I suspect the American people would be troubled if I selected a treasuryThis is a pretty good comeback, which was already previewed by some media even before today's press conference (see this article). That would be an unassailable response if it did not use the losing argument that Clinton used in the primaries -- that she was "ready to lead on day one." Also, John McCain's experience was used against him; rather than benefiting him, his long exposure to government made him "out of touch," "more of the same," and a quintessential Washington insider. He could not "change" anything because he had already been around too long (and things still needed to be fixed). The commercial with vintage footage of McCain arriving in Washington as a young man captures the point I am trying to make. This argument appealed to younger voters who often described McCain as an "old man." They were not being affectionate.
secretary or a chairman of an economic council at one of the most critical
economic times in our history who had no experience in government whatsoever. .
. What we're going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking. . . .We need
people who will be able to hit the ground running. . . .
I love Obama's response though. It is a great political narrative. And most Americans have such a short memory that they probably do not recall most of the campaigning at this point. Also, I have always believed that experience matters; and judging from his cabinet and recent statement, Obama does too.
But one problem I have with this defense is that it means that politicians are either complete opportunists who lack a commitment to values of their own (e.g., conservative Gates working for progressive Obama) or that Obama is far more moderate than his campaign and many of his supporters have described him. Which explanation works for you?