jack writes: We’ve all been hearing whisperings for years about John Grisham running for public office in Virginia. But what would his chances really be? I’d love to hear what cvillenews readers think about his propects for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
As an experienced attorney, he can easily make a case for qualifications and background. Obviously he’s got the name recognition issue taken care of. I don’t know that I personally am comfortable with entertainment to politics crossovers, but that has little to do with whether or not it could happen. Your thoughts?
7 thoughts on “Grisham’s Odds for Governor”
My problem with this piece is encapsulated in a single sentence, as follows: “As an experienced attorney, he can easily make a case for qualifications and background.”
The inference is that being a lawyer somehow makes one more qualified for high political office — be it governor, legislator, or even president — than, say, a schoolteacher or social worker. If the tacit understanding is that one must be a lawyer to comprehend the law and navigate the system, then the system is badly broken and should be overhauled or scrapped.
Laws should be written by the people for the people, not by the lawyers for the lawyers. (We’ll save for another day a discussion on laws that are enacted primarily for the benefit of the legal profession.)
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a large-scale infusion of office-holders from diverse occupational and financial backgrounds? We might actually get laws that serve a broad spectrum of people, instead of laws that merely advance the welfare of the privileged.
Aside from assessing any red-flag issues or meaningful philosophical leanings, one of the first things I look at in a candidate is his or her occupation. (Party-line voting is an abdication of civic and moral responsibility. Besides, both major parties are dinosaurs and should be sent the way of the Whigs, the Federalists, and the tyrannosaurus rex.) Unless there is a significant philosophical reason to do otherwise, I’ll vote against the lawyer at every opportunity.
We might actually experience a political Renaissance in this country (dare we imagine a New Age of Enlightenment?) if we would make it a point to weed out of our political landscape the overgrowth of lawyers, developers, and other Chamber of Commerce poster boys who choke it.
John Grisham would be a breath of fresh air in Richmond – and not just because he knows the law, but because he has a vivid imagination.
He’s a classic example of someone who “sees things as they could be and say[s], ‘why not?'”
author of BIRDSEED COOKIES: A FRACTURED MEMOIR
Of course, you’re thinking (if you’ll excuse the tired metaphor) outside of the box. I’m afraid that the average voter probably isn’t quite to the point where you are.
I think that the original poster is right to point out Grisham’s legal qualifications, given that he was, for the purpose of that story, thinking in terms of traditional qualifications in order to back up the logic that Grisham could run for office.
FWIW, you’re right, of course: it’s disappointing that attorneys are the primary group that tend to run for office. Thankfully, we have exceptions like Emily Couric, but surely there’s a steep learning curve for those that are not familiar with the legal system that keeps . (Impossibly steep? I don’t know.) I certainly will be thankful when we approach your “New Age of Enlightmenment,” though I don’t know that my vote for Nader took us much closer to that. :)
Heck, I’d vote for him because he’d have a good shot at beating a republican out for the job. I don’t know much about his politics, but he’s a smart guy, and that’s more than I think of Gilmore.
Please do not misunderstand the point I was trying to make in the sentence to which you refer in your response. I said that Grisham “can easily make a case for qualifications and background.” I never suggested that I would agree with that arguement, simply that it could be successfully presented.
I am inclined to agree with your assertaion that a law degree does not a right to office make. Indeed, even holding previous office does not necessarily serve as qualification for further office. Our President’s utter inability to do his job serves as ample proof of that (before anyone jumps on me for picking party lines, let it be said that I am a huge fan of Dick Cheney).
In modern politics (and probably in the past as well), it is a casual appearance of competance and respectability that wins votes. Not knowledge or understanding of economics, history, law and morality. All you need is a law degree, clean criminal record and a bit of shouting about education and crime, and you’re at least in the running for a nomination.
One notable, local exception to the cult of lawyers in politics was Tom Bliley. Bliley was, by training, a mortician. Which I have always thought to be singularly appropriate, as he is a very sour-looking old fellow with a voting record that is equally gloomy in the opinion of many.
Well, judging from the latest election and our new president, not even a clean criminal record is necessary to take office. It seems that our standards get lower and lower as time goes on in this respect. Granted, many people (myself included) aren’t as concerned with whether someone comitted petty offenses as people were forty years ago, but there are still some glaring offenses those same people question one’s ability to govern effectively.
I don’t mean to be picky, but it’s unfair to capitalize such (essentially) defunct political organizations as the Whigs and the Federalists and yet leave the venerable Tyrannosaurus rex uncapitalized, even though the English language dictates that it should be. And besides, I believe that a Tyrannosaurus rex would make quite a good politician. So much so that I would actually attempt to vote him into office, on the hopes that he would be more effective than our present politicians and do something useful to me, like eat Strom Thurmond.
Hey, a guy can hope, can’t he?
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