pageok
pageok
pageok
The Party of the Lawyer Candidates vs. The Party of the Non-Lawyer Candidates:

John Peralta counts Democratic and Republican Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates since 1980, and sees how many lawyers there were:

[Democratic] Attorneys (10 out of 12 total - 83%)
Obama
Biden
Kerry
Edwards
Lieberman
Clinton
Dukakis
Bentsen
Mondale
Ferarro
[Possibly Gore, who never graduated — if he's included, the percentage is 92%]
Carter was the only non-lawyer, non-law school attendee.

[Republican] Attorneys (2 out of 9 total - 22%)
Dole
Quayle

Non-lawyers - McCain, Palin, Bush 43, Cheney, Kemp, Bush 41 and Reagan

Floridan:
So?
9.18.2008 1:37pm
theobromophile (www):
Wow.

It does seem as if there are many more liberals than conservatives in law school, so it's not too surprising to see that years down the road, the top liberal politicians are much more likely to be lawyers than their conservative counterparts. Perhaps liberals want educated politicians, and conservatives want real-world politicians who have run something. (I think that was about as non-partisan as possible... at least it was meant to be.) Voters either do not care, or seem to break fairly evenly for lawyers and non-lawyers.
9.18.2008 1:41pm
Biscuit (mail):
It's dogma that, when it comes to ivory tower politics, law schools tend to lean left.

How left? Well, the Tax Prof Blog's Paul Caron broke down some election contribution numbers reported on the Huffington Post, and here's what he found out: Based on the HuffPo stats, 635 law profs contributed to candidates in the 2008 Presidential election for a grand total of $623,472. Of that number, $487,772 has been contributed to the nominees of each party — 94.7% ($461,754) to Barack Obama, 5.3% ($26,018) to John McCain.

Here's how some individual schools come out:

Harvard: 100% ($23,632) to Democrats, 0% to Republicans
Chicago: 100% ($14,158) to Democrats, 0% to Republicans
Michigan: 100% ($11,653) to Democrats, 0% to Republicans
Stanford: 100% ($8,900) to Democrats, 0% to Republicans
Texas: 100% ($6,107) to Republicans, 0% to Republicans
UC-Berkeley: 100% ($4,850) to Democrats, 0% to Republicans
Pennsylvania: 100% ($2,711) to Democrats, 0% to Republicans
Duke: 93.8% ($15,188) to Democrats, 6.2% ($1,000) to Republicans
Columbia: 92.7% ($6,390) to Democrats, 7.3% ($500) to Republicans
Georgetown: 91.9% ($25,990) to Democrats, 8.1% ($2,300) to Republicans
NYU: 91.7% ($5,500) to Democrats, 8.3% ($500) to Republicans
Cornell: 91.5% ($3,250) to Democrats, 8.5% ($300) to Republicans
Yale: 91.2% ($3,630) to Democrats, 8.8% ($350) to Republicans
Virginia: 77.8% ($15,097) to Democrats, 22.2% ($4,300) to Republicans
UCLA: 73.2% ($2,050) to Democrats, 26.8% ($750) to Republicans
Vanderbilt: 56.9% ($1,318) to Democrats, 43.1% ($1,000) to Republicans
Northwestern: 35.3% ($5,050) to Democrats, 64.7% ($9,275) to Republicans
9.18.2008 1:45pm
ChrisIowa (mail):

Perhaps liberals want educated politicians, and conservatives want real-world politicians who have run something. (I think that was about as non-partisan as possible... at least it was meant to be.)


Are you saying that the only way to get educated is through Law School?

Found your bias for you. ;)
9.18.2008 1:46pm
one of many:
It was about as non-partisan as you can get Chris, the comment about having run something makes clear that educated is in terms of formal education which law school can be a proxy for. Bias towards law school perhaps in excluding Bush II's MBA, but not a partisan bias.
9.18.2008 1:56pm
A.C.:
How many of the Republicans have MBAs?
9.18.2008 1:58pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Biscuit:

Thanks for reminding me to donate to Obama again today. I might just do that every time somebody posts that stat.
9.18.2008 2:07pm
A.W. (mail):
Well, in general the numbers i have seen have lawyers vastly overrepresented among their candidates for any higher office, but democrats are like 90% lawyers, and republicans more like 60% (going on memory).

But I don't see being a lawyer as necessarily a knock; indeed, it will help them read the laws they are looking at and understand any legal dimensions better. But what bothers me is when you run for an executive experience, when you have never been in an executive position before. So for instance, John Edwards' trip from lawyer, to senator, to veep, seemed like a bad idea. i think lawyers are fine as senators, but as administrators, we are at best, unproven.

The other problem that can arise is when a lawyer becomes a blind devote to his client class. So, for instance, many defense lawyers will refuse to ever believe anyone is guilty, even if they are just on a talk show. I think that 1) makes them poor advocates for their clients and 2) makes them even worst as policy-makers. Not all defense lawyers think this way, but gosh, there are alot who do.
9.18.2008 2:07pm
John P (mail):
Thanks Eugene. Amongst these candidates we have 11 Senators, 6 Governors and 4 House members - I wonder if the same percentages apply to these institutions?
9.18.2008 2:09pm
one of many:
How many of the Republicans have MBAs?

I'd have to check but pretty sure it's just Bush 43 who has an MBA.
9.18.2008 2:13pm
Mike Keenan:
Going back to 1948, Republicans were more likely to be attorneys (I may have some mistakes!):

Republicans

Attorney
Ford
Nixon
Agnew
Miller
Dewey
Warren

Non-Attorney
Goldwater
Lodge
Eisenhower

Democrats

Attorney
Stevenson
Kefauver
Sparkman
Muskie
Shriver (and Eagleton)

Non-Attorney
Kennedy
Johnson (started but didn't finish?)
Truman
Humphrey
McGovern
9.18.2008 2:18pm
ChrisIowa (mail):

It was about as non-partisan as you can get Chris,


It was as non-partisan as you could get, and I stretched pretty far in an attempt at a little humor. Apparently it didn't work.
9.18.2008 2:19pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
How many of the Republicans have MBAs?
Not any of the ones listed.

What happens more often, people going from business administration to political office, or vice versa? I recall that Harry Truman did the former, and George McGovern did the vice versa; McGoverrn's experience opened his eyes to the need for tort reform.
9.18.2008 2:20pm
As a lawyer:
I tend to think being a lawyer is a very good attribute for any presidential candidate: but it's not necessary or sufficient. The reasons are simple:
First, a passing familiarity with legal writing is helpful in any business where you're involved in the legislative process.
Second, the president is responsible for safe-guarding the constitution, a legal document if there ever was one.
Third, the president has the responsibility for selecting the members of supreme court and other Article III judges. It sure helps to know exactly what they do.

I tend to think that the right is wacky in its anti-intellectualism. That aspect of the republican party has always baffled me. It also leads otherwise smart people into aligning themselves with crazy positions: creationism, anti-climate change, anti-stem cell research, etc.

Moreover, it leads lots of republicans into defending the less-intellectual of their candidates (see Sarah Palin) in the things that ought not to be defended.

This also bleeds into other areas: a distorted view of the media, a belief that academia is liberal because its academia, a belief that every lawyer wants to expand plaintiffs-side tort laws, etc.

As a sometimes republican, it's painful.
9.18.2008 2:20pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Correction: Dubya has an MBA, the only Prez with that distinction.
9.18.2008 2:25pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Just to throw something out - I think that it may be that Republicans give more credence to business experience and executive experience, whereas the Democrats do to legislative and legal experience. Why?

The thing that surprises me a bit is that from my point of view, law school is almost counter-productive for preparing someone to be president of this country. Instead of being taught to work collaboratively, you are mostly graded on your individual efforts. And in the practice of law, much of it is solitary, and at best, working in small groups.

Maybe it is that one thing that lawyers do learn is the ability to speak. And the profession tends to attract those who like doing it (my girlfriend often remarks to others that I get paid to talk) and are good at it (I am not). On the one hand, this would seem to mean that attorneys sound better as candidates, but on the other hand, that they are more talk than substance as compared to other candidates.

After all, how can anyone take someone seriously for president who has less than four years experience as a backbencher in the Senate? He has two things going for him. One, his race. But more importantly probably, his speaking ability. And why was Bill Clinton so good? I would suggest because he is so good at convincing so many that he can truly feel their pain. He probably should have been a contingency fee tort attorney.
9.18.2008 2:28pm
John P (mail):
Mike Keenan - Thanks for the broader perspective. As with many statistical arguments, much depends on the baseline you select. However my analysis does show the current state of things. As a Republican, I can tell you that a candidate with John Edwards' background as a trial lawyer would stand virtually no chance of rising to the top of the party. On the other hand, a former prosecutor like Rudy Giuliani did very well.
9.18.2008 2:31pm
Mike Keenan:
Who was the last Republican candidate similar to John Edwards? A trial lawyer with extensive experience and a thin legislative record. Maybe Lincoln himself (and I certainly apologize if anyone thinks I am making a comparison!).
9.18.2008 2:44pm
Vanceone (mail):
I don't think that the right is "anti-intellectual" in the sense Republicans want and like dumb people.

The problem with so-called intellectuals is several. And none of it has to do with their education. Dubya has degrees from an Ivy league, Romney was valedictorian and got a joint degree from Harvard, etc. There are plenty of smart people on the Right.

But the intellectual types so railed on are the so-called ivory tower ones, the ones who think book learning is all that is necessary.

A good education is book learning plus practical experience. The intellectuals forget that. Who would be better running a country? The high school dropout who built his own business to become a powerhouse, or the Professor of theoretical social studies at Highpowered U? I know who the left would admire more. And who the right would.

Anti intellectualism is also a BS detector. After all, almost universally communism was advanced by the professors as a "great idea." There were not many small business owners who thought Stalin was a hero, were there? Global warming (now "climate change because the global warming types realized that the earth isn't actually warming) is just an excuse to tax people to death. I emit carbon, will I have to pay a tax for the air I breathe? And so forth. Intellectualism is just a cloak for radical leftist policies that, put bluntly, would destroy millions of lives.

Intellectuals seem to have issues with morality. The debate is more important than the truth. There's "two sides to everything" instead of "this is right, and this is wrong." And so, morally reprehensible things always find someone in academia to support and defend it. There's plenty on the other side, or there used to be, but you can count on academia to find the types who state that innocent victims are really "Little Eichmanns" and so forth.

And one of the biggest problems is condescension. "I'm big, I teach at elite U, I must be right--because I must be smart and so on--everyone who disagrees with me and doesn't teach at Superelite U just isn't smart enough to handle the truth. You peons should just shut up and listen to your betters, because I and my colleagues know better than you."
Who believes that? Does the property professor at, say, Stanford really know how to run my land better than me? He knows more about how to sell it than I do--I give him that. Why should he know more about whether or not I should have my wife abort a baby? But because he has a doctorate and teaches at Stanford, he thinks he knows more than me on just about every subject. Condescension.
9.18.2008 2:52pm
Angus:

But what bothers me is when you run for an executive experience, when you have never been in an executive position before.
Wouldn't that be basically...everyone who has ever run for an executive position?
9.18.2008 2:52pm
A.W. (mail):
As a lawyer

It is not crazy at all to believe that god created us. Now, pushing creationism in our schools is another matter…

Nor is it crazy to believe that all of this climate-change stuff is a crock. All my life I have been told we were all about to die. First it was global cooling, then acid rain, then holes in the ozone layer, then overpopulation, then global warming, and now "climate change."

Ah, hell, the very term "climate change" is brain-dead. The climate is always changing. I find it ironic that so many people who are opposed to "climate change" are also voting for Obama, who is the candidate of change for its own sake (which I know might not include you).

The very fact that it has gone from settled opinion that the climate was cooling, then warming, then merely "changing" says to me that the scientists can't be trusted on this. Most Americans have heard people crying wolf their whole lives; we don't believe it anymore.

And besides, do the advocates of this theory even act like they believe it? Al Gore gets a nobel prize for being a global warming alarmist. He uses more power in his house in a month than most us use in a year. He has a big wasteful houseboat he tools around in (I guess the mansion was not enough for him). He has multiple Chevy Suburbans. At one event, one of his drivers kept it idling the whole time he spoke. And then to accept his nobel prize he flies by chartered jet to pick it up. Are these the actions of a man who believes our planet is teetering on the brink? And yet how many people fawn on him, pretending he is the environmental messiah?

And the anti-stem cell research isn't born from a fear of science, but a respect for life. And increasingly it is the pro-embryonic-stem cell researchers who are coming off as fanatics. Every day we find new ways to get stem cells without killing fetuses, but there is still a hard core that thinks we have to do it anyway. I mean I suppose I can't get you to agree those fetuses are alive, but can I get you to agree you are not sure? And if you are not sure, then isn't the right answer that you shouldn't do it? Isn't an abundance of caution and a reduction of risk the best approach?

Finally, this whole meme about the right being anti-intellectual is crap. What they are against is elitism. They want someone who is of the elite, but not an elitist. What is the difference? A member of the elite is better than us. An elitist is a person who thinks they are better. And of course you can easily be either one without being the other.

Lincoln, for example, was better than us. But he never looked down on anyone, not even Frederick Douglass. Considering the racism that existed in his day, that is remarkable. He was a member of the elite, but never an elitist. And that is why to this day he is a hero to every sane American.

Obama would do well to follow his example.
9.18.2008 2:52pm
JPG:
How many of the Republicans have MBAs?

Let me rephrase this. How many of the Republicans have a MBA because they couldn't make it to law school?

Answer: At least one of them ;)
9.18.2008 2:56pm
doozle:
Some other elitist, out-of-touch lawyers:

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Alexander Hamilton
John Jay
Patrick Henry

+ 35 of the 55 attendees of the Constitutional Convention

Imagine how much stronger we would be as a nation if more of our founders had been actors, NFL quarterbacks and hockey moms. Oh well, at least there's hope going forward.
9.18.2008 2:57pm
neurodoc:
McGovern was awarded an honorary JD by the University of Houston in 1990. So does that make him an honorary lawyer?
(I never heard of a school conferring an honorary MD on anyone, and I didn't know that any honorary JD's were handed out before I learned of McGovern's.)
9.18.2008 3:09pm
A.W. (mail):
Doozle

You defeat your own point. Back in that day, you didn't have to do very much to become a lawyer. You just read law for a while under another lawyer and that was it, in most cases.

The LSAT, the law schools, the Bar exam, are concoctions of the modern administrative state.

Lincoln, for instance, had only a 6th grade education. But he was also self-educated and gifted with unique intelligence.

And most importantly although he was among the elite in America, he was never an elitist. If you don't understand the difference, then scroll up to my last comment.

Much of your list was the same. Jefferson believed, for instance, a farmer was as good at debating philosophy as a degree holder. And who could have been more "of the people" than Patrick Henry? As for the others, I just don't know enough about them to evaluate them.
9.18.2008 3:17pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
Doozle

Some other elitist, out-of-touch lawyers:

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Alexander Hamilton
John Jay
Patrick Henry

+ 35 of the 55 attendees of the Constitutional Convention


From what I have read, the founders were well read outside of the law as well as in the law. They could not be classified as "out of touch."
9.18.2008 3:17pm
Connie:
Wow, Vanceone, way to demonstrate condescension. BTW, it's not "liberals" who want to make the decision about whether or not your wife should have an abortion.
9.18.2008 3:25pm
pauldom:

"It was as non-partisan as you could get, and I stretched pretty far in an attempt at a little humor. Apparently it didn't work."

I thought it was funny.
9.18.2008 3:35pm
Cornellian (mail):
I wonder whether it's really accurate to call someone a lawyer when realistically they're just a politician with a law degree. How many of them really had a career practicing law before entering politics?

Successful politicians are very rarely people who suddenly woke up at the age of 40 and decided they wanted to enter politics. Usually they're people who have been very interested and involved in politics from their teen or college years forwards. Those people probably regard a law degree as a useful asset in understanding the process of law making and many of them get law degrees with the idea of running for office, not practicing law. I don't think it's quite accurate to describe such a person as a lawyer on the same footing as someone who practiced law for a living then entered politics.
9.18.2008 3:48pm
hawkins:

Jefferson believed, for instance, a farmer was as good at debating philosophy as a degree holder.


That's just foolish
9.18.2008 3:55pm
gerbilsbite (mail):
I'm thinking of an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote from "The Path of the Law" here:

The law is the witness and the external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race. The practice of it, in spite of popular jests, tends to make good citizens and good men.
9.18.2008 3:55pm
Zywicki (mail):
Is this representative of the parties as a whole, i.e., does the difference hold up for the House and Senate?

If so, it is an interesting. I recall reading once that the "farm teams" for Democratic and Republican candidates traditionally have been different. Republicans tend to do something else first, often working as a small business owner or something like that, and then gravitating over to politics. It seems that they are often spurred by the desire to simply fix stuff. Democrats tend to be involved in politics from an earlier stage--perhaps it is accurate to say that they are politically active first and then gravitate to law to make a living.

One implication, as I understand it, is that it traditionally has been more difficult to recruit Republican candidates and they are more likely to voluntarily leave politics sooner.

The current options appear to reflect this. Obama and Biden are lawyer/career politicians and McCain/Palin did other things first. Palin perhaps less so because of her age, but it doesn't seem that she was aiming toward a political career when she graduated college but instead came to it out by first getting involved just to make things run better. I'm assuming that Obama's foray into law teaching and community organizing were simply preludes to a political career. Many of the others on the two lists fit this profile, with Richard Nixon being a big outlier on the Republican side.

Another way of putting it. One of my friends said recently that when conservatives look at Joe Biden they see a guy who hasn't had a serious job in 35 years and would be unable to have a serious job today. When Democrats look at Joe Biden they see an experienced senior statesmen with deep experience. To each his own.
9.18.2008 4:03pm
Nicholas Fitzgerald (mail) (www):
I could be wrong about this, but if I remember correctly, didn't Reagan eventually earn his JD? I seem to remember something about that, but I can't find anything to either confirm or deny it.
9.18.2008 4:05pm
hawkins:

when conservatives look at Joe Biden they see a guy who hasn't had a serious job in 35 years and would be unable to have a serious job today.


So what do conservatives see when they look at Bush (I am saying this only half in jest)?
9.18.2008 4:12pm
rarango (mail):
I second Floridan's initial post.
9.18.2008 4:16pm
Dave N (mail):
Nicholas Fitzgerald,

No. Ronald Reagan earned a bachelors degree from Eureka College in Illinois. He never earned a law degree.
9.18.2008 4:33pm
Biscuit (mail):
Slater: HaHa, Thanks.
I really could care less who (or even if) they contribute to in Politics, what makes me more disgusted is when professors teach the law through their "lens' of what the law should be, not what it is...
9.18.2008 4:38pm
Isaac (www):
Zywicki wrote:

I'm assuming that Obama's foray into law teaching and community organizing were simply preludes to a political career.


That's not the way he tells it in Dreams from my Father. He says that he got into community organizing because he wanted to fix stuff. I don't know about the teaching. You can choose not to take him at his word, but you'd probably best justify that.
9.18.2008 4:47pm
Dave N (mail):
hawkins,

One way of looking at GWB is that he and Bill Clinton are approxinmately the same age. Clinton first ran for office in 1974 (he lost). GWB first ran for office in 1978, lost, and did not run again until 1994.

GWB spent 1978 to 1988 in the oil business. I am not debating whether he was successful or not, and the record is mixed. Thus he was in the private sector.

For five years (1989 to 1994), GWB was Managing General Partner for the Texas Rangers, which was a full-time job. Did it help that his father was President during this period. I have no doubt. But he was the public face of the team during a period and oversaw building a new stadium (the Ballpark at Arlington).

Looking back from the perspective of 2000, he was, at the time of his first election, also an extremely popular Governor of a major state.

By comparison, Bill Clinton was either in public office or seeking public continuously from 1974 to 2001. So, regardless of what you think of their respective Presidencies, which one looks like the career politician?
9.18.2008 4:58pm
hawkins:

So, regardless of what you think of their respective Presidencies, which one looks like the career politician?


Clearly Clinton was the career politician. The statement was that conservatives dont believe Biden has had a serious job or that he would be able to have one today. My point is I dont think Bush has had a "serious job" either. First, Im not sure how mixed the record is on his success in the oil industry. He joined a group in purchasing the Texans (I believe he paid less than 2% the cost but received a significant portion of the ownership). I dont know if owning a professional sports team is a "serious job," its more of a billionaire's preferred past time (not to say he's a billionaire). No doubt though, good work if you can get it.
9.18.2008 5:15pm
Anonymouse Troll:
How about "entertainters"?

R 33%
Regan
Palin
Kemp

D 0%

Demographic implications are left to the reader as an exercise.
9.18.2008 5:58pm
Dave N (mail):
Anonymous Troll (now there's a nom de blog for you!),

First, it is "Reagan."

Second, in what way is Palin an "entertainer"? I am guessing you mean her short stint as a television sportscaster.

Third, I am not sure that either Jack Kemp (or Heath Shuler, to make this bipartisan) would call what they did in professional football as "entertainment" in the sense the phrase is usually meant--though I concede that under a broad, broad definition professional athletics is "entertainment."
9.18.2008 6:07pm
Anonymouse Troll:

Dave N (mail):
I am not sure that either Jack Kemp (or Heath Shuler, to make this bipartisan) would call what they did in professional football as "entertainment" in the sense the phrase is usually meant

Sorry for my typos/typoes. Quarterbacking and news-reading are more entertainment than they are any other field. Certainly they fit the category as well as being a bureaucrat or politician with a JD fits being a "lawyer".
9.18.2008 6:26pm
LM (mail):
Dave,

In the only sense that sports can be professional, it's entertainment.
9.18.2008 6:28pm
Dave N (mail):
Another interesting side-by-side comparison is members of the U.S. Senate who were on major party tickets since 1952

Democratic national nominees who served in the Senate:
Sparkman
Kefauver
Kennedy
Johnson
Humphrey
Muskie
Mondale
Bentsen
Gore
Lieberman
Kerry
Edwards
Obama
Biden

Nominees who did not serve in the Senate:
Stevenson
Carter
Ferraro
Dukakis
Clinton

Without double counting anyone, 74% had Senate experience, 26% did not.

Republican nomnees who served in the Senate:
Nixon
Lodge
Goldwater
Dole
Quayle
McCain

Nominees who did not serve in the Senate:
Eisenhower
Miller
Agnew
Ford
Reagan
G.H.W. Bush
Kemp
G.W. Bush
Cheney
Palin

Without double counting anyone, 38% had service in the Senate, 62% did not.

When you add those with service in the House only to the mix, then Ferraro's addition to the Democrats' percentage gives that party 80% of their members having Congressional experience of some kind.

For Republicans, Miller, Ford, G.H.W. Bush, Kemp, and Cheney all were members of the House at some point. Thus, the Republican percentage with Congressional experience of some kind is 69%.
9.18.2008 6:41pm
Mark Field (mail):

Jefferson believed, for instance, a farmer was as good at debating philosophy as a degree holder.



That's just foolish


The original post overstated Jefferson's position a bit. What Jefferson said was that a plowman was more capable of resolving a moral question than a philosopher. This attitude came from Jefferson's acceptance of Scottish moral philosophy (irony noted), under which all people were deemed to have a "moral sense". In this view, we had a natural ability to decide moral questions given to us from God; a philosopher would only over-analyze a problem.

I happen to think Jefferson was wrong even so, but it wasn't quite as extreme as the original post made it sound.
9.18.2008 7:05pm
Dave N (mail):
By the way, when you look at both parties for someone who never served in Congress (in either the House or the Senate) or served as a Governor, then the only one who meets THAT requirement is Eisenhower.
9.18.2008 7:07pm
giovanni da procida (mail):

Global warming (now "climate change because the global warming types realized that the earth isn't actually warming) is just an excuse to tax people to death. I emit carbon, will I have to pay a tax for the air I breathe?


Except that the earth is warming. The data is freely available from NASA, NOAA, or other sources. The earth goes through natural climate cycles. The question is, are human actions driving these changes, or is it a natural climate cycle. Most scientists involved in studying these issues would argue human activities are the main drivers.

There is no reason to tax you for breathing. Consider elementary school science. Animals breathe oxygen and release CO2 (carbon source). Plants take in CO2 and release oxygen (carbon sink). This is termed the biological cycle and is more or less in balance over time.

The problem is that there is no industrial carbon sink to make up for the many industrial carbon sources (cement production, burning of fossil fuels). You can argue (and some do) that increased CO2 has no effect on warming. You can argue that the amount of CO2 released by industrial processes is insufficient to drive climate processes. But to claim that there are people who want to tax you for breathing displays ignorance (at best).

The other thing people bring up is that:

Nor is it crazy to believe that all of this climate-change stuff is a crock. All my life I have been told we were all about to die. First it was global cooling, then acid rain, then holes in the ozone layer, then overpopulation, then global warming, and now "climate change."



The global cooling idea was largely a phenomenon of popular magazine trying to write provocative articles to sell copy. Do journalists always get legal issues correct in their articles? Why would you expect them to always get scientific ones correct?

As for acid rain and ozone holes, yeah, scientists noted a problem, actions were taken, and the worst case scenarios did not come to pass.

Let me give an example: A doctor tells me I have to lose some weight or I might have a heart attack. I lose some weight by changing my diet and exercising. Should I then claim that my doctor was alarmist and that I didn't need to start exercising and cut out the donuts and twinkies?

You are free to feel however you want about the ideas and science behind global warming. But a cogent argument that scientists are wrong now because they were wrong before, requires better examples of scientists being wrong before.
9.18.2008 7:41pm
Mark Field (mail):

By the way, when you look at both parties for someone who never served in Congress (in either the House or the Senate) or served as a Governor, then the only one who meets THAT requirement is Eisenhower.


The only other examples of that career path (going backwards in time) are Hoover, Taft (though he was Governor-General of the Philippines), Arthur, Grant, Taylor, J. Adams, and Washington. Eisenhower gets 2d place. There is no third place on this list.
9.18.2008 7:44pm
Kirk:
"Successful politicians are very rarely people who suddenly woke up at the age of 40 and decided they wanted to enter politics."

Dick Armey is a notable exception.
9.18.2008 10:31pm
Mark Field (mail):
My previous list, while technically correct, should have noted that both Washington and Adams served in the Continental Congress. If you remove them, Eisenhower really stands out.
9.18.2008 10:35pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
With the exception of Ferraro in 1984, every Democrat VP nominee since Harry Truman in 1944 has been a sitting U.S. Senator, or an incumbent VP who was elected as a sitting Senator. 16 out of 17: that's a rut.
9.18.2008 11:01pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
16 out of 17: that's a rut.
Even the Texas Rangers never had a slump that bad.

(FYI - I have lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex since 1987.)
9.19.2008 12:50am
Dave N (mail):
Mark Field,

I agree. Hoover had potential and Taft was better suited for the Supreme Court. Arthur deserves some credit for some civil service reform in light of Garfield's assassination.

However, ther were other nominees (as opposed to those elected President) who were never Congressman, Senator, or Governor.

Going back in time, these candidates include Wendell Willkie (1940), Henry Wallace (VP) (1940), Frank Knox (VP) (1936), Charles Dawes (VP) (1924), and Alton Parker (1904) (and that only goes back to the start of the 20th century).

Some of those people were notable, others not so much--but your point stands. We are in agreement.
9.19.2008 2:44am
neurodoc:
What exactly does it mean to be a "lawyer"? I can understand why it might be said that someone who after graduating law school did not take the bar and devoted themselves to writing novels would not count as a lawyer for purposes of this tally should they later in life run for POTUS. (In the same fashion, Michael Crichton, who graduated Harvard Medical School but did not doing any postgrad clinical training or beomce licensed, might not be counted a physician, whereas Bill Frist's standing as one would be beyond question.) But someone who graduates law school, passes the bar, and goes on to be a lawmaker, perhaps after teaching at a law school for awhile, isn't to be counted a lawyer? Clinton and Kerry both served as AG's in their states. Law school professors are rightfully regarded as lawyers, though they may never have practiced, aren't they?

And the honorary JD thing?
9.19.2008 6:19pm
John Steele (mail):
As a proud non-lawyer if I had my way we'd have a Constitutional Amendment banning lawyers from public office. Then maybe we'd get laws that actual people can undertand --- and a lot fewer of them. There is something wrong with a society that has more law schools than medical schools.
9.19.2008 7:08pm
Natuaral_Philosopher (mail):
To "As a Lawyer",

I just felt compelled to rebut your trendy, lawyer's un-knowledge of any real Science. As a Natural_Philosopher with advanced degrees in the physical sciences, as well as a business creating entrepeneur, I can attest that your trendy pseudo-scientific ignorance in these fields is quite evident, also quite self-satified and smug.

Fact: the Climate varies within narrow ranges, and hasn't varied much between the score of inter-glaciations taking place since the continents drifted to their present locations. There is little expectation that GHG driven global warming was, or is, any threat. As of today it has been wholly beneficial; providing an environment conducive to a a lot more biota in the world, lessening the destruction of tropical forests, and filling the grain elevators around the world. It has also served to decrease the size of deserts.

Only tax raisers, sated on a justification for their desire for more money, still push for it. Few real scientists do. And a powerful push that is.

Embryonic stem cell progress is fabricated, phony science created from whole cloth, to advance the career of a prevaricating Dr. Suk of Korea. It has been thoroughly discredited, but picked up by the Lysenkoist branch of trendy, pseudo-science to push their propaganda, justifying eugenic death, for the greater good.

The only stem cell research where valid, documented and reproducible progress has been made, is in adult "Self" stem cell research, in which "self" stem cells are made pluripotent, once again.

Thisu version of stem cell research, also has the fundamental additional benefit of overcoming the Rejection problem,in any organ creation/regeneration. That is why genuine philanthropies exclusively fund that adult stem cell research.

The trendy know-nothings enlist other, ahem, misguided know-nothings such as yourself, to allow them to continue to feed at the public trough, to fund the dead-end science they purport to want, as no-one else, i.e. real philantropies, would do so for phony and discredited quackery science.

The qualitative science of the 1950-1970s suggested that GHGs might be able to force a global warming. The quantitative science of the late 1990 to today, thoroughly measures and discredit this qualitative hypothesis. The science now roiling the scientific community today reveals the intense portion of cosmic ray flux, as modulated by the solar wind, modify the climate, by altering the amount of low level clouds on the Earth. And the CERN experiments of Dr. Henrik Svengaard confirm it.

The other discrediting science is the revolutionary atmospheric models of NASA scientist Ferenc Miskolczi, which indicates the planetary atmosphere of Earth is in a state of saturated GHG effect. And has been for billions of years.

Add some CO2 and the atmosphere naturally removes some H2O, to compensate. Remove some methane, CH4, and the atmosphere adds some H2O, to maintain an overall energy equilibrium, by asaturated amount of GHG gases. It will persist this way as long as the Oceans of potent H20 GHG, is in contact with the atmosphere. Put anothe rway we have no worries until the Oceans dry up.

Primitive mathematical models of the atmosphere from the early 1900's produced by non-mathematical physicists, and unquestioned until recently, turn out to be in error. Those simplistic models based on stellar atmospheric models, predicted infinite atmsopheres, and needed to create a vacuum between the atmosphere and the Oceans, full of the most potent GHG, H20. With all that H20 available, from the Oceans of water, why didn't the Earth's atmosphere run away into a GHG hell? The reason was because it already had done so, or as much as it could, and saturated the GHG effect.

Venus has no Oceans and is not comparable to the Earth.

Don't you see the patch of Outer Space between your toes and the soles of your feet, that the primitive models needed, to prevent that contact? If you can't find that patch of Outer Space there, than you automatically no longer ascribe to the pseudo-scientific claptrap of deadly Global Warming, er Climate Change, via runaway GHGs.

In any case, the Glaciers have been receding since the 1790s at the same pace, as Earth recovers from the Maunder Minimum of low solar output. Three of the four longterm historical temperature traces call warming into question as a statistical fluke. Only the historical ground measures taken from weather, not climate stations, that are subject ot creeping urbanization from a tiny portion of the globe, North America, still suggest a long term warming. Newly deployed satellites and fllets of ocean buoys show no warnming.

Research re-examining data from the early Richard Bird Antarctic expeditions reveal the "Ozone Hole" existed back in the 1920 and 1930s, depending on the activity of an Antarctic volcano. Dupont was quite happy to assist in the Montreal Protocol, to require the world to scrap all their Freon-based refrigeration, and start over again. With a brand new, (and less efficient Freon), meaning many more tons of new Freons for Dupont to sell. You are probably too ignorant to realize that you were duped. Now they are co-operating in yet another attempt to duplicate their masterful marketing stroke, enlisting the aid of congenital Druidical religious idiots in the environmental movement genuflecting to their great Goddess, GAIA.

Arsitotle, another natural philosopher, said the most important things for an educated man was to "Know Himself" and "Know the World" about him. It is my considerd opinion that many lawyers know little of how the world functions on a physical scientific level; or how the world's human cultural systems function, either.

It has been said when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem appears to be a nail. Lawyers know the art of re-ditribution; that is a worthwhile and necessary art. But it hardly repesents every problem in the world, despite lawyerly conceit.

It also provides an insight on the basis for so many lawyers in the re-distributionist Democrat Party. If re-distribution in your only tool, than re-distribution problems are the only problems. And of course, quite in error.
9.19.2008 10:08pm
Ben Gibson (mail):
Another cool thing, (well to me it is) is that on the Republican side we have 2 pilots. And both of thier spouses are pilots as well. Michelle is a lawyer as well, I do not know about Biden's wife. Is he married again, after his first wife died?

4 pilots versus at least 3 lawyers, if you include spouses. I just think that is neat.
9.19.2008 10:15pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Lawyers advocating the rule of law(yers). Love it!
9.20.2008 12:07am
Fosterdad (mail):
To Rich Rostrom - You missed one. Sargent Shriver in 1972 was not a Senator. Admittedly, Sen. Eagleton was the first choice but he dropped out. So that makes it 15 of 17, which is still a terrible rut. In those same elections, the Republicans nominated only 7 Senators or incumbent VPs who had been Senators when elected VP.
9.20.2008 12:27am
Fosterdad (mail):
To Ben Gibson - Biden remarried about 5 years after his first wife died. His current wife is an English professor and had been involved in banking. She is not a lawyer.
9.20.2008 12:30am
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Something else to think about.

From 1789 to 1945, the President was a lawyer for 107 years (out of 156).

From 1945 to 2008, the President was a lawyer for 16 years (out of 63).

That's a very dramatic change.
9.20.2008 5:35am
MarkD (mail):
ironic that the only non lawyer on the Democratic list was their (as well as the country's) biggest failure of the 20th Century, and the Republican's only two lawyers were their biggest failures.

Not sure if that means anything but it's interesting
9.20.2008 11:53am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Perhaps lawyerdom carried more prestige before 1945 than afterward. Or perhaps the trend away from smoke-filled rooms and political machines favors non-lawyer candidates - isn't popular participation in presidential primaries a relatively recent phenomenon?

Regarding Venus: the planet receives a lot more solar input than Earth does; that alone makes apples-to-apples greenhouse effect comparisons between the two impossible (and might explain the absence of oceans). (Mars, for the record, is CO2-saturated because its .376 gees cannot retain large quantities of atmospheric gases.)
9.20.2008 1:56pm