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September 15, 2004

Why Do Senators Lose Presidential Elections?

The story below is from CBS, so I don't know if it can be trusted, but it did make me think about why Senators don't become Presidents, even though that is their dearest ambition. My thought: they're rotten administrators, so they can't even run a successful campaign.

In 2004, Senator Kerry's campaign is in disarray. In 2000, Senator Gore (later VP, but that doesn't help) lost to a governor. In 1996, Senator Dole lost to a governor. In 1992 we had a President vs. a governor. In 1988, Senator Dukakis lost to a CIA manager-Republican chairman-businessman. In 1984, Senator Mondale lost to a president. In 1980, we had a President versus a governor. In 1976, we had a President versus a governor. In 1972, Senator McGovern lost to a President. In 1968, Senator (later VP) Humphrey lost to Senator Nixon- narrowly. (Humphrey had been a mayor, I think, so maybe this is an exception.) In 1964, Senator Goldwater lost to a President. In 1960, Senator Nixon faced Senator Kennedy. And so forth.

Senator Harding did win in 1920. That's the first exception I can think of (note that I'm giving credit to Truman for having been President 1944-48 before he faced Dewey). Harding was notorious for his density, though, which means he was probably smart enough to let someone else run his campaign without interference, and I don't remember whether Cox was a senator or not. ...

"Our problem here is a national message," Coelho says. "What is it that we [Democrats] are? If you go to Kerry, that’s a disaster because the candidate should not be involved in solving disputes or the creation of his message.

"You need a [campaign] boss, somebody who says ‘Shut up, we are going to work this out.’ Not someone who can go around to Kerry, and that’s Shrummy’s forte," Coelho continues, speaking of Shrum. The Kerry campaign has over the past week refuted speculation that either Shrum or Sasso are running the campaign.

Posted by erasmuse at September 15, 2004 11:11 AM

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