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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Presidential politics: It's the lawyers vs. the nonlawyers

Since (protest arrests aside) the Republican National Convention is occurring primarily in the political rather than the legal realm, we have not put much about it here. (I would suggest checking out two of our sister publications, the St. Paul Legal Ledger Capitol Report and Politics in Minnesota, for local convention coverage.)

I will say that for selfish reasons I was disappointed to hear that John McCain had jilted the governor of our fair state at the vice-presidential altar.

If McCain should win the election, I have no doubt Tim Pawlenty's efforts will be amply rewarded with some high-falutin' post in D.C. So, despite media reports of some bruised feelings in how the VP-selection process played out, I suspect Pawlenty will quickly shake off the dust and go about the business of stumping for his candidate. Therefore, it's not for Pawlenty you should be shedding tears, but for Minnesota Lawyer, which has now lost a great potential hook to this exciting election -- the first Minnesota lawyer on a major party's presidential ticket in 24 years.

There are some striking similarities between Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Pawlenty. Both are governors who hail from Northern states, both like winter sports, both have sterling conservative credentials and both have last names that start with "P" (which apparently already has already caused some confusion). There are, of course, a few major differences (e.g. that pesky Y-chromosome Pawlenty carries).

There is another difference that interests me -- unlike Pawlenty, Palin is a nonlawyer. The choice creates a contrast between the competing party tickets. Both candidates on the Democratic presidential slate are lawyers, while both Republican candidates are not. Despite his lack of legal training, McCain can certainly hold his own in a debate. Palin remains a question mark at this point. It will be interesting to see what happens when she debates Joseph Biden, the formidable senator from the great state of Delaware who graduated from law school when Palin was 5. Going in as such an underdog could play to Palin's advantage. We will have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I would suggest that the lawyer candidates keep their distance from the current VP, who has a history of gunning for lawyers ...


San Antonio Lawyer said...

Yeah keep your distance from the current VP, who has a history of gunning for lawyers! Vote wisely people..

Paul L said...

This is an important point: in 2004, the proudly non-lawyer Bush-Cheney ticket derided and ridiculed the two-lawyer team of Kerry-Edwards.

But it isn't really lawyers that Bush-Cheney are contemptuous of; it's the rule of law itself. You see how Bush-Cheney think about the law and lawyers by the way it used A.G. Gonzelez, John Yoo, Jay Bybee and the other torture memo writers.

I'd rather entrust the government to two lawyers who at least understand why the law is important.

Mccain-Palin have shown no more respect for the law -- or lawyers -- than Bush-Cheney have.