Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Senators and the Presidency

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It is a strange thing that sitting senators run for the presidency. Generally speaking, they do not win the presidency. Although in recent times we have seen many sitting senators seek nomination – John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry (again), Paul Tsongas, etc. etc. Sometimes they obtain the nomination – John Kerry, Bob Dole, George McGovern. Very rarely do they win – John F. Kennedy, Warren Harding.

There is clearly something about the senate which, like the College of Cardinals, encourages delusions of grandeur. It is said that every cardinal who enters the conclave a pope comes out a cardinal. So it seems that every senator sees in himself (or herself) a potential president. Hillary did not, after all, seek the governorship of New York.

Yet it is very difficult to see why they should think so. The world’s greatest deliberative body simply does not produce presidents. (Harding is the real exception when we consider the irregularity of Kennedy’s election between his father and the Mayor of Chicago.) There have been more governors and generals, indeed, as many secretaries of state have been elected directly to the oval office. There is in the end a very good reason for this – few if any senators have any real executive experience at all. John and Johnner are in this tradition, and indeed, have less executive experience than most. Between the two of them, they have four months of executive experience on a swift boat in Vietnam over thirty years ago. As we have seen, that experience is not as grand as we have been led to believe but even if it were, it is a mighty thin reed upon which to base a claim to the presidency. What a leap of faith the Democratic party is asking the nation to take.

There is more, for those of you interested, at the National Review.


Written by martinipundit

October 21, 2004 at 10:12 am

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