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The Lawyer Factor

Well, he did it after all. John McCain has my full and unqualified support for President of the United States, even with his weaselly treatment of conservatives, all because of one word: LAWYER.

Back in February, I got a speeding ticket, and because I did not agree with the ticket, I retained a lawyer to fight it. So began a course in how the courts and lawyers behave. Over the weeks between getting the ticket, hiring the lawyer and my court date, I asked my lawyer several times about what needed to be done, His staff assured me repeatedly that all I needed to do, was wait. Monday was my court date, a date where - according to my lawyer - I did not need to appear, since he would be there as my representative. The court agreed there, saying that either I or my lawyer needed to be there, but not both.

So I was more than a little unhappy to be contacted by the court Tuesday and told that I was now cited for "failure to appear". When a court representative uses the phrase "warrant for your arrest", it really grabs your attention and ratchets up the blood pressure. I called my lawyer's office right away, and the staff assured me that the lawyer had been there, and that the court was wrong. So I called the court back and they reasserted their claim that no one had shown up.

I did not sleep very much last night, and this morning took time off from work to try to see what was going on. It took some digging and talks with several people who seem to be adamantly opposed to voluntarily helping a fellow human being, but what happened was this - the lawyer prepared a Letter of Representation, and he delivered it to the court last Friday. Short version of the story, the court has not yet processed that letter and so was unaware of its filing when Monday rolled around. Since the letter was date-and-time-stamped, I should be OK. Of course, until it's entered into the system and the warrant rescinded, I still have to wonder what I would say if I should get stopped by a police officer in the next couple days. Not that I plan to do anything to get pulled over for, but since the one who stopped in February was not at all interested in conversation, I don't trust my luck. What I am dealing with is that always charming combination of slow-moving bureaucracy and lawyers whose 'Job One' is getting paid. Yes, there are good lawyers out there and I hope mine is one of them, but as a group I can't help but think that Lawyers are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

It then occurred to me to consider lawyers as politicians. Frankly, that combination seems to me likely to produce the worst of both worlds, especially when we are talking about the Presidency. Just consider these lists of recent Presidents:

Lawyer Presidents
Bill Clinton
Gerald Ford
Richard Nixon
Lyndon Johnson
Harry Truman

Non-Lawyer Presidents
George W. Bush
G.H.W. Bush
Ronald Reagan
Jimmy Carter
John Kennedy
Dwight Eisenhower

There are outliers in each group, but I'd say it looks like the non-lawyers did a better job as President than the lawyers did.

Apply that to the field, and what do we see?

Candidate and Work Experience Prior to Political Office

Barack Obama: Harvard Law School, civil rights and local political action work.
Hillary Clinton: Yale Law School, partner Rose Law firm, liberal activist work.
John McCain: U.S. Naval Academy, naval aviator

Apply what that tells us to how each of these candidates would likely address the responsibilities of the President, and the choice becomes crystal clear.

If you love America, support John McCain for President.


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Comments (31)

If you can promise he's not... (Below threshold)

If you can promise he's not a Jimmy Carter or a John Kennedy, maybe your theorem has some applications, but from my book, you have to include WHAT KIND of attorney. Tort scum scrapers are a big NO. Other legal eagles are not necessarily good or bad, just as veterans, females, melanin-enhanced can be morally challenged or ethically deficient, or not. What matters most to most voters, however, is which path they will lead us up or down, regardless of their foibles. I don't want to go down the path to Clintonland or make us the new Liberia, so I guess I'll have to settle for conserveral's (or is it liberative?) path up the middle road.

Frankly I mainly see shades... (Below threshold)

Frankly I mainly see shades of gray in your two lists - not seeing any slam dunk for non lawyers vs. lawyers. Wasn't Abraham Lincoln a lawyer?

Yeah, but Lincoln was mostl... (Below threshold)

Yeah, but Lincoln was mostly self-taught, so he wasn't indoctrinated by those in academia.

What is the old saying, "Fi... (Below threshold)

What is the old saying, "First shoot all the lawyers?"

Senator McCain being a Non-Lawyer does make him appealing. Also appealing, is the fact that I believe McCain is willing to "shoot" in the face of an extreme national threat (Extreme Islam) where the others would talk themselves into surrender.

I think you hit this one on... (Below threshold)

I think you hit this one on the head, DJ.

I have an inherent distrust of lawyers now because of "what the meaning of the word 'is' is". Seeing who you have down as former Presidents who were lawyers just seems to confirm that distrust.

Mind you, it's my opinion, and as the saying goes, I'm sure there are a lot of nice lawyers out there. But you remember the bad ones more than the good ones, and it seems like all the bad ones gravitate to politics.

To sum it up for me, I'd say 'Nuff said!

Right on. Attending law sch... (Below threshold)

Right on. Attending law school should automatically disqualify anyone from running for POTUS. Any advanced degree includes advanced training in 'getting away' with criminal actions.

This helps to explain Mr. M... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

This helps to explain Mr. McCain's lack of interest in financing his campaign in accordance with the law.

I'll venture to say McCain ... (Below threshold)

I'll venture to say McCain is also not a Child Molester.

Well, can't argue with that. He has my 100% support.


Ideally the profession... (Below threshold)
Lew Elion:

Ideally the profession of the law should be amongst the loftiest and most respected. Since it is not the problem may lie in the fact that only the most sordid lawyer stories and baldfaced representations of the obviously guilty come to the glaring light of the ,( overwhelmingly negative), media megaphone.
Like our distrust of MD's, some of the attorney class's actions seem counterintuitive to administering to their patients and/or clients; but the sickest get seen first in your doctor's office and the client already in jail gets the most schmooze. So when you are sitting in one of the four hundred little rooms the doc has set up to maximize billing only react if you are still bleeding. It is approximately the same for your lawyer. since his traditional work is to present your folly or perfidy in its best light, ( as outlined by my people in Athen's assemblies so long ago. If you were caught lying you were severely punished, but if you had a spokesman and he lied in your behalf..... ). Your attorney, I'm sure, had a larger ambulance to chase as opposed to filing a document in your behalf in a timely fashion ,( there is no way a busy court can process a paper filing on a Friday before a Monday court date..except maybe in Mayberry.) the similarly opinionated Artman

Well DJ, it was just a matt... (Below threshold)

Well DJ, it was just a matter of time before you found some lame excuse to back the republican nominee. I have to say, though, this is about as lame an excuse as you could possibly come up with. Your lawyer sucks and McCain's not a lawyer, therefore you back McCain? Of course you know you have now lost whatever credibility you might have once had with regard to politics. Thanks for a great example of the modern republican party: the party of lemmings.

I'm sold!... (Below threshold)
Typical White Person(formally Pretzel_Logic):

I'm sold!

Max, if I may say so, you a... (Below threshold)

Max, if I may say so, you are truly a ray of sunshine on an oppresively cloudy day...

God Bless America, land that I love...

!sarcasm off

Truthfully, McCain isn't Clinton or Obama. That's enough for me to go be. The lawyer factor is just icing on the cake.

I don't have to like McCain, I just have to like the option of him more than the option of them.

Holding McCain Accountable ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Holding McCain Accountable For Campaign Finance Violations

"Yesterday, on behalf of a large number of progressive bloggers and activists, Jane went to the FEC and filed an official complaint against John McCain's alleged campaign finance violations."

[ . . . ]


Good for you, SS. I really ... (Below threshold)

Good for you, SS. I really don't care what your reasons are. I was referring to DJs 180 degree turn. After savaging McCain throughout the republican primary, he now backs McCain 100%. As far as I know, you've been consistent in your support. DJ, on the other hand, is on record as a consistent hypocrite.

We currently have at least ... (Below threshold)

We currently have at least 152 attorneys in Congress and at least 46 in the Senate. I think that's plenty more than enough.

Sorry Max, I probably shoul... (Below threshold)

Sorry Max, I probably should have dialed it back a bit on the sarcasm. I think my opinion of lawyers is just a tad bit strong.

I personally would have been happy with Fred or Rudy, for varying reasons. But unless the Republican nominee was Ron Paul, I don't think I would have gone Democrat for any reason at all.

Still, there you go.

I hope after all this time,... (Below threshold)

I hope after all this time, that wouldn't be the only reason you'd support him to be Commander In Chief.

DJ,Your post makes... (Below threshold)


Your post makes a false analogy. Basically, you're saying that since A is a Lawyer, and A is bad and B is a lawyer that B must be bad as well.

There are plenty of things that can be picked apart about both Clinton and Obama without resorting to easily dismissed logical fallacies.

Lets leave that kind of sloppy reasoning to the liberals, shall we?

I don't see DJ's position o... (Below threshold)

I don't see DJ's position on McCain as hypocritical in the least. He doesn't like McCain, and expressed that opinion freely during the primary season. McCain won anyone, so now it is a different choice: McCain vs. either Hillary or Obama.

It's an entirely separate circumstance, but I understand max can't get his tiny little pea-brain around such complicated concepts. Change his drool cup and roll him back to the BDS ward.

However, reader J. Bohls writes to note that neither LBJ nor Truman were lawyers, and he is correct. LBJ went to teachers' college and actually taught school briefly before entering politics. Truman did attend law school, but never graduated, passed the bar, or practiced. An interesting bit of trivia is that Truman is the only President since the turn of the 20th Century without a college degree.

I see DJ's point. It's not... (Below threshold)

I see DJ's point. It's not about McCain vs some hypothetical perfect Republican candidate - it's McCain vs Obama/Hillary.

McCain isn't perfect. (None of them are.) However - he's the best of the three. I believe he'll put country over party or self - that'll have to do, since I don't believe the other two could do that.

Max and other lefties just ... (Below threshold)

Max and other lefties just don't get the humor of anything. A humorless lot, all of them. ww

As Dick the Butcher said; F... (Below threshold)

As Dick the Butcher said; First thing we do after the revolution, "Let's kill all the lawyers."

Jim, as much fun as it woul... (Below threshold)

Jim, as much fun as it would be to throw specious insults back and forth with you, I think I'll let DJ speak for himself.

DJ's Greatest Hits (on John McCain):
John McCain might get my vote this fall, but he will have to earn it. I think there are many of us who feel that way, and it's up to John to show he has learned that he needs conservatives to win and direct his campaign accordingly, not for us to knuckle under to threats or scare tactics. 2/26 "My Primary Vote"

John McCain needs to explain why he felt a hand-picked group in a back room should make decisions on judicial appointments, rather than let the Senate do its job. John McCain needs to explain, clearly, what justices he would nominate to the Supreme Court, and on what merits. And he needs to apologize, in public to Pickering, Estrada, Owens, and the others he trashed in the name of expediency and political advantage. John McCain needs to apologize for and fully repudiate McCain-Feingold. These are the starting points, not trivial details. I and other Conservatives have a right to demand bonafides from McCain, while he had no right to demand anything just because he enjoys the delegate lead right now. 2/11 "My Dog for President"

It is truly disappointing to see a former naval officer of McCain's repute prostitute his honor in the pursuit of an office he so patently should not perform. 1/31 "Not So Fast, McCain"

With McCain, Clinton, or Obama in the White House for at least four years, this nation will suffer for at least that long. 3/5 "The Republican Primaries 2008: What Went Wrong?"

I am still not at all happy with the idea that John McCain is likely to win the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States. The man's hypocrisy regarding Free Speech is unacceptable, his fatuous buy-in to the Global Warming lie is disturbing, and his regular habit of attacking Conservatives in his policies and statements is insulting. 3/3 "The Party and the President"

So I guess not being a lawyer somehow explains away all of McCains percieved insults and earns DJs vote. I don't buy it. He was looking for a way to back McCain and realized he wasn't going to get what he wanted so he pulled some BS about lawyers out of his ass and, presto, he's a McCain backer. Where I come from, that's called hypocrisy. And you, Jim, are an idiot.

Being the lesser of two evi... (Below threshold)

Being the lesser of two evils does not make something not evil.

I can't get excited about McCain and support the idea of coming together in unqualified support for two reason.

1) Depending on what challenges and legislation come McCain's way we can easily be worse off for the experience. I will concede less than with Obama, but still worse off. And I should be happy with that?

2) Redefining the political spectrum. To an entire generation of young people, GWB is an extreme right-winger. To them an idea of a Reagan who would be more likely to resort an aggressive US posture and less likely to open up the US coffers for 'entitlements' is completely unfathomable. Getting behind McCain without reservation puts the seal of approval in what will be a further Leftward shift of what is suppose to be 'Right'.

Max, Look at the li... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Look at the list of issues that DJ had problems with McCain: free speech, global warming, judges. On all these 3 issues, both Obama and Hillary are worse. It is a hypocrisy for DJ to vote for Obama or Hillary if he cares about these issues since they are worse than McCain on these issues. On top of that, McCain is definitely much better on the GWOT and spending compared to Obama or Hillary.

Given the recent revelations about both Obama and Hillary, it is idiotic to vote for them in any case.

jmp100, Vote for Mc... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Vote for McCain but ready to criticize him (just as we did with Bush) when he becomes president. That 's my take. Personally, I wouldn't want to take the risk with the possibility of teaching the lession with Obama/Hillary as president.

DJ, when your attorney send... (Below threshold)

DJ, when your attorney sends you the bill, it seems that all you need to do is send him a Letter of Intent To Pay. Then when he looks for his money, simply explain to him that his request is in the system, and that he will get paid when everything has processed. Sounds fair to me.

True. Don't forget, howeve... (Below threshold)

True. Don't forget, however, that fascist regimes start by shooting all the lawyers.

Well DJ, you are by far my ... (Below threshold)

Well DJ, you are by far my favorite blogger and I've read you off and on since your Polipundit days. But I kind of agree with max. This is a lame reason to support McCain; he hasn't recanted any of his misdoings or done anything to earn the vote of conservative Republicans. I realize it has to be either McCain or Hillary or Obama, but I'm just not a lesser-of-evils type. McCain earns my vote or he doesn't get it.

It's your vote of course, and you can vote for McCain with my blessing. But voting for him because "I don't like lawyers" rates up there with picking Hillary because you don't like men or picking Obama because you don't like white people. I figured you'd go for McCain eventually, but I was expecting better than this.

One of the stupider preside... (Below threshold)

One of the stupider presidential assessments I've seen. "He's a lawyer. Don't vote for him."

A few other presidents:

Abraham Lincoln
John Adams
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
James Madison

Warren G. Harding
Herbert Hoover
Ulysses S. Grant

I'm not really sure that "lawyer" or "non-lawyer" makes a person a good or bad president. In any case, it strikes me as an exceptionally dumb argument.


I like it! Let's NOT vote ... (Below threshold)

I like it! Let's NOT vote for a candidate because he (or she) has a graduate level degree from a top-notch university in a field that teaches you to think critically and problem solve. That's all we need in the White House: another thinker/problem-solver type with an impeccable track record of making good decisions.

Furthermore, let's prejudice that candidate by analogizing him (or her) to someone who happens to have the same degree and did a poor job of keeping a client informed.

The conclusions people come to from a false premise or lack of sound logic never cease to amaze me. I'm embarrassed for them, and worse, I'm scared of them.

Whatever we achieve as a people, I hope we achieve it by reason, logic, and coherent thought. History has shown the alternative to be far less inviting...






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