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Does administrative experience matter?

By Scott Tibbs, March 30, 2015

We have heard a lot of criticism these last seven years in relation to Obama that he lacks administrative experience, and now we are hearing the same about Ted Cruz. Unless someone has been the governor of a state (especially a large state) then he is not seem to have the administrative experience necessary to be the chief executive. But the big question is, does the President need that experience?

The federal government takes in and spends over three trillion dollars every year. The federal government's workforce is absolutely massive, spread across various agencies and bureaucracies. The President, even if he spent every waking moment doing nothing but managing, could not hope to even begin to oversee the federal government. This is why the President appoints heads of various agencies, who then have managers and supervisors under them. This leaves the President free to focus on more of a big picture agenda instead of the minutia of the federal juggernaut.

A bigger question, and the one we should be asking, is whether a candidate for President has good judgment, good character, and a good ideological focus. (The last of which is obviously different for each voter.) Can the President pick good people to run the various federal agencies, and are those people capable of managing the managers under them? Is the President a good judge of character, so he is not picking bad actors to run federal agencies? Is the President himself a trustworthy person?

The focus on administrative experience has never made sense to me. I am much more interested in the President's character, discernment and judgment, as well as his policy agenda than in a skill set he will never actually use in office. For an office like mayor or county auditor, administrative experience matters and should be at the top of the list of qualifications voters consider. For the President of these United States, the concern is misplaced and can distract from what really matters.