John Derbyshire on the candidates

John Derbyshire is making invidious comparisons:

Memo to the DNC: You are fielding two lackluster candidates here. What’s more, they will get weaker, as the Clinton-Obama scrapping knocks coats of paint from off both of them between now and August. No doubt John McCain will trip over his tongue a time or two, but he won’t be doing any scrapping. Doesn’t need to. Within his party, he’s a winner. Everybody likes a winner. Are you guys worried yet? You should be.

For a sample of the weaknesses, just a sample, let’s look at the résumé issue.

Hillary: U.S. Senator (7 yrs). Wife of president (8 yrs). Wife of state governor (12 yrs). Amateur, but sensationally successful, trader/investor (2 yrs). Wife of state attorney general (2 yrs). “Rainmaker” lawyer (on and off). Law school, lawyering.

Obama: U.S. senator (3 yrs). State senator (8 yrs). Lawyer on behalf of community groups and discrimination claims (4 yrs). Part-time lecturing (12 yrs). Community organizing (2-3 yrs). Office work (2 yrs). Law school, lawyering.


John McCain U.S. senator (21 yrs). U.S. congressman (4 yrs). Businessman (2½ yrs). U.S. Navy (22 yrs, including 5½ yrs as a prisoner of war).

I'm not sure why being a prisoner of war is supposed to qualify him for being president. It qualifies him for being undoubtedly one of the bravest people in the country; I'm quite sure I couldn't survive it. (I'm also quite sure I wouldn't make a good president, but that's another discussion.) But physical bravery is not what we require in a president, any more than we need him to be a good pilot. I don't say this means he isn't the best candidate; I just don't think it should affect our decision, one way or the other.