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Based on the Iowa results, there is an extraordinary negative correlation between years of federal elected experience and support.  Look back at the candidates service in either elected or appointed federal office compared to their results in Iowa, and the pattern is clear.  

In reverse order of Federal service (for these purposes I am excluding staff jobs such as the Counsel role Hillary Clinton held on the Watergate committee.  I am also excluding third-tier candidates like Gravel and Kucinich who are not in serious contention for the nomination).

Joseph Biden:  Biden has served as a U.S. Senator since 1973, and therefore has 35 years of Congressional service.  Biden won 23 state delegates and dropped out of the race.

Chris Dodd:  Dodd was first elected to the House in 1974 and has served in either the House or Senate continuously since his inauguration in 1975 -- 33 years of Congressional service.  Dodd received just 1 state delegate and has dropped out of the race.  

Bill Richardson:  Began service in the House in 1983; appointed UN Ambassador in 1997 and Energy secretary from 1998-2001.  18 years of federal service.  Richardson received 53 state delegates, about 2%.  

Hillary Rodham Clinton:  Became first lady in 1993.  Began service in the Senate in 2001.  8 years of experience as first lady and 7 years of federal elective office.  (I'm not making a judgment on whether experience as first lady is comparable to service in a policymaking office).  Clinton won 737 state delegates, or 29%.

John Edwards:  Served one full term as U.S. Senator.  6 years experience in federal office.  Received 744 state delegates or 30%.  

Barack Obama:  Has served 3 years of his first term as a U.S. Senator.  Received 940 state delegates or 38%.  

Of course, the correlation is not perfect -- the number of delegates is not exactly in proportion to the number of years of federal service -- but it is clear that a long resume in federal service was not an asset in Iowa.  It's late to try to create a new dynamic -- and indeed, the experience and "ready from day one" rhetoric has been a primary selling point for Biden, Dodd, Richardson and Clinton.  Clearly Iowa is just one small state, and the discussion can change -- but the compressed schedule only exaggerates the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire in shaping the race from here on.  Clinton has today and tomorrow to convince people that experience is critical, and that Obama's lack of experience is dangerous.  So far, it appears that she has not been successful.  

Originally posted to Headlight on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 09:52 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting diary and a good point (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Better than this diary has!! LOL (0+ / 0-)

    Dkos = democracy. The only problem is that both give voice to idiot and genius alike. Read an anti-Hillary diary lately?

    by JamesBrown4ever on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 10:09:00 AM PST

  •  In my opinion, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lepanto, pwrmac5

    it is the whole experience thing that is making people crazy. Look at the ratings of Congress, they are in the toilet. Look at the elections of 2006, the newcomers won easily. I think the American people are not looking for someone with "experience". I have heard time and time again, "we need some new people in there running things, these people running things today are so detached from reality and the way we live, they just don't get it." I think the Clinton campaign has made a terrible mistake trying to sell Hillary on experience. They are so insulated and like Bill's opponent in 1992, who could not understand how the average person was suffering under his oppressive economy, the Clintons are not understanding that the American people are tired of those in power only making deals that maintain their power, and just thinking, we, the people, can be fooled by their rhetoric.
    It is true, Bush is stupid, and had no experience, but just how many Presidents were experienced in handling an attack on the U.S. especially an attack like the one on 9/11. The problem with the Bush Presidency goes way beyond the lack of experience, as a matter of fact Bush relied on those who had years and years of experience, and they fucked up, because the only real experience they seemed to have and bring forth was the experience in making it a more comfortable world for themselves and their buddies.
    I think with either Obama or Edwards, we have a leg up, because we have a President who will consider our needs first, and because of considering our needs their judgement will guide them to do the right thing. Will mistakes be made, yes, they always are, but neither one will make any of the mistakes that were made by this current administration, or for that matter of the Clinton administration, who opted for NAFTA, rather than fight for Universal health care.
    I think right now at this time in our history, experience is worth shit, and the "hope" of getting our country back is what will win the day.

  •  experience is just as good as judgment... (0+ / 0-)

    i like obama, a lot.

    but, honestly, all he talks about is change. and do you want to know why? because he doesn't have the experience to point out accomplishments.

    how do i know he can bring this "change" that he keeps repeating and talking about? he hasn't brought it about before in the senate. i can't name any major bill that he passed that brought about this much needed "change" from the status quo. the same with edwards - edwards was a VP candidate and a one term senator who accomplished nothing as either.

    they have great ideas, but are they realistic? can they get them accomplished? have they already achieved "change"? the answer, simply, is no.

    all this election shows is that the media controls our political perceptions, and what used to be politics isn't anymore. i mean...could franklin roosvelt have been elected president today? could an old, crippled, somewhat charismatic man be elected president today? no - the media wouldn't give him the light of day. they brushed off joe biden was the "boring old white man" and didn't even ask him half as many questions during the debates. they were running breaking news headlines when they announced to run and showing profiles on hillary, edwards, 9iu11ani, & obama since 2006...

    people don't care about issues anymore - they care about who is the most "likable", who can say "change" the most time in a sentence, and who can haven't accomplished anything (obama, edwards, clinton, huckabee, 9iu11ani...i can't name a single thing any of them did during their whole career that was successful.)

    i mean, i like obama, but i don't know how much i can trust him. he didn't accomplish very much as a senator (he had 3 years, maybe he should have stayed longer to prove he can?) - how do i know he can accomplish it as president? (the same goes for edwards & clinton. clinton - you didn't do anything as first lady, bill wasn't a good president because of you, and watching the president doesn't mean you can be president).

    what does experience mean? it means that they can, and will, accomplish what they mean to do. they have done it already and can do it again. experience means that they will be ready to handle the burdens of the office - be able to handle foreign leaders and maybe a crisis. it means that they know how to work in politics - how to get legislation pass, how to work with the opposite party. it means they know what they were doing, and can do it, and will do it.

    i'm sick of "well they have good judgment!". so do i, and i'm not running for school board. judgment means nothing unless you can PROVE that you have good judgment with EXPERIENCE.

  •  "Experience" = Iraq war, empowering Bush (0+ / 0-)

    and narrowly missing a permanent dictatorship.  Edwards, sadder but wiser, HRC, not even sad about it.  Obama: right all along.

    "They say I need to be seasoned; they say I need to be stewed. They say, `We need to boil all the hope out of him -- like us -- and then he'll be ready.'"

    by Inland on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 10:30:31 AM PST

  •  Bill had it right on experience (pity Hillary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    isn't listening):

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 10:37:52 AM PST

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