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January 12, 2004

Down for the (re)count?

Dowbrigade ponders the fact that in recent U.S. history losing a presidential election results in, "ignominious and career-ending defeat":

Recent American history has not been kind to losing Presidential Candidates...

The bottom line is that Americans hate a loser. They don't like having them around, reminding us of defeat by their very presence.  Better to move on, to new faces, fresh meat, optimistic promises, and unrealized potential.

I think there is some truth to what Dowbrigade writes, but let me suggest that other possible factors for this "disappearence" of losing presidential candidates are:

(1) BOTH candidate in the general election are so personally savaged, by each other and the media, that it takes the bully pulpit of the presidency to repair the damage.

(2) Related, the reality of this savaging leaves the loser unwilling to return to the fray for a second beating.

Posted by jghiii at January 12, 2004 02:06 PM
Posted by: MGA on January 13, 2004 09:36 AM

Okay, I give up. Where do you go after trying for the highest possible
pinnacle of your career that you don't end up looking like a "loser"?

Is Teddy Kennedy a loser? (lost to Carter in the primaries)

Is Jimmy Carter a loser? (lost to Reagan after one term)

Is Gerald Ford a loser? (lost to Carter after less than one term and the
only President in American history to have served but not been elected)

Is Lyndon Johnson a loser? (He opted not to run for an additional term.
Since he chose not to run for re-election in an election he could not
be sure of winning [remember Vietnam? Oh right, Senator Kerry will not
let us forget] does that mean he was a winner since he walked out
on top?)

Is George Bush (the elder) a loser since he retired to private life
gracefully after being in public service for the majority of his working

I suspect this isn't a scenario where perception is reality. It's more
like the reporting media's perception is the reported reality.

Posted by: Jack Hodgson on January 13, 2004 10:28 AM

Ted Kennedy never lost a run for the Presidency, he ran for the nomination and lost. LBJ didn't lose an election. The other guys you mention actually managed to win at least once. The original posting -- not mine, the one I was pointing to -- was mostly about guys who ran and lost.

It was about how they tend to disappear from the national scene. And how the public doesn't seem to mind their passing. I think that argument stands up pretty well, and I think your posting kinda supports that.

Posted by: MGA on January 13, 2004 12:20 PM

Kennedy aside, (Yes I know he "only" ran for the nomination.. I thought
that was my point but..)

Still, If you (and the article from Dowbrigade) mean people who never
achieved the Presidency (I didn't interpret it that way.. funny) I
think my question still stands, "Where do you go after trying for the
highest possible pinnacle of your career that you don't end up looking
like a "loser"?"

It's not like there is a higher office you can aspire to.

And since we're on the subject of perceived losers, who can remember
Vice Presidents in history (i.e. before you were born). Anybody?
Beueller? Anybody?

Posted by: sherman on January 13, 2004 12:40 PM

Aaron Burr!

I think the concept here is that the American public gives you one shot. If you don't make it, we get tired of you and move on to someone else.

That's why Gore had to withdraw from consideration. It's why Hilary is wisely staying out of this election. It's why Lieberman is -- well, he's just Lieberman.

Dukakis was never going to have a second chance.
Mondale was done after losing.
The notable loser who came back was RMN, and we all know how that worked out -- it just encouraged us to reinforce the idea that if you lose once you should be shunned.

I, by the way, have yet to lose a presidential election so I'm still viable. I'm waiting for my shot.

A Kentucky Fried Chicken with every ounce of pot -- that's my motto.

Oh and also NO CELL PHONES ALLOWED! And Steve CAse has to personally eat all those cd's he keeps mailing out. And bomb all the Starbucks. And you should be able to get unlimited tiny containers of sauce with your McNuggets. And everyone has to start wearing their underwear on the outside.

That will be my first 100 days. Then we'll start dealing with the issue of girls and their cooties.

Posted by: Jack Hodgson on January 13, 2004 12:56 PM

> Aaron Burr!

:-) He's the one I was thinking of too.

Interestingly, he was also shunned after his failed run for the presidency -- shunned for a bunch other stuff too.

Posted by: Thomas Jefferson on January 13, 2004 01:18 PM

That asshole Burr. (Excuse me -- am I suppposed to issue some sort of alert to some geek's mom now? I'm sorry for the language, but this subject really gets my powdered wig in a bunch.)

I was running for President and he was running as my Vice-President. Everyone, including that rat's ass, knew the roles we were assigned. So the rule was that the candidate with the most votes got to be President, and the candidate with the second most votes got to be Vice-President. Everyone understood the roles, but we ended up having a tie and instead of taking his place at the various funerals of foreign heads of state like he was suppposed to, the pompous turd-face decided he had a claim to be President. We had to go to the House of Representatives to settle the issue and those idiots deadlocked for 35 ballots until I had one of my slaves give Hamilton a good blow job, and he voted for me and I won the presidency and went onto fame and glory.

Burr, however, just became a bitter man, never able to forgive Hamilton, and eventually found some pretext to have a duel which he won. Hamilton's final words were "The blow job was worth it."

American History -- you gotta love it.

Posted by: Jo Ann on January 13, 2004 03:48 PM

Regarding Gerald Ford having the dubious distinction of being the only President in U.S. history to have served, but not been elected... hmmm... no, at least until the next election, I'd say he shares that honor with George W. Bush.

Posted by: Jack Hodgson on January 13, 2004 03:57 PM

You go girl!

Posted by: MGA on January 14, 2004 08:04 AM

/:- {

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