Since we’re in the process of selecting not only the new leaders of the United States, but also the new leaders of the Free World, I wanted to do a little research on their educational backgrounds. Personally I view wisdom as an important trait in a leader, and there can be no wisdom without knowledge. It also seems to me that humans have basically always universally held this belief, as we even see evidence dating back to Plato’s Republic in which the Guardians of the state required strict educational training.
I then decided that we should include the Vice Presidential candidates in the research because, after all, they are next in line for succession to the Presidency in case something terrible happens. On top of that, the Vice President of the United States is also the President of the US Senate. So, they’ve got one hell of an important job either way.
The following descriptions are all taken directly (and unedited) from Wikipedia.
The Democratic Ticket
Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at Occidental College for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. Obama graduated with a B.A. from Columbia in 1983.
Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988 and at the end of his first year was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review based on his grades and a writing competition. In his second year he was elected president of the Law Review, a full-time volunteer position functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the law review’s staff of 80 editors. Obama’s election in February 1990 as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review was widely reported and followed by several long, detailed profiles. He graduated with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991.
Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, as a Lecturer for four years (1992â€“1996), and as a Senior Lecturer for eight years (1996â€“2004).
He attended the University of Delaware in Newark, where he graduated with a double major in history and political science in 1965. He went on to receive his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law in 1968, and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1969.
The Republican Ticket
Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, McCain entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. There, he was a friend and informal leader for many of his classmates, and sometimes stood up for people who were being bullied. He also became a lightweight boxer.
McCain came into conflict with higher-ranking personnel, he did not always obey the rules, and that contributed to a low class rank (894 of 899) despite a strong intelligence. He did well in academic subjects that interested him, such as literature and history, but studied only enough to pass subjects he struggled with, such as mathematics. McCain graduated in 1958.
Palin spent her first college semester at Hawaii Pacific College, transferring in 1983 to North Idaho College and then to the University of Idaho. She attended Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska for one term, returning to the University of Idaho to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism, graduating in 1987.
Now a Little Commentary
John McCain was born in Panama because his father was in the military. Growing up he attended about 20 different schools. But wait, he did manage to do really well in wrestling! Of course, the guy is 5’7″ tall and probably weighed about 125 pounds. So, I’m guessing that he was quite a scrapper as a kid.
Suffice it to say that that sort of an early education can’t be good. So how the hell did he get into the US Naval Academy? Simple. His father and grandfather were both four-star United States Navy admirals.
The guy was then ranked number 894 of 899 in his class! WTF?!?!? Do you know how bad you have to be in order to be ranked that low by military personnel who know that your father and grandfather could have you shipped off to a freakin’ base in Alaska? You can’t justify that by saying you’re “a rebel”! It’s the freakin military! That just means you have no discipline whatsoever.
But speaking of Alaska, Sarah Palin took 6 years and 5 colleges to receive a BS in Journalism. Holy crap! It reminds me of the movie Tommy Boy:
Tommy: You know a lot of people go to college for seven years.
Richard: I know, they’re called doctors.
After only one semester in 1982 at Hawaii Pacific University in the business administration program, she transferred to North Idaho College (What? From Hawaii?? Why???) as a general studies major for two semesters in 1983.
From there she transferred to the University of Idaho, and majored in journalism from fall 1984 to spring 1985. She then returned to Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna College in fall 1985, but then returned to Idaho, in 1986 and 1987, when she graduated.
Interestingly, she never worked for any college newspaper or other agency.
Now, speaking of college newspapers. On the other hand we have Barack Obama who not only was an editor for a little college called Harvard (the #1 University in the country), but was also elected as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review!
So, in summary it all comes down to the following decision:
- Do I want the two most powerful people on earth to have barely survived their pathetic college experiences (one of whom only even gained entrance because of what his daddy and grandpa did) while gaining no usable educational value?
- Do I want the two most powerful people on earth to have extremely advanced degrees, which they earned themselves despite coming from poor beginnings, and one of them having even spent 12 years as an actual college professor?
I would submit that if you were looking for someone to do any kind of a job for you (eye surgery, ship captain, your taxes, consultant… whatever!), and you were looking at these two sets of candidates, the only viable choice would be Obama, Biden.