February 3, 2007

Senators keep running for President, but they keep losing.

They have some kind of problem, right? Robert Geilfuss debunks the Senators can't win theory. Well, he tries to at least. I'm not convinced. I think there is something about the senatorial personality that doesn't seem right for a President.

7 comments:

Kirk Parker said...
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Kirk Parker said...

"I think there is something about the senatorial personality that doesn't seem right for a President."

Sure, but what makes that a good personality for Senators, either? Of course, I'm one who (alas) is stuck with Murray and Cantwell, so what do I know?

On the other hand, much as it pains me to say anything in defense of these two, at least they're not John Do-You-Know-Who-I-Am Kerry! So yes, they exhibit the usual arrogant stupidity, but not the whole serving.

JorgXMcKie said...

I suspect it's not the personality as such, so much as the combination of the personality it typically takes to be a Senator plus the behaviors that Senators believe it takes to get re-elected.

That is, the typical Senator avoids taking any positions that will offend any largish part of her constituency while attempting to take positions that ingratiate them with any largish part of her constituency, all while avoiding saying anything at all that can't be explained away later if necessary.

I don't think most Americas are usually willing to vote for the kind of wafflers that stay in the Senate. Maybe Edwards *does* have a chance. He was in the minority and didn't do enough to offend that many people outside of North Carolina.

If you only look at issues and don't know the identity or party ID of any given Senator it's darned hard to sort them out, except at the extremes, and those Senators are pretty unlikely to get nominated anyway. They're mush with lousy personalities (maybe because they get their butts kissed so much).

vbspurs said...

You know, it was said post-Kerry defeat, that we expect and choose our senators for their distinction.

And we want our presidents to be regular guys.

That's why there have been many more Presidents like downhome Jimmy Carter down the years, than seignorial Martin Van Burens.

To date, there have been 15 US Presidents who were Presidents out of 43.

But only 2 moved straight from the Senate to the White House: Kennedy and Harding.

Doesn't bode well for Senators McCain or Obama, does it?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Erm, 15 who were Senators, later Presidents...

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

My guess the reason Senators have such a difficult time making the White House is usually the double edged sword of notoriety. It not only allows their name to become known to the national audience, but also their positions, some of which may not play in Peoria.

The two Senators who went directly to the White House were short timers (Harding was elected to the senate in 1914 and the White House in 1920; Kennedy was elected to the Senate in 1952 and reelected in 1958); they had very little national record to make themselves untenable to most of the country that most Senators playing to their home base will develop. Both were also considered very likable and attractive.

Obama fits these criteria very well. The stigma (used only as an identifier of a class of individual to not have held the presidency) of his race may not be a factor- religion was supposed to be Kennedy’s downfall, but apparently had very little effect on his actual electability.

Edwards also fits these criteria, plus, running with out a Senate seat, he has the advantage of not having a base he must kowtow to.

In the end it depends I suppose on your glass half full/glass half empty mentality. Have we elected so few Presidents directly form the Senate because we know to much about them, or because we have found so few qualified individuals?

Rockeye said...

I never let myself forget that I'm voting for a particular person to do a particular job. The US president oversees one of the largest organizations in the world and as such would seen to require some management skilss to succeed. Would anyone seriously hire a person a law professor who not only didn't have a law degree but virtually no law experience? Many of the recent presidential hopefuls who are senators seem to have little experience in managing anything. Say what you will about Clinton and Reagan, but they both oversaw very large states before they were presidents.
Making nice speeches may help someone get elected, but if they can't manage and delegate they will spend at least one (or more) years of their presidency just learning the ropes.
I don't know if these points are a major reason why senators have a hard time getting elected president, but its why I'm unlikely to ever vote for any but the most extraordinary senator in a presidential election.