Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Tale of Two Résumés

Excellent article at the Weekly Standard.

Interesting - I've never seen a political race where so much comparison was to be had between the the top of the ticket of one party and the bottom of the ticket of the other.

Obama's lack of accomplishments are sure to be a negative during the campaign season. I literally have not heard one concrete accomplishment he's had out of law school.

But this doesn't mean Obama is not intelligent and capable - quite the reverse. But what has he chosen to do with it?

Palin is in many ways just the opposite - not an incredible résumé, but an impressive list of accomplishments in the last 16 years.

Back to the article... Salient quotes:

WHAT STORY DOES Barack Obama's résumé tell? Obama became the head of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 and graduated Harvard Law magna cum laude in 1991. These accomplishments suggest great intelligence and strong interpersonal skills. They also suggest limitless potential.

So what did Obama choose to do with his limitless potential after leaving Harvard? Not much.

All readers of his résumé circa 1993 would ask what Obama accomplished at his serial vocations. And there the story gets grim. He didn't finish his book during the two years in question. He didn't pursue any scholarship at the University of Chicago, so his career there stalled at lecturer and never advanced to the professor level. And as is ever the case with something as nebulous as community organizing, pointing to tangible accomplishments would be impossible.

Similarly, Obama was a part time state legislator of minimal accomplishments. When Obama went to the United States Senate, he impressed his colleagues with his potential. But he again never attempted to tap that potential, beginning a run for president shortly after his arrival in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body.

And yet throughout her adult life Palin, again unlike Obama, overachieved. In 1992, she got elected to the Wasilla, AK city council. In 1996 she became mayor. She was by all accounts a very successful mayor. Her résumé entry for her mayoral years would have all sorts of bullet points for tangible accomplishments like reducing city property taxes by 40 percent. Similarly, Palin's time as governor has been distinguished. Both would starkly contrast with the various stops in Obama's career where he occasionally held impressive titles but accomplished little.

Two things would leap out from Sarah Palin's résumé--a pattern of overachievement and a pattern of actually getting things done. Two things would also leap out from Barack Obama's résumé--an undeniable wealth of talent and an equally undeniable dearth of accomplishments.

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