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Posted by on Sep 3, 2008 in At TMV | 51 comments

The Lemonade Stand Fallacy

Lemonade Stand

I’ve written on the executive experience canard before.

But since GOP operatives insist on pushing this absurd line of reasoning to justify Sarah Palin’s “greater qualification for office than Obama or Biden (or presumably McCain)”, let me offer another frame of reference: Running a Lemonade Stand.

To run a lemonade stand you need to know where to place the stand, how to build a proper stand, how much lemonade mix to buy, where to find accessible ice, how to keep your water pitcher full, how much to charge, how many cups you need, how to advertise, and how to count. You need to be able to train your kid brother or sister in customer service. Yes, running a lemonade stand takes a lot of managerial acumen. Successfully pulling it off gives you the experience to run another lemonade stand, or maybe the beginnings of a kid-run carwash.

But does it prepare you to run a full-on convenience store? Can you run a Country Time Lemonade Distribution Company?

Well, if you have OTHER qualifications like general business skills, access to large amounts of capital, high school education (and likely college education), a business plan to grow and extend your business, and contacts outside your immediate neighborhood then yes, you could be promoted from running a lemonade stand to something much greater.

But absent those other major qualifications, your “executive experience” running a lemonade stand does not prepare you for the larger task.

The Lemonade Stand Fallacy: Just because you can “run something” at a lower level does not mean you are qualified to run something at a higher level.

As I posted in my previous entry on this subject, you need a vision, agenda and deep knowledge of national and international affairs to be President of the United States. Absent those, you are unqualified to move up from a lower level governance (or legislative) role. Absent those other qualifications, you fall athwart the Lemonade Stand Fallacy.