Presidents Without Executive Experience

Jonathan Bourne, my unindicted coconspiritor on the Drudge Retort, answered an interesting question on his blog: Which presidents ran for the job with no prior government experience as an executive?

Below is a list of Presidents were never a U.S. Vice President, a major Cabinet Secretary, governor or mayor.

  • John F. Kennedy
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • (Herbert Hoover prior to becoming President had served as Secretary of Commerce)
  • (William Howard Taft prior to becoming President was Provisional Governor of Cuba)
  • Benjamin Harrison
  • James A. Garfield
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Franklin Pierce
  • Zachary Taylor
  • (Andrew Jackson prior to becoming President was the first Military Governor of Florida -- I'm not sure if that's more a military position or an Executive position)
  • George Washington prior to becoming President was our nation's first Commander In Chief, but this was at the time a military position. Washington had Legislative experience -- he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and was elected president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Unlike Sara Palin, I think America benefited from the service of Executive branch novices like Lincoln, Eisenhower and Kennedy.

Whomever our next President is, one thing's for certain -- he'll be the first President in over 40 years to have had no Executive Branch experience.

I'm glad the next president is going to come from the Senate, where they'll have working knowledge of how Washington functions. Governors are overrated.


Though Eisenhower, Grant, and Washington may not have had government executive experience, don't you think it's questionable to include them in this list given that leading military forces fits neatly with the definition of executive authority?

I thought about that, Andy, but Palin isn't speaking about "executive authority" in a general sense - she's referring specifically to elective office within the Executive Branch of government. Because they're unelected, I put in parenthesis those Presidents whose only Executive Branch service prior to being elected Chief Executive was in the Cabinet. Technically, they had Executive Branch experience - and I feel would probably not be mocked by Palin as being "inexperienced" if she were running against one of them. (But who knows - she seems to think that people who help underprivileged citizens in their own communities are big jerks.)

As a matter of opinion, I think you and I agree, though - I believe "executive authority" is what matters, not holding a job within the Executive Branch. And in that respect, McCain and Obama are both experienced; they both have run offices in the Senate and both have served as executives of giant Presidential campaign staffs for nearly as long as Palin has been governor of Alaska. Personally, when I speak of a candidate's "experience" I'm referring to his experience in government and not any particular branch. Which is why I voted for McCain in the primary. A move that his running mate now tells me was foolish.

I think executive authority and decision making are critical to a commander in chief. You have to be able to make quick sound decisions and to see them through, you can't operate on commitee as the President.

Obama sounds foolish when he says that running a campaign makes him qualified to runt he country. Course he sounds foolish on almost every comment he makes.

So then you think Lincoln was a shitty President? He had no Executive Branch experience prior to becoming President, freeing the slaves and winning the Civil War. He had no "executive authority" experience either. He was a simple prairie lawyer who became an Illinois legislator.

I don't think Obama or McCain are foolish to tout their executive experience running their respective campaigns (McCain has done this as well). Both McCain and Obama's Presidential campaigns have five times as many staff members as, say, the government of Wasilla. Millions of dollars must be allocated very strategically (30 times as much as the budget for Wasilla), and critical decisions must be made a lightning speed.

Both McCain and Obama were unlikely winners of their parties' nominations, so it's not luck that got them here. Especially McCain, who was counted out from the very beginning and whose campaign was nearly bankrupt at one point. I credit McCain's strategic thinking and leadership for righting the ship and winning the nomination, and I think it could/should be an indication as to what he could do for the Iraq War. The fact that he was never a mayor or governor doesn't make me think any less of him.

Are yout talking to me? ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?!?!

You must be talking to me because I don't see anyone else here...

Hahahahah, you need to work on your reading comphrension Bourne. I said exectuive authority and decision making were critical to a Commander in Chief, I never said you had to be a Governor.

Hussein changes his mind on every major issue, he has to qualify and quanitify every statement he makes. Everything for the 'chosen one' is equivicated, except for how great he thinks he is.

A President makes the tough desicions, he sticks with them, he carries out the mission and he or she doesn't ask for permission.

They are given that permission and authority by the voters and they don't wiffle waffle over every word and thought.

P.S. any time you want to discuss Lincoln let me know, I can give you a comprehensive class on his life and accomplishments.

BTW Bourne, the Wassila arguement is assinine and I think beneath you. I guess you decided to jump over that whole Governor of Alaka thingy, aye?

Don't be stupid, running a campaign is a laugher, Hussein and McCain go and do, what they are told to do. If running a campaign was the main criteria for the POTUS, Karl Rove would be president.

I disagree with the assertion that because McCain, Obama, Kennedy and Lincoln didn't have "executive authority" that they're less qualified to be President than Gov. Palin.

You also seem to be making the case that Presidential candidates are merely employees of their own campaigns, taking orders from their aides... but that when they become President they magically become independent of those same aides. Perhaps that's true in the case of George W. Bush - though unlike you, I still believe Bush was the ultimate "decider" even in his own campaigns - but it doesn't seem to be the case at all for McCain or Obama (and not the case for either of the Clintons either - there's plenty of evidence that indicates Hillary made decisions that went against her campaign advisers recommendations... with disastrous results). And there are endless examples of Presidential candidates firing top aides (again, Hillary). It's impossible to make the case that a candidate is a puppet of his top campaign adviser after he's fired his top campaign adviser.

I only bring up Wasilla because McCain campaign surrogates repeatedly tout Palin's mayorship as major evidence of her "Executive experience." I wish those surrogates would stop talking about it, frankly; it makes Palin look like some sort of hot Mayor Quimby. If two years as governor isn't enough experience to be President (and that's not an assertion I've ever made), adding the "she was mayor of Wasilla" frosting doesn't help pad out the resume. The GOP would be smart to emphasize the governorship and lay off the Wasilla stuff.

You seem to be very angry at me despite essentially agreeing with my point - that Palin (or anyone) being a mayor or governor for a few years doesn't make her more qualified to be President than a 25-year legislative branch veteran like John McCain (whom I voted for in the primary).

I'm happy to have a dialogue about the issues, but as you've devolved to personal attacks, that'll be all from me in this thread.

PS: I was a poli sci minor in college and did my senior thesis on Lincoln, so I won't be auditing your class.

Hahahahahha.......You need to lighten up Bourne, plus I've used the 'I'm being rational and you are attacking me' tact many times....In fact, I should use (tm) after it.

The canidate doesn't have the time to 'run' the campaign, they are busy prepping for speechs and honing policy.....A great leader is one that can delegate authority, Lincoln was the master at that.

But when the rubber hits the road, the great leader makes the final decision.

I think we all agree that there have been many great leaders who didn't have 'executive' authority prior to being named President, but it doesn't hurt.

The *real* idiocy is in originally making the partisan complaint that Palin, "Does not have the "necessary" "leadership" experience."

But, that's the nature of the Democrat Progressives: to immedialtely lie their two-faced heads off. They hadn't even attempted to reason their position, and since their candidates (both) have even less "executive" experience than had the Republican's!

So, naturally, the Progressives lie their stupid heads off once more and claim that it isn't necessary to have "executive authority", and then list a bunch of military leaders in their lying litany.

And, look, the partisanly self-blinded pretend to BELIEVE IT! They actually think their near lightspeed spinning calumnies change reality!

When nothing has changed: Palin still has more executive experience than either of the two in the party of poltroonery has nominated!!!

Cadenhead -- you aren't actually all that smart after all ... what a shlemazzel you make of yourself, all the time!

And, those who follow your moronic example are beneath contempt!

so, your religiosly reading the web site of a dude you think is an idiot? what does that make you?

Rolgers cringes, "so, your religiosly reading the web site of a dude you think is an idiot? what does that make you?"

I'm here to answer the constant lies issuing from the party that has, and is, attempting to lose a war so they can gain votes for their party-over-nation collective.

Except for this literal "kink" in his ability to reason, Rogers is a very intelligent person. However, the attempt to lie for party, and proselyte party lies is idiotic. It is partisan stupidity, and hasn't anything to do with reality, except it forces one into being a knowing liar; if not actually a stupid dupe.

I've stated my reasoning as to why this thread demonstrates partisan idiocy. You answer by making me the subject. That's because you can't actually dispute my conclusions as to why Rogers and the party of lies is contradictory (stupid/idiotic). How pathetic is that? You become just another of the obsessed who can't resist showing their neurotic angst at what I say.

Vote for me, here Join the collective crowd, please ...

BTW, which are you? A dupe, or the typically 'intelligent' stooge?

its already been said here that if Palin has more Exec experince than Obama, she also has more Exec experience than McCain, so what's is your point?

"its already been said here that if Palin has more Exec experince than Obama, she also has more Exec experience than McCain, so what's is your point?"

That's only because you are blinded by your heuristic attention. McCain has decades of executive experience in the Navy. Even in staff positions, leadership is an important skill and which is gained by experience in directing the activities of others to accomplish a common mission.

You Progressives are universally self-blinded in the exact, collective way. You are like the crowd in the Berlin stadium, saluting and chanting the same slogans in unison ... for votes/power to control this nation.

So, you nominate a figurehead, an idol made of clay to direct the focus of party worshippers. Meanwhile, you attack the other, mirror-image of faith ... religion. You are territorial, unthinking animals, xenophobically snarling and attacking "strangers"; fellow Americans but hated for their conservative principles and moral "scent" ...

My "point" is, and has been, that Progressives, Leftists, Liberals, or Democrats have become a party of greed and cowardice, and which hates fellow Americans more than it does this nation's enemies! Anti-patriotic subversives who try to defeat a war all of the USA is fighting for our defense in their drive to elevate party above nation. Backstabbing liars who try to dehumanize and defame as a matter of party principle and main tactic ... Yellow-dog-democrats who would vote for an animal before they would a "carpetbagging republican"!

I dote on answering the stupidity of these rank zealots and partisan idiots ... that's mine ... what's yours?

McCain has decades of executive experince in the Navy? Huh?
His first combat assinment was in JUly 1967 and he was captured in October 1967. Hunh?

I really can't even begin to understand the depth of laziness that encourages idiots not to check their 'facts' before bending over and issuing their gaseous clouds of bs.

You reveal the shallowness of your intellect. After all, here you are on the internet and can look up the 'facts' so easily:

Wikipedia on McCain

How old are you, anyway? Never mind, I'm just tickled that you are a Progressive ... that's all ...

from Wikpedia: 'His combat duty began when he was 30 years old, in summer 1967' and 'John McCain's capture and subsequent imprisonment began on October 26, 1967.' thanks you for proving my point!

"thanks you for proving my point!"

He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981

You, of course, already read up to the part where he started his career in 1958, went to war in and was shot down in '67. That's where you stopped, and proved your knee-jerk ignorance and unwillingness to learn past your biases and prejudices.

Thanks for proving the point that Progressives are ignorant and stupid, as well as selfish gang over nation anti-patriots ... all your collectivist 'friends' are becoming very embarrassed by your sophomoric behavior ...

Well, he won't understand that, I know.

Here, let me make it as simple as possible:

1. Military leadership is equivalent to executive leadership

2. McCain had over two decades (as previously stated) of military leadership experience

3. It isn't just combat time that is considered leadership experience

4. Hope that helps

if you want I can copy the whole wikipedia article so you can see why your wrong. here's the hilights:
After MCcain got released from the POW camp, he was in rehabilitaion. (No exec experience)
Then he attended War college (no exec experience)
'in 1976 he became commanding officer of a training squadron stationed in Florida' (if you think bein a flight instructor is 'exec experience" oh boy are you in denial!
Then he became a navy poltician in 1977 and finally quit in 1981 because 'it was doubtful whether he would ever be promoted to the rank of full admiral, as he had poor annual physicals and had been given no major sea command.' (no exec experience!)
So your boyfrend John Mccain in his entire "military career' was never put in charge of anything significent in the Navy! According to the article which you say supports your argument! Nice going! Hoorah!

"After MCcain got released from the POW camp, he was in rehabilitaion. (No exec experience)"

You are quibbling about inconsequentials. From 1958 to 1981, McCain occupied a leadership position in the Armed Forces as a Naval officer. Those times when was not directly in a position of executive leadership only highlight the years and years where he did so lead and manage a large organization of personnel and equipment.

His executive experience is greater than Palin's, but it dwarfs the lack of executive experience that both Obama and Biden have. Your whining about the reality, the fact of the matter is inane and highlights your callowness.

"Then he attended War college (no exec experience)"

Too funny, and since this is the military's university for training officers in large organization leadership! Organizations with tens of thousands of personnel and millions and millions in property and equipment.

"'in 1976 he became commanding officer of a training squadron stationed in Florida' (if you think bein a flight instructor is 'exec experience" oh boy are you in denial[)]!"

You're the one in denial, and projecting your fault onto someone else. You state he was in an executive leadership position, at the same time you deny it! Then you pass on the fault to another ...

What a pitiable creep you make of yourself! Everyone is embarrassed for you. So, I promise them not to respond to your inevitable effort in reply, to save your pathetic 'face'.

HA! I see how youv'e left out the last and most importnat line:
MCcain finally quit the Navy in 1981 because according to your source Wikipedia;

"it was doubtful whether he would ever be promoted to the rank of full admiral, as he had poor annual physicals and had been given no major sea command."


No wonder you "forgot' to rebut that - becuase you can't!


Wow - Tadowe just got owned!

Rogers groans at Anon's effort to save Progressive 'face', "Wow - Tadowe just got owned!"

That's because he knows I love to answer efforts to misdirect and obfuscate in that intransigent, yellow-dog-democrat style which allows silly lies, like the above.

McCain's leg/knee was shattered in the crash of his jet in North Vietnam. His arm and shoulder were also broken, as well as other serious trauma. He had to have therapy on his return, and could have retired then with full benefits ... but didn't, since he chose to continue his service, patriotically. Instead, he continued to defend your right to make fools out of yourselves by demonstrating your abysmal ignorance.

He saw his evaluations, and certainly agreed with the necessity of not assigning officers with limiting health issues to command of warships, or even continue to fly other than training; certainly not anymore combat missions. These evaluations weren't criticism of his knowledge or ability, past the necessity of explaining why weakness of leg and knee disqualified those assignments. He didn't stay because he didn't want a sinecure, but he continued to dedicate himself to public service in legislative capacity.

In all other respects, he certainly served in executive leadership capacities, while in the service, and even if just as head of a staff office. That, after all is the entire point - his executive experience - and why efforts to misdirect that fact with virtual 'Hi-5s' is nothing more than Anonother joining the obviously stupid side of the collective ...

Come on back, now hear? I don't have any pity on your moronic self ... yet ...

Show us all where McCain doesn't have more executive leadership experience than Obama and Biden put together. Yeah, that will happen ...

"it was doubtful whether he would ever be promoted to the rank of full admiral, as he had poor annual physicals and had been given no major sea command."

So now youre changing your arguement and saying that its not military experince that counts - its "staff experience.' You're doing that because your whole "mililtary experience" arguement just fell apart!

Only problem is - Obama and Biden also run and have run staffs in the public and proviate sector. So that agruement doesnt' work either!

It must be cold on that thin ice your on!

Tadowe wrote: "So, I promise them not to respond to your inevitable effort in reply, to save your pathetic 'face'."

But then couldn't help herself... once it was clear she lost the argument.

(By the way, Didn't, it's spelled "argument" not "arguement.")

The only example on the list that makes any sense is Kennedy. The rest are ancient history or high military officers.

Kennedy was a congressman before he was a Senator, which is generally considered better experience than a Senator for an executive office. Congressmen are like mayors, with a lot od constituent support, and also are generally more involved in writing legislation.

But Kennedy is a good example of what happens when an inexperienced guy gets elected: If he's smart, he surrounds himself with a bunch of graybeards and has a lot of meetings to get advice. It can work. Kennedy was probably more effective than Carter, who was more experienced and hands on. But in general, all other things being equal, Senators like Obama and McCain are not the best choices.

Anon demonstrates functional illiteracy, "But then couldn't help herself... once it was clear she lost the argument."

I answered your comment, not Didnt's, as I promised I wouldn't. Your goosestepping agreement allowed me to answer the POINT (which you continue to run away from like some intellectual coward). Of course, I can't really blame you, and since you've proven your lack of ability at understanding to my satisfaction.

"(By the way, Didn't, it's spelled "argument" not "arguement.")"

I think that is so sweet! Didnt's grammar flame failed so miserably, and you soothe the ego by giving (as patronizing as it may seem) a chance at a spelling flame. So nice to march in unison to attack the uppity neo-Juden.

If you can salute in unison, the party might issue all of you batons and jackboots. Give it a try with this one:

"Sieg Heil"

Has the party decided where the camps will be? Will the ovens produce much CO2?

Kennedy had his service as a Naval officer in WWII as executive leadership experience.

His administration was a success, and where his tax cut demonstrated huge increases in governmental revenue, but which was much too 'liberal' for the Democrat leadership who understood then that real power comes from the control they have in forcing taxes to increase. Distraint applied to individuals controls all the citizenship who fear retribution from government.

The framers of the constitution knew that tyranny was ultimately based on that fact: that when the tyrant/state has the 'right' to jail and, or damage to get revenue, then individual liberty is impossible.

To protect against that, they stated in our constitution that the government did NOT have that right, but could only gain revenue "indirectly" from individuals by apportionment to the states, and so enumerated by federal census. That stipulation was applied to deny the federal government the 'right' to use force "directly" against citizens - to turn them into slaves for government revenue. "Direct" taxes could only be applied as an "excise" against import/export, and to corporate "individuals", which weren't human souls, but business entities.

The 16th Amendment Supreme Court decision merely recognized that the Amendment changed the wording of the constitution and only moved the term "individual tax" into the category of "direct" taxation. It had no effect in making it constitutional to apply "direct" taxes against individual, human citizens. Apportionment by state and census was not changed. Having the Secretary of the Treasury state the "direct" tax rate and total in requesting that "direct" taxes be paid.

There is no such thing as a constitutional individual income tax managed under distraint! To get around the still remaining constitutional restrictions on collecting taxes using distraint, the government has invented a solution to fool the public: The Voluntary Individual Income Tax, and along with the other trick, Voluntary Income Tax Withholding.

To get around the requirement for the Secretary of State to list the taxes owed, they have a Voluntary Declaration of Income Tax Owed, and where you reveal your private records to the government without warrant, under distraint against the 5th Amendment.

... none of you dummies can see the constitutional crimes being done now because you are all brainwashed Volunteers!

So, the Democrats (hand-in-hand with Republican statists) have changed the Constitution without changing it ...

That's the kind of CHANGE that Progressives (socialists of either ilk) want to continue to do to the constitution without actually having to abide by the constitutional law to do it!!!

That's criminal, individual federal taxes using distraint is criminal, giving a 'right' to abortion by the court is criminal, but Progressives don't care ... just so the ends-justify-the-means ...

That philosophy used in history has many such governments listed. In modern times it includes a German Kaisers (tyrant), Nazi Germany (socialist tyrant), USSR (socialist tyrant), N. Korea (socialist tyrant), N. Vietnam (socialist tyrant), China (socialist tyrant), ad nauseam.

All socialists ... so progressive of them ...

Kennedy tried to defend a SEATO ally, but finally in the end, the socialists defeated the USA with the help of the Progressives who refused to support ours, and the other SEATO nation's ally in defending against the giant war machine Democrats had created, in the first place.

Millions died because Democrats abandoned the fight for democracy and freedom in SEA ... tens of millions. Subversion of the nations in the area continues as the socialists continue to fight an underground war against them. All for votes, for party power over human decency.

Now, the socialist creeps continue to subvert the defense of democracy and freedom by trying to ruin the success of a war against the enemy who continues to attack the USA ... for votes ... for party over nation. They lie about the facts, as in this thread, in order to gain votes for party; e.g., refusing to recognize military leadership as having any pertinency, etc.

No words can describe how despicable Democrats have become. Forty plus years of institutional greed and cowardice ... disgusting ...

its killing you, Tadowe so I repeat it again:

"it was doubtful whether [Mccain] would ever be promoted to the rank of full admiral, as he had poor annual physicals and had been given no major sea command."

Each Tadowe reply is more desperate than the next - seriously owned!

"Each Tadowe reply is more desperate than the next - seriously owned!"

I enjoy explaining the lies spread by Leftist idiots. As a matter of fact, I collect you all like sasquatch collects dingleberries.

You are so obsessed with me, that you join yourself in complimenting the other side of your hypocrital face! You are a neurotic mess and literally cannot stop displaying your addiction to me.

Not only that, but you are an intellectual coward, one who can't answer the points of the thread or stated, but instead must try to dehumanize and revile the messenger. Then, along with the intellectual cowardice, you are also a timid mind because you won't vote for me on along with the other members of your obsessive party of anti-patriotic quitters for votes.

I want you to keep this thread going with your attacks, please. I want this to become the longest thread on the Workbench to show others just what type of insanity composes the Leftist Progressive Democratic cesspool.

You confirm the force of my comments, but you are so self-centered, it is impossible for you to grasp that. I can't wait for you and your doppleganger's reply.

Continuing to prove my point... owned by Didn't.

"Continuing to prove my point... owned by Didn't."

Yes, of course it is the typical parrot-speak. It is always the same. Correspondents like Bourne know better, but continue to stay in the same intellectual collective as functional illiterates like the 'Anon(s)' and that ilk.

It is the philosophy of gangsterism ... you need thugs to carry the batons ... what an example the Progressive People's Party has become.

I know Rogers is proud, how about you Bourne?

Hi, I'm Tadowe. I change the topic as much as I hoping that everyone won't notice my intellectual flaccidness.

And that I got owned.

Anon confesses, "... I change the topic as much as I hoping that everyone won't notice my intellectual flaccidness.[sic] And that I got owned."

Okay, that's a start. Just for believability, though, why not express yourself on-point. Give it a try. However, if your intellectual courage is a bit shy ... just continue with the virtual hand-waving.

Flaccidness is word, you dope. Look it up.

Owned AGAIN. (when will you stop embarrassing yourself?)

Anon waves internet hands, "Owned AGAIN. (when will you stop embarrassing yourself?)"

Me? You project your own angst about yourself when you say "intellectual flaccidness". You are neurotically forced to respond to my use of the term "intellectual cowardice". You only prove that point in your sophomoric response(s), here.

It is easy to see the desperation of your inner cry, Anon. Since you are the one that has changed the subject into being "tadowe". You try and make me responsible for the accuracy of my comments by advancing a lie to save your "internet face" as "Anon".

How sad is that!?! I'm actually starting to feel as sorry for you, as I have for Didnt's display of callowness. Oh well, go ahead, I know you need it to soothe your ego ... take the last word.

I'd be delighted, though, for both you and Progressives (seriously), if you would actually address even one of the points of this thread in rebutal to what has been said. Take a deep breath and give it a try! Why not?

If you are still too intellectually shy, go ahead and wave your virtual hands some more ... besides, this is your second chance as "Didnt", what? However, give yourself a chance to advance beyond the child your represent yourself as being, here.

Some bloggers ae cowards Tad, Anon is one of them.

Rex -- the guy who lies about what he does for a living to try to impress a bunch of bloggers and then gets caught in the lie -- is calling me a "coward". Oh, that's rich!


Rex says, "Some bloggers ae cowards Tad, Anon is one of them."

You are accurate, Rex, and since this is the "response":

"Rex -- the guy who lies about what he does for a living to try to impress a bunch of bloggers and then gets caught in the lie -- is calling me a "coward". Oh, that's rich! OWNED!"

Tag, you're it!

That's the extent of their intellectual abilities, and since they are incapable of reasoning why you should tell the truth to those who make you the subject! They are frightened to death of even attempting to reason their partisan positions, and so they ask you where you work ... so they can make fun of that!

They mock anything presented to them. They routinely lie about reality in order to dehumanize some political opponent ... but you *MUST* reply with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

World Class Hypocrites!

That is what the Democrat party consists of ... either that or so intransigent in their ideology that they would subvert democracy to vote for a dog, rather than the "inhuman" Republican opponent they have tried to make that "nazi" into being ... a "neo-nazi" to replace the "Judan" icon to hate.

And, they demand the "truth"!

You'd better raise your arm in salute and shout their slogan:

"CHANGE WELFARE MEDICALCARE for the People's Progressive Party Uber Alles!!!

... or they might start calling you some names ...

Um... who started the name-calling first? Hang on... checking...

Yep - we win again.


I took a closer look at John McCain's "executive experience" in the USN. First, a word about "executive": in the military, the term only applies to officers who are in charge of men, not to officers behind desks, and certainly not to trainees. As a career Navy man, with 31 years of service, I know a thing or two about this.

McCain's executive experience below is bolded. So here we go:

~~ Pre-Executive Experience ~~

1954-1958 -- US Naval Academy

June of 1958 -- McCain graduates #894 out of 899, and is commissioned as an O-1/ENS, the lowest grade of officer in the Navy (and typical for graduates of the NA).

1958-1960 -- Pilot training

November 1960 - September 1964 -- Flight ops

~~ Executive Experience Begins ~~

November 1963 - August 1964 -- serves on staff of the Naval Air Basic Training Command at Pensacola

September 1964 - October 1966 -- flight instructor

~~ Executive Experience Interrupted ~~

(note: as pilot of the single-seat A-4E, he no longer had executive duties. Although he outranked the crewmen who cared for his aircraft, they were not under his command.)

October 1966 - July 1967 -- preparation for combat duty

July 1967 -- combat duty begins

October 1967 -- shot down

October 1967 - March 1973 -- POW

July 1973 - August 1974 -- attends National War College

~~ Executive Experience Resumes ~~

August 1974 - July 1975 -- assigned to VA-174, Cecil Field

July 1975 - July 1976 -- XO of VA-174

July 1976 - July 1977 -- CO of VA-174

(Wikipedia points out, "This last assignment was controversial, as he did not have the required experience of having commanded a smaller squadron first.")

July 1977 - April 1981 -- Liaison with OLA

Retired at Captain grade (0-6)

So adding up all of his months as an executive, you get almost exactly 10 years of executive experience, out of 27 years with the USN. The only part of that time that I'd actually call "exec" time was from July of 1975 through July of 1977, when he was XO/CO of VA-174. The rest of the time, he would've had few executive responsibilities and few men under his command. Ergo, 2 years of serious executive experience, and 8 years of minor executive experience. That's not very much. In comparison, I retired at Cmdr. (0-5), but I've been XO of a cruiser with about 350 personnel for 5 years, and CO of a frigate with about 270 personnel for another 6, and another 5 years behind a desk with a Task Unit of 900 personnel under me. So technically speaking, I have much more actual executive experience than John McCain, but I don't think that ANY of it qualifies ME for the Congress or the Senate -- much less the Presidency!

My .02 cents worth.

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