Thursday, August 12, 2004

Executives and Legislators (repost)

I originally published the post below on February 10 of this year. It seems apt for republishing in light of Pete DuPont's thoughtful piece in today's Opinion Journal:

Executives and Legislators

It seems as if Kerry will be standing tomorrow.

Clark is folding his tent and walking home. He has canceled all activities on his calendar. And the last thing he wants to carry away from this fiasco besides an embittered son is debt.

Edwards desperately wants to stay on, but money and election returns are weighing him down. Can he stay long enough to be VP? As I have said before, Kerry would do best to gather up Evan Bayh and make a break from this group of folks.

Dean will not die. I think he is emboldened by consistent defeat. He'll get up as the others fall away. He believes Kerry is vulnerable. And with only Dean left ...

Who is on history's side - Kerry or Dean? One view is that Kerry is a legislator, Dean from the executive branch. This is important, I suggest. An executive serves for a shorter time, generally. Has built-in protections for bad decisions - an uncooperative legislative branch, an inherited budget crisis. A legislator is accountable for every yes or no vote. The public seems to ignore that some votes are quid pro quo with other legislators.

Regardless, legislators seem to have a more difficult time getting elected to the presidency.

Past elections:
(E) - Executive; (L) - Legislative; (O) - Other; (I) Incumbent
(Note that I indicated the most recently held position)

2000 - George the Younger (E) beat Gore (E) and Nadar (O)
1996 - Clinton (I) beat Dole (L) and Perot (O)
1992 - Clinton (E) beat George the Elder (I) and Perot (O)
1988 - George the Elder (E) beat Dukakis (E)
1984 - Reagan (I) beat Mondale (E)
1980 - Reagan (E) beat Carter (I) and Anderson (O)
1976 - Carter (E) beat Ford (I) and McCarthy (L)
1972 - Nixon (I) beat McGovern (L) and Schmitz (L)
1968 - Nixon (E) beat Humphrey (L) and Wallace (E)
1964 - Johnson (I) beat Goldwater (L)
1960 - Kennedy (L) beat Nixon (E)
1956 - Eisenhower (I) beat Stevenson (E)
1952 - Eisenhower (O) beat Stevenson (E)
1948 - Truman (I) Dewey (E), Thurmond (L), Wallace (E), and Thomas (O)
1944 - Roosevelt (I) beats Dewey (E) and Thomas (O)
1940 - Roosevelt (I) beats Wilkie (O) and Thomas (O)
1936 - Roosevelt (I) beats Landon (E) and Thomas (O)
1932 - Roosevelt (E) beats Hoover (I) and Thomas (O)
1928 - Hoover (O) beats Smith (E) and Thomas (O)
1924 - Coolidge (E) beats Davis (L) and LaFollette (L)
1920 - Harding (L) beats Cox (E) and Debs (L)
1916 - Wilson (I) beats Hughes (E) and Benson (O)
1912 - Wilson (E) beats Roosevelt (E), Taft (I), and Debs (L)
1908 - Taft (O) beats Bryan (L) and Debs (L)
1904 - Roosevelt (I - McKinley term) beats Parker (O) and Debs

Incumbents are 11 and 5. All 5 of the losses have been to executives. No incumbent has lost to a legislator in the past 100 years.

Executives are 4 and 2 against legislators. Kennedy and Harding.

I have heard people speak of Kennedy. People who worked with Kennedy. People who knew Kennedy. Kerry is no John F. Kennedy.

History would indicate that Dean has a better chance against W than Kerry does.

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