The Congressional Disadvantage

Elections 2008: Oh the drama! The excitement! The anticipation of good things to come. Ah yes, the formation has begun and the media cacophony is getting louder. But how about some reality in all this noise? Let’s look for a minute at the presidents going all the way back to around 1900 (no point in going back further than that, is there?). Look at the highest level position they held prior to becoming president:

Bush (George W) – Governor
Clinton – Governor
Bush (George HW) – Vice President
Reagan – Governor
Carter – Governor
Ford – Vice President
Nixon – Vice President
Johnson – Vice President
Kennedy – Senator
Eisenhower – General
Truman – Vice President
Roosevelt (FDR) – Governor
Hoover – Sect’y of Commerce
Coolidge – Governor
Harding – Lt. Governor
Wilson – Governor
Taft – Sect’y of War
Roosevelt (T) – Governor
McKinley – Governor

What do you see there? I see a mostly Governors and Vice Presidents and relatively few exceptions. Eisenhower had ‘hero’ status from World War II and that was his ‘ride to the top’. There were a couple of Secretaries in there and even a Lt. Governor. How many senators? Hmmm…just a lone senator: JFK. How many representatives? Hmmmm…zilch. So historically speaking we can say that at least based on the last 110 years, positions in Congress do not provide good launching pads for presidents.

Now look at the current list of Presidential contenders (link to Washington Post list). What do you see there? I see lots of Senators (former and current) and even a few Representatives. Next next next… hmmm. We know Cheney is not running so that leaves out any VP’s this time around. If we use the Congressional factor as a likely disqualifier, that clears most of the field. That clears out Billary. That clears out the media darling Obama. That clears out the dark horse Ron Paul. And that leaves:

On the Democratic side:
Bill Richardson (Governor of NM)

On the Republican side:
Mitt Romney (former Governor of MA)
Mike Huckabee (Governor of AR)
Rudy Giuliani (Wildcard ex Mayor of NY under extraordinary circumstances)

Tada! Whew, that certainly changes the landscape from the one the media presents, doesn’t it? Silly me, changing the qualified candidate list with this criteria. Silly maybe, but the past backs me up. What does the past 110 years tell us? That the US voting majority prefers the experience coming from a job like Governor or Vice President over Congressional experience. They see that Governors and VPs have demonstrated leadership in high positions. And they see that Congressional jobs do not demonstrate leadership.

Indeed, what did the 109th Congress get done that was significant? What has the 110th Congress accomplished?

Anyway, will the DNC see this? Doubtful. They’re too focused on Bamery and perhaps keeping an eye on Edwards. Let’s see, early prediction for ticket: Romney versus Clinton or Romney versus Obama. Landslide in favor of Romney either way! You read it here first folks. :-0

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4 comments so far

  1. Jan on

    Wow, then Barack nor Hillary has much of a chance it looks like. Great points about the senator thing, never read that in the news.

  2. Congress Cat on

    One thing about the 1960 election (Kennedy versus Eisenhower) is that it was extremely close – one of the closest ever. Also Kennedy was a bit of War Hero as well having commanded a PT boat in the South Pacific as I recall. None of the current base of Senator-president wannabees have anything like that going for them! This is a excellent article because it uncovers what the common media are leaving out.

  3. […] Posted January 31, 2008 The Congressional Disadvantage may be moot if McCain wins the GOP nomination. Then it will probably be senator versus senator. […]

  4. […] experience is more important that you might think – most presidents have had that according to this source. This at least puts it in the […]


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