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HISTORICAL QUOTE OF THE WEEK - "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Sunday, November 18, 2007

ELECTION 08 - HISTORICALLY WHO IS MOST ELECTABLE

In less than one year this nation will have a new President Elect. For the first time since 1928 neither an incumbent President or Vice President is running in the primaries and since 1952 in the general election. So it has been at least fifty five years since an entire new crop of candidates has been seeking the office of POTUS.

For the 2008 election their are currently nine candidates seeking the Republican nomination and eight candidates seeking the Democrat nomination. Many of those will not survive the first primaries with a few most likely dropping out before the primaries begin as money dries up and the acceptance of the fact that they cannot win actually sinks in.

There are a few who will stick around no matter what despite the fact that they are either not showing up in the polls or their numbers are so low as to be almost non-existent. Political analysts and pundits continuously tout the, "qualifications, " of certain candidates while never mentioning several. They follow the money trail as a means of tracking the, "success, " of each campaign but not surprisingly, since voters decide by issues and not finances, the money is not and will not determine the winner.

There is one perspective that is not mentioned much by those who consider themselves, "in the know, " when it comes to Presidential elections and that is the historical evidence as to who the nation has voted into office since George Washington became the first President in 1789. After Washington only 42 men have held the office of President which make them one of the most exclusive group of executives in World history and especially in United States history.

In looking at the historical perspective of those that the American people voted into office there are four distinct historical qualifications that have remained true throughout our history.

FIRST - A sitting Senator is doomed. Of the 43 men who have had the high honor of serving as President of The United States only two sitting Senators have been elected to office. The first was Warren G. Harding and the last was John F. Kennedy. Thirteen Senators including Harding and Kennedy have served as President but with the exception of the two mentioned all served in another capacity before election to the Presidency.

Several were Vice President after the Senate and prior to the Presidency. Included in this number are Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman and Andrew Johnson. From a historical stand point unless a Senator leaves the Senate for more electionable pastures the Presidency looks beyond their reach.

Yet in the 08 mix four Democrats and one Republican are sitting Senators and running. Clinton, Biden, Dodd and Obama for the Democrats and McCain for the GOP. This is the majority of the candidates who have similar job titles running in 08 and historically this nation does not elect sitting Senators. Why ? The best explanation that I have heard and agree with is that bickering from the Senate floor and maneuvering to pass a bill does not make a leader nor qualify one for the highest office in the land and the most powerful position in the world. Senators are usually professional politicians who have either had no executive experience at all or very little and many have made the office of Senator their career.

SECOND - Governors are very electable. Seventeen Governors have been elected to the White House and of that number eleven went straight from State Chief Executive to the Presidency. Recent history also favors Governors for of the last five Presidents only Bush 41 was not a Governor and three of those four were Governors as they ran for President.

Only Reagan in recent history was eight years removed from his Governors chair in California before the Presidency and in that time he was running for President in 1976 and his election year of 1980. Several of the seventeen served as Vice President before the Presidency including Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Van Buren.

Three of the current crop of 08 , two Republicans, Romney and Huckabee and one Democrat , Richardson are or have recently been Governors. I include as the fourth in that number Giuliani because as Mayor of New York City he presided over a city government that is larger than many US states and as such offers similar executive experience.

If Giuliani is elected he will join Grover Cleveland as the only former Mayor elected to the Presidency. Cleveland served as New York City Mayor also but went from Governor of New York to the Presidency. Executive is the key word concerning the viability with the voter for Governors winning the Presidency. The nation historically views the executive experience of a Governor as a strong qualification to step into the Presidency since each has governed at the helm of a state government.

THIRD - House members fair poorly. Seventeen House members have been elected President but only two, Lincoln and Garfield served in the House as their last elected office before the Presidency with Garfield being the only sitting House member to ever be elected President.

One President, John Quincy Adams was elected to the House after his Presidency and John Tyler served in the Confederate House after serving as President of The United States. One Democrat , Kucinich and three Republicans, Hunter, Tancredo and Paul are sitting House members. All are showing poorly in the polls and considered unlikely to gain much if any standing with voters. It would seem historically that the same applies to House members as Senators, maneuvering and bickering on the House does not an executive make.

FOURTH - Vice President's do well. Fourteen Vice Presidents have been become President. With the exception of Richard Nixon each served as President immediately after their Vice Presidency. Four assumed office by Constitutional law after a Presidential assassination of which two were elected in their own right in the next election.

Four others assumed the Presidency after their predecessor died in office again two were later elected in their own right. One, Ford assumed the office after Presidential resignation and was not re-elected. As a whole though the office of Vice President of the United Sates receives a good deal of electability for President. Of the current crop that has shown serious aspirations for 2008 none are or have been Vice President.

Until the Truman Presidency the office of Vice President has been one that was more a Constitutional necessity than an active and involved member of the administration. The last fifty years has seen the emergence of a highly involved VP which has made the selection of a running mate a far more important issue than prior to Truman since the VP is now involved in policy and action taken on that policy.

Truman himself was a more or less ceremonial VP as FDR excluded him from everything including the war. Being the number two seems to give the electorate the confidence to allow the office of Vice President as strong contender for President. Once again this is the first time since 1952 that an incumbent VP or President has not been running.

Thompson and Edwards present situations that have little historical perspective since both are former Senators who have not served in another elected office since. Edwards has little experience from an executive stand point since he served one term in the Senate and prior as a trial attorney. Thompson served two Senate terms but has had some executive experience in serving on select committees as head and leading the nomination process of both Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the SCOTUS and as an assistant US attorney.

While none of the historical perspective ultimately will determine who of the 2008 candidates will survive the primaries and eventually become President, it does provide a record of the voting habits of the American people since the office of President began in 1789. Those with prior executive experience fair best while sitting Congressional candidates are, historically speaking, highly unlikely to find favor through the election process for President of The United States.

Ken Taylor

13 Comments:

Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Good post, Ken.

I think in general, those who have governed states have far more useful experience than those who are lawmakers.

I have not yet thrown my support for a specific candidate; although, I have been going through, by process of elimination, who I don't particularly care for.

1:47 AM, November 19, 2007  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Great Post Ken,

That calmed me down some :-)

1:24 PM, November 19, 2007  
Blogger American Interests said...

Ken, it's almost that time, I am making the rounds to say Happy Thanksgiving!

6:58 AM, November 20, 2007  
Anonymous mudkitty said...

The first and last word on Fred, savior of the Republican's, Thompson...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvER0CZPTI0&eurl=http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/

9:07 AM, November 20, 2007  
Blogger Gayle said...

ACK! Mudkitty's back. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving, Ken, and a Happy Thanksgiving to Mudkitty too.

It's a good post, Ken. Very informative, and it gives me hope. Bless you! :)

11:09 AM, November 20, 2007  
Blogger Conservative Chic said...

Wow Ken, you did a lot of work on this and it shows. Excellent!! Still keeping my fingers crossed for Fred!

3:34 PM, November 20, 2007  
Anonymous Seth said...

Excellent post, Ken, and well thought out.

Luckily, Hillary's political experience is that of a senator and there have been no First Ladies elected President. :-)

Based upon your analysis, either Giuliani or Romney will be the likely Republican nominee, with Fred running third in the mix.

It will be an interesting contest.

4:46 PM, November 20, 2007  
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