This is the first installment of a five part series grading the two major party tickets for president on 5 categories: Education, Experience, Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy and Disposition. I will use an A+ through F grading scale. Educational background is a good place to start as it gives a view into the early adulthood of a candidate by offering an indication of what intellectual ability, work ethic, and judgment a given candidate possesses.
Presidential Nominees: Senator John McCain vs. Senator Barack Obama
Senator John McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958. He finished 894th out of 899 classmates. McCain was a legacy as his father and grandfather both went to Annapolis and were both Admirals in the Navy.
Grade B His class rank was poor, but the Naval Academy is a tough school and graduating is impressive so he avoids a B-.
Senator Barak Obama graduated from Columbia University in New York with a major in political science in 1983 after spending his first two years of college at Occidental University in CA. Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School in 1988 and graduated in 1991 magna cum laude. He served as the editor of the Harvard Law Review (one of the top spots at one of the nation’s top law schools).
Grade A+ Columbia is an Ivy League School. Graduating from Harvard Law magna cum laude and being editor of the Harvard Law Review probably deserves an A++, but the grading scale changes for no candidate.
Vice Presidential Nominees: Senator Joe Biden vs. Governor Sarah Palin
Senator Joe Biden graduated in 1965 from the University of Delaware double majoring in history and political science. Biden then graduated from Syracuse University’s school of law in 1968.
Grade A- Nothing overly flashy here, but a double major and a JD are impressive and make Biden quite educated relative to the rest of the nation.
Governor Sarah Palin graduated from the University of Idaho with a BA in journalism and a minor in political science.
Grade C 28% of U.S. citizens have bachelor’s degrees; therefore she is more formally educated than 72% of the population. Still, it does not appear that she went through an intellectual crucible at this stage of her life either.
Average GPA – Democrats 4.0 (4.33 for Obama + 3.67 for Biden) Republicans 2.5 (McCain 3.0 + Palin 2.0)
Formal education is not everything, but on category 1 the Democratic Ticket grabs an early lead. Having a President and Vice President who combine for zero advanced degrees is not the most reassuring thing I have contemplated.