and that a candidate's lack of experience will be cured if only we support him or her so they can campaign long enough to be qualified. It also suggests that any candidate that has not imploded by November is, ipso facto, qualified for the job.

This all makes me think I should run for President. If anyone dares suggest I lack the experience, I'll simply tell them that's why I need their support: So I can have a successful campaign and gain the experience I need to have in order to be a good President. Any takers?

UPDATE: Commenters are correct to note that Senator Obama noted his campaign experience to compare his executive experience with that of Governor Palin, but not claim that this alone was sufficient experience to be President (though he did compare his campaign experience to hers as Mayor, omitting her experience as Governor). Fair enough, he did not make the argument in as strong a form as my caricature. Others have, however, particularly those who do not think a few years in the Senate without significant committee accomplishments is relevant experience for the Presidency. So, for instance, I've heard this argument made with regard to John Edwards, and (several years back, from the other side of the aisle) with regard to Steve Forbes. Insofar as experience, in itself, is valuable (and, as I've noted, I'm skeptical that "experience" is the variable we should focus upon and found the McCain camp's argument against Obama unconvincing), I find the focus on campaign experience a bit odd.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Why Does Campaign Experience Count?
  2. When Does Experience Matter?