Remember Darrell Bevell?
Oh, come on, sure you do. Tall. Athletic. A little nerdy. He played quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers in 1993, when they won the Rose Bowl.
Ah. Now you remember.
He graduated in 1995, and spent the next few years bouncing from one college coaching job to another. In 2000, he came to Green Bay to coach quarterbacks. Then, in 2006, the Minnesota Vikings made him their offensive coordinator.
Offensive coordinator for a pro football team. That’s a big deal. And he got there only 10 years after leaving college. Only 6 years after getting his first NFL job.
That’s fast. Meteoric, even.
But, let's say he got that job in, oh, let's say four years. Or, say, if he’d become a head coach, back in 2004.
That would have been fast.
But nobody rises that fast. You can’t. You shouldn’t. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you accept such a prominent job – such a huge responsibility – without putting in the time. Without paying the dues.
For example: in 1958, Colin Powell was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Four years later, he made captain. Fourteen years after that, he graduated from the National War College. He made brigadier general two years later, and then, in 1989, was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Thirty-one years from entry-level to The Man, and rightly so. That’s not a job for a neophyte. Not a place to stick some greenhorn who hasn’t seen it all with his own eyes.
You don’t become CEO of a major corporation four years out of business school. You don’t become Chief of Police four years after joining the force.
You don’t. You can’t. It takes time to learn. It takes personal knowledge of a variety of situations, events, emergencies, and how to deal with them. You have to understand the limits of your authority and of those around you. Know the personalities. The relationships.
Some positions, okay, four years is plenty of time. Department manager at Wal-Mart, for example. Others, though – head coach, general, CEO – four years isn’t enough.
President? Now, President of the United States…sure, that’s okay. Four years is plenty.
If you’re a Democrat.
Impressive resume, Democrat-style
This week, it became official: Barack Obama, who on Inauguration Day will have served in the U.S. Senate for four full years, is the Democrat nominee for President of the United States.
Experience, for the Democrats, is not a prerequisite.
They could have chosen experience. Experience was available to them. Obama’s main rival, Hillary Clinton, has twice his experience in the Senate, not to mention eight years as First Lady. Hey, it was a front-row seat. It counts for something.
What about the other candidates? Well, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) has served in the U.S. Senate since 1973 (Obama turned 12 that year). He chaired the Judiciary Committee for 8 years, and currently chairs the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) was elected to the House in 1974 and the Senate in 1980. He chairs the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) was elected to the House in 1982, where he served for 14 years before being appointed Ambassador to the United Nations, and then Secretary of Energy. He’s been Governor of New Mexico now for over five years.
That’s an impressive resume.
But no, no, and no. Those candidates – each with resumes covering nearly my entire life – earned zero delegates during the campaign.
Instead, the one-term Senator from North Carolina was the Democrats’ third choice.
Clinton was the second choice.
The guy with a high school diploma’s worth of experience was the first.
This is not the action of a serious political party.
Personal experience. Time on the job. Personal knowledge of what it takes, what it means, what it is to hold power at the highest levels and what you can and can’t do with it and when. At least three Democrat candidates have it.
But not the candidate the Democrats chose. Not Barack Obama.
No matter, says the Democratic Party. We don’t need experience. We need Hope. And Change. And a winning smile, and a vote against the war, and a chance to call our opponents racist.
That’s all we need. It’ll be fine. We’re sure.
Two years ago, the Green Bay Packers hired Mike McCarthy to be their head coach. He’s been coaching in the NFL since 1993.
Had they hired Darrell Bevell, instead…well, Wisconsin’s a majority Democrat state, right? Obama won here by 18 points.
So. An inexperienced kid, at the helm of the most storied franchise in the NFL…Packers fans wouldn't have minded? Right?
And even if they did care, well, that's football. Much more important than the Presidency.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Remember Darrell Bevell?