Behind the gap

Maybe it's worth taking a few minutes to think about the so-called experience gap. Barack Obama is 47 years old. He has been nationally prominent since 2004, and had been growing in prominence in Illinois for awhile, having been in the state senate since 1996.

Stop there for a minute. Even before he arrived on the national stage Obama spent eight years in the Illinois state legislature. That's twelve years in electoral politics and twelve years as a legislator. I don't think you can look at Obama's performance in either area and conclude that he hasn't been at this stuff long enough to figure out how to do it. But Obama has no experience, so whatever it is that he got out of those twelve years, that doesn't count.

Okay. Moving along. What was Obama doing before he began frittering away his time playing at politics? Well, one thing he was doing was lecturing on Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. The University of Chicago's Statement Regarding Barack Obama is worth quoting in full:
From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

One thing that jumps out here is Obama's course load during his 12 years on the faculty of the University of Chicago School of Law. For those outside of the academic community, this would be somewhere between a one third and a one half time appointment. It's comparable to the course load that a well funded academic department might assign a tenure track professor - a significant amount of teaching, but with enough uncommitted time remaining to pursue other responsibilities. A tenured or tenure track faculty member would be expected to use that time to conduct research. Obama led a record setting voter registration project in 1992, married, practiced civil rights law from 1993-2002, wrote an acclaimed autobiograpy, fathered two children, served eight years in the state legislature, and ran a successful campaign for the U.S. Senate. So he keeps busy.

The second thing that jumps out is that this is the University of Chicago School of Law. This is an elite school at a near-the-top-of-the-world class university and Barack Obama has declined offers of a tenure track position. Obama landed this job in his early thirties with a cv that includes a J.D. from just about the only law school better than the University of Chicago (graduating magna cum laude no less) and a turn as President of the Harvard Law Review.

But Obama has no experience, so none of this counts. He's a lightweight. A guy who hasn't achieved anything. All style, no substance. A pointy headed perfesser at best, and who likes them?

Okay. Moving along. What was Obama doing before he retreated into the asceticism of the ivory tower? Well, he knocked around for a few years in the NYC, working for a PIRG and dropping a toe in the corporate world. Then he moved to Chicago and spent several years as a community organizer directing one of those faith based organizations that you hear so much about. But Obama has no experience, so none of that counts either.

Okay. Moving along. Please enjoy this video.

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