In the nation's history, only Kennedy and Warren G. Harding have been elected directly from the Senate to the presidency. But the dismal statistics have not dissuaded dozens of senators from trying, including big names (John Glenn, Edward M. Kennedy), largely forgotten names (Larry Pressler, Carol Moseley Braun) and plenty in between.In other news, the anti-Bush tide helped boost Yarmuth to Congress. As I said the other day, the state party has ordered an audit. It is a start to bringing change to the party and find out where the money came from and where it went.
U.S. voters repeatedly have shown a preference for governors, especially during the 52-year stretch from Grover Cleveland's first election through Franklin D. Roosevelt's fourth, and again in recent years, when seven of the past eight presidential campaigns have been won by former governors. The 2008 presidential race seems certain to focus special scrutiny on why senators with impressive résumés have fared so poorly in White House bids.
Not only did Obama cause a sensation last month by simply saying he would consider a 2008 campaign, but the early front-runners in both parties are senators: Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Perhaps no governor will emerge from the pack, as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did, and 2008 will prove the exception to the rule. But scholars of presidential campaigns have their doubts.
"I'm skeptical that a senator can make it," said Barry C. Burden, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who has written on the subject. "Just looking at the historical record, the odds are not very good."
Burden said voters generally like the executive experience of governors. Additionally, governors, more than senators, are much more able to set their own agendas, make bold decisions, and avoid complicated legislative debates and votes that opponents can exploit.
Joe Trippi looks at the possible field for 2008, and here is what he says about Senator Evan Bayh.
A senator who has actually run a government, the former governor of Indiana also hails from the region that may be most critical to a Democratic electoral victory — the Midwest. In 2004, Democrats lost Missouri and Ohio, electoral votes that would have put Kerry over the top. Bayh could be the best bet for picking up three or four Midwestern states. He seems to be running to Clinton's right, which will prove to be either pure genius (he has a lane all to himself) or a disaster.This is probably old news by now by Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Congressman John Murtha for Majority Leader, which signals a different direction for the party in Washington.
Pelosi's decision could be a significant blow to Hoyer, who has worked for years to move up in the Democratic leadership. Political handicappers had regarded Hoyer to be the strong favorite when House Democrats meet Thursday to choose a majority leader for the 110th Congress. Although Murtha's stance on Iraq has made him a hero among many grass-roots party activists, his positions against abortion and gun control have pushed many House liberals into Hoyer's camp, including the leader of the Out of Iraq Caucus, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).I'm staying neutral in the leadership elections and will support whoever is elected.
Hoyer's camp counts 21 of the roughly 40 incoming freshman Democrats as committed supporters. Many freshmen believe the Democrats should stick with the team that brought them to the majority, said John Sarbanes, who was elected last week to represent central Maryland in the House.
Hoyer also has the strong support of many of the party's conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, who worry about Murtha's involvement in the Abscam bribery sting in 1980 and what they see as his freewheeling style on the House Appropriations Committee, where he has openly advocated for the interests of his district and his political supporters.
Some of Hoyer's supporters put the best face on Pelosi's intervention, saying Murtha would not have asked for a public letter of support if his campaign were not in trouble.