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The personal journal of technology journalist and conference speaker Randall S. Newton.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Party of Lawyers

I have noticed that the professional training one gets -- or the summary of life experience that replaces training for a specific profession -- strongly affects a person's outlook.

Take a look at the professional training of the men and women on the presidential tickets, both Democratic and Republican, of the last several years and a trend emerges. To make it easy, I have put one particular profession in bold type.

(D) Obama -- Lawyer
(D) Biden -- Lawyer
(R) McCain -- Military Leadership
(R) Palin -- Communications

(D) Kerry -- Lawyer
(D) Edwards -- Lawyer
(R) Bush -- Business Administration
(R) Cheney -- Political Science

(D) Gore -- Journalism; law school (did not graduate)
(D) Lieberman -- Lawyer
(R) See Bush/Cheney above

(D) Clinton -- Lawyer
(D) Gore -- See above
(R) Dole -- Lawyer
(R) Kemp -- Physical Education & Professional Athletics

(D) See Clinton/Gore above
(R) G.H.W. Bush -- Economics & Business Management
(R) Quayle -- Political Science and Lawyer

(D) Dukakis -- Lawyer
(D) Bentsen -- Lawyer
(R) See Bush/Qualye above

(D) Mondale -- Lawyer
(D) Ferraro -- Lawyer
(R) Reagan -- Economics
(R) GHW Bush -- see above

(D) Carter -- Engineering & Military Leadership
(D) See Mondale above
(R) See Reagan/Bush above

(R) Ford -- Economics, Political Science, Lawyer
(R) See Dole above

(D) McGovern -- Theology, History
(D) Shriver -- Lawyer
(R) Nixon -- Lawyer
(R) Agnew -- Lawyer

There is a clear trend here. The Democrats are the party of lawyers, the Republicans the party of every other career. If I had stopped before the Nixon era, the difference would be even more profound.

Lawyers are trained to be advocates, and to take a us-versus-them view. They see the answer to every problem in the law.


Anonymous Evan Yares said...

You may be shading things a bit. McCain's first career was as a naval aviator. Palin's first career was as a sports reporter.

Looking at congress, the number of lawyers in each party is about a wash.

In any event, there's the question of causality here: it is the college degree that affects the person's outlook, or the outlook that drives them to choose a particular college degree?

11:51 AM  

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