executive experience

I was thinking about the charge that Barack Obama lacks executive experience: they say he has even less than Governor Palin. It occurred to me that a modern presidential campaign is a rather large enterprise of which the candidate is the executive. That thought sent me to OpenSecrets.org, which provides some handy charts of campaign contributions and expenditures. Obama has raised about $390 million so far and spent $312 million. That’s a lot less than the $4.3 billion annual budget of Alaska; but it’s a lot of money, and he controls it all directly. He’s spent a little less than half–$152 million–on media, the vast majority of that on broadcast. I don’t know how many people he employs, but he has spent $40 million on salaries, not counting consultants and vendors. This whole enterprise is an enormous start-up, operating in a highly competitive environment and under relentless scrutiny. One can debate whether running such an operation is a good test of the skills required of a president. That it represents “executive experience” seems clear.