By Sarah Nelson, EdD, US Daily Review Contributor.
Before the Iowa caucuses were held January 2008, Oprah did what she does best, package a concept and market it to millions of Americans. While she usually accomplished this by featuring gadgets and books on ‘Oprah’s favorite things Christmas list’, she did it for the first time with a presidential campaign. Using her unmatched marketing skills, she sold us the concept of – a Senator from IL without any executive experience – as our next president. Minimizing Obama’s lack of any executive experience, Oprah wrapped up our 2008 Christmas gift by explaining to us that going door to door and talking to folks on the South Side Chicago had prepared Obama to lead this nation. Americans elected an untested and untried 46 year old Senator. This year, republicans have a 45 year old Senator who went door to door in 99 Iowa precincts and organized the community. Subsequently, voters rewarded him for his door to door campaigning raising the issue of ‘a second look at Santorum’.
In her closing arguments before the Iowa caucuses, Santorum’s wife explained to us they both grew up socio-economically disadvantaged and they understand what it’s like to be a poor American. This script is reminiscent of how Oprah marketed Obama in 2008 by arguing Obama’s disadvantaged socio-economic background, voting record in the senate, and walking door to door to organize the community compensated for his lack of executive experience. In his closing arguments, before the Iowa caucuses, Governor Romney reminded us that he has a proven track record of turning around failed organizations and his experience in making executive decisions during a crisis has prepared him to lead us during this time of crisis. Romney promised he has what it takes to make the federal government function more effectively and efficiently based on his proven record as a business executive and governor. The issue voters must address is this: To what extent does executive experience count in picking a president 2012?
After the Iowa caucuses, Santorum made a heartfelt speech arguing that a team effort will be needed to build this country and make it strong again. While I understand Santorum’s point that it will take a village to get the job done, as President and Commander In Chief, he will be expected to make executive decisions during times of crisis. In discussing the difference between legislative experience and executive experience, Governor Nikki Hailey said she has worked as part of a team in the legislative side of government where she voted for bills and she is now working as an executive where she signs bills. She explained to us that negotiating to pass and vote for bills or introducing them as part of a team in the legislative branch of government is important but does not provide the opportunity to execute important decisions. She concluded that Romney’s executive experience will be instrumental in leading this nation out of the current economic crisis.
Many republicans were concerned about Barack Obama lack of executive experience in 2008. It is the republicans turn now to demonstrate to the nation that their belief in hiring an experienced executive to be president is as true for Rick Santorum in 2012 as it was for Barack Obama in 2008. While Santorum’s ideology differs from Obama’s, his lack of executive experience makes him less prepared than Governor Romney to address the myriad of domestic and foreign issues that will face the next president. If republicans fail to hold Santorum to the same standard they held Obama for lack of executive experience, it will be difficult for them to credibly ask independent minded voters to elect an in-experienced Senator when an experienced president is running for re-election.
In the January 3rd, 2012 Iowa caucuses, evangelicals showed up and voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 the same way white people showed up and voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Fair minded Americans answered the pundits who had said Mormons are not expected to win because evangelicals distrust them. It was true of Obama in 2008 as it is true of Santorum in 2012 -a president who is untested and untried in the arena of executive decision making not prepared to lead this nation at a time of economic crisis. In 2008 Obama inherited a bad economy but as Governor Romney has said frequently, he made it worse. Many people (including those who share Obama’s ideology) attribute his failure to lack of executive experience. In 2012 when 50 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed and 14 million are on food stamps, Americans can’t risk hiring another untried and untested Senator. This year we need to hire an Executive not a Senator. Romney has an executive’s proven track record that gives independents confidence in his leadership.