September 28, 2004

Former prosecutor: an impressive credential for Kerry?

Beldar has a nice post analyzing the limitations of John Kerry's credentials as a former prosecutor. ("He's always been a prominent member of the subspecies Lawyerus Politico.") I wonder how much people really are thinking of voting for him on the basis of that short period of his life? I suppose that "former prosecutor" image is used like "Vietnam veteran" to make people think he's tough in some areas where people tend to think Democrats are soft.

Unlike Beldar, I don't care at all that Kerry hasn't kept his legal license current. He's not a practicing lawyer anymore, but he's entitled to rely on his earlier experiences as he runs for office. A Senator doesn't need to have an active legal license. I'm a lawprof, and I don't keep my membership in the New York bar active, because I don't practice law. The only possible problem with retiring from the practice of law is the implicit statement that you plan never to return to practice. An elected official might want to disguise the fact that he sees himself as a career office-holder.

The main problem I have with Kerry going on about his prosecutor days (and his Vietnam experience) is that it means he isn't resting on his more recent and relevant experience as a Senator. Other than the talk of his votes about the war, I've heard almost nothing about his accomplishments in the Senate. You'd think the Senate is just a holding chamber for presidential candidates--which is especially pathetic considering that it's been 44 years since a Senator won the presidency.

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