The Campaign Spot

An Example of the Senatorial Disadvantage in Presidential Races

We’re all familiar with the senatorial curse in presidential campaigns – last senator elected was John F. Kennedy; failed runs by Kerry, Dole; former senator Gore fell short, McCain, Hatch, Biden… etc. By comparison, we’ve been on a roll with governors and former governors – George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter…
Anyway, there are many theories about this, but generally they boil down to the sense that governorships are executive branch leadership positions, little mini-presidencies with motorcades, bill-signing ceremonies, rose garden addresses in the executive mansion, vetoes, inspection of disaster sites… they often set the agenda and are always in the spotlight, at least in his or her state. By comparison, a senator is one of a hundred voices that spends all of his time reacting to the agenda of the Senate leadership, and often ends up making some enemies along the way by voting the wrong way.
A recent Giuliani speech illustrated the advantage he (and Romney, and Richardson) have that McCain, Brownback, Hillary, and Obama don’t have. (Hat tip, RedState.)

“In the business world, if two weeks were spent on a nonbinding resolution, it would be considered nonproductive,” Giuliani told the lunch crowd, setting off a burst of laughter.
He called the concept “a comment without making a decision.” America, he added, is “very fortunate to have President Bush.”
“Presidents can’t do nonbinding resolutions. Presidents have to make decisions and move the country forward, and that’s the kind of president that I would like to be, a president who makes decisions.”

The true anti-war crowd are irriated with these resolutions, because they won’t really change anything. The pro-war crowd are irritated, because they see the resolutions as a great big “we think you’re doomed” message to the troops. And the resolutions keep changing – from Biden’s, to Warner’s, to McCain’s… any senator has to react to this constantly-shifting debate and vote decision on a resolution that is, ultimately, pretty meaningless.


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