The 2008 presidential campaign is supposed to be a referendum on "change" -- who brings it and who doesn't.
Real change, however, hasn't yet proven to mean new politics.
The "hope and change" Barack Obama sounds like a traditional Northern liberal who always wants to raise taxes on the upper classes and businesses, expand government services and provide more state assistance to the middle class and poor.
"Maverick" John McCain talks like a conventional Western or Southern conservative in favor of spending cuts, across-the-board lower taxes and smaller government.
This year the media seem to think change means race and sex -- whether Barack Obama's background of mixed racial ancestry or the gender of Democratic primary candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
It's certainly true that either the next president or next vice president will not be a white male. But does that mean de facto that the country will be run any differently?
There is, however, one area where we might have seen real change. The Democrats could have not nominated another lawyer. This may partly explain why former military officer John McCain and working-mom Sarah Palin are polling near even with Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, in a year that otherwise favors the Democrats.
A snowmobiling, fishing and hunting mom of five who was trained as a journalist seems like a breath of fresh air -- and accentuates the nontraditional background of former naval officer John McCain. If the Republicans win, it may well be that, like George Bush and Dick Cheney, or Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, they weren't members of the legal culture.
On the Democratic side, Barack Obama got out of Harvard Law School, worked for a firm, offered his legal expertise as a community organizer and went into politics. Joe Biden graduated from law school and almost immediately ran for office.
In the Democratic primary, winner Obama, runner-up Hillary Clinton and third-place finisher John Edwards were all lawyers. In 2004, both Democratic nominees, John Kerry and Edwards, were lawyers. Al Gore, who ran in 2000, left law school without a degree and went into politics. His running mate, Joe Lieberman, was a Yale-trained lawyer. Mike Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, was a Harvard-trained lawyer and ran with lawyer Lloyd Bentsen.
In fact, every Democratic presidential nominee for president and vice president in the last seven elections -- except Gore who dropped out of law school to run for Congress -- has been a lawyer.