1980 – 1984
Obama: B.A. in political science with a specialization in international relations from Columbia University.
Palin: Wasilla High School, captain of the state-champion basketball team. Miss Wasilla, runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, also Miss Congeniality, although that is now disputed.
Him: Ivy League degree.
1985 – 1990
Obama: moved to Chicago; became a community organizer as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization on Chicago’s far South Side. During his three years as the DCP’s director, its staff grew from 1 to 13 and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants’ rights organization.
Moved to Boston to attend Harvard Law School. Selected as an editor and then elected president of the Harvard Law Review, a full-time volunteer position functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the law review’s staff of 80 editors.
Palin: Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism, with a minor in political science from the University of Idaho. Brief stint as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations; left to join her husband in commercial fishing.
Him: sterling legal education.
1991 – 1995
Obama: graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School; received contract and advance to write a book (“Dreams from my Father”) as well as a fellowship at the University of Chicago Law School. Directed the Illinois Project Vote from April to October 1992, a voter registration drive with a staff of 10 and 700 volunteers that achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans in the state, leading Crain’s Chicago Business to name Obama to its 1993 list of “40 under Forty” powers to be. Appointed as a Lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 12-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development. Active in several community organizations, usually as a board member.
Palin: member of the Alasaka Independence Party which advocates “Alaska First”. Elected to Wasilla city council.
Him: Expert on our nation’s fundamental legal principles.
Her: plotted to leave the Union; thinks Pledge of Allegiance was written by our founding fathers, doesn’t know what a Vice President does.
1996 – 2000
Obama: promoted to Senior Lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. Elected to the Illinois Senate. Sponsored more than 800 bills. In 2000, lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one.
Palin: elected as mayor of Wasilla (population 5,470), defeating the incumbent by a total of 616 votes to 413. Town budget, $8 million (3 millionths of the Federal budget), approximately 100 employees. Reduced property taxes but increased sales taxes. Fired the Wasilla police chief, citing a failure to support her administration. (He then sued Palin on the grounds that he was fired because he supported the campaign of Palin’s opponent, but his suit was dismissed when the judge ruled that Palin had the right under state law to fire city employees, even for political reasons.) Hired a DC lobbyist to bring $27 million in earmarks to the city. Wasilla had zero debt when she entered office but she left it with indebtedness of over $22 million, including $15 million-plus for construction of a hockey center which was built on a piece of property that the city didn’t even have clear title to, a matter that is still in litigation. Attempted to ban books from the city library.
Him: sponsored 800 bills.
Her: swayed 616 voters.
2001 – 2004
Obama: reelected in 2002 and became chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee.
Publicly spoke out against the invasion of Iraq BEFORE the congressional authorization in 2002, and then again before the actual invasion in 2003.
Wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
November 2004: elected to the US Senate, receiving over 3.5 million votes, more than 70% of total.
Palin: elected president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. Unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor, coming in second in a five-way race in the Republican primary, receiving 19,000 votes. Appointed to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, served as chairman from 2003 to 2004 and also served as Ethics Supervisor. Resigned in protest over the “lack of ethics” of fellow Republican members. Exposed the state Republican Party’s chairman, Randy Ruedrich, for doing party work on public time and working closely with a company he was supposed to be regulating. Director of Ted Stevens’ 527 group.
Him: demonstrated the wisdom to oppose the Iraq folly before it even began.
Her: hasn’t really though much about Iraq – despite the fact that 17 Alaskans have died there
2005 to present
Obama: Sworn in as the fifth-ever African-American U.S. senator. Worked with Republican Senator Lugar to author and implement a program to locate and dismantle stray Russian WMD’s. Designated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as the party’s point man on ethics. Worked with Russ Feingold to pass a major ethics/lobbying reform bill. Cosponsored, with John McCain, the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. Called for increased fuel efficiency standards (3 percent every year for 15 years). Assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Homeland Security. Chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on European Affairs. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Waged a tremendous battle to become the Democratic presidential nominee. Currently manages 2,500 campaign employees and a budget of $40-$50 million/month.
Palin: 2005: board member, Valley Hospital Association, which runs the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Wasilla.
Became youngest and first female Governor of Alaska, taking office in December, 2006. Received 114,600 votes. The population of Alaska is 683,478 and more than 50% of the state budget comes from oil revenues, not taxes as in other states. Gross State Product: $44 billion (including the oil revenue). Ranking 45 of 50.
Auctioned off the Governor’s jet on eBay. Took on fellow-Republican Senator Ted Stevens to come clean about the federal investigation into his financial dealings. Promoted oil and natural gas resource development in Alaska. Helped pass a tax increase on oil company profits. Formed a sub-cabinet group of advisers to address climate change but does not accept that it is man-made. Objected to listing polar bears as an endangered species because it might hurt oil and gas development in the bears’ habitat. Was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it. However, Alaska kept the federal money. Denied her daughter was pregnant before she confirmed it. Supported abstinence-only education.Currently under a bipartisan investigation for abuse of power for dismissing Alaska’s Public Safety Commissioner. Commander-in-Chief of the Alaska National Guard, but has played no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. (The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.)
Obtained her first passport in 2007 to perform visits to the Alaska National Guard in Kuwait and Germany. (Foreign experience so limited that a stopover in Ireland listed on her resume.)
Him: Impressive figure on the national stage who knows how Congress works and is engaged with foreign policy issues.
Her: small state governor for 21 months; “next to Russia”, but that is just 1 of the 190 countries in the world she has never been to.
Conclusion: the word “executive” is not some kind of magic force multiplier when placed in front of the word “experience”.