Friday, June 20, 2008

Does Education Matter Still for Candidates

James Joyner asks the question do the Educational credentials of the presidential candidates really matter now?
I ask because I’ve noted quite a bit of chatter about the educational attainments of the presidential candidates and wonder why they matter so much to people all these years later.

Barack Obama must be smart, after all he was president of the Harvard Law Review! John McCain sure is dumb, why he graduated near the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy!

Obama’s young by presidential nominee standards, to be sure. Still, he’s been out of law school since 1991. And, goodness, McCain graduated Annapolis in 1958 — before Obama was even born. I mean, I know we threaten school children with putting things on their “permanent record,” but this is ridiculous.
At this point I don't think it matters at all.

Here is why. By this stage we expect our presidential candidates to have some experience (some more than others) and also expect that Presidents need to be able to find, hire and manage some people who by all accounts are smarter than they are. Look people gave George W. Bush a lot of stick for not being particularly bright, but Presidents are not lacking from talent coming to their door to work. Obama and McCain won't either, so their individual educational achievements really don't matter much anymore.

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