Thursday, August 10, 2006

7/10-12/2006 - On checking one's assertions

For reasons I don't fully understand, I get weekly e-mails from Ken Mehlmann, of the Republican National Party.  Talking about Senator Lieberman's defeat, this week's missive contains the sentence:

"For a political party to reject a respected Senator who just six years ago was its candidate for Vice President is virtually without precedent."

I'm sure he would have preferred to say "is without precedent," so the presence of the word "virtually" interested me particularly.  Any idea of about whom Ken was thinking?  I had the hazy recollection that there was a 1-term president who lost the re-nomination, and thought this could be what Ken was hampered by.  So I googled "one term presidents" and the top link was:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Presidents_who_served_one_term_or_less
Amazing.
I discovered that no-less than 5 sitting presidents have lost the nomination for the second term:

  • Tyler (Whigs)
  • Fillmore (Whigs)
  • Pierce (a.k.a. worst President so far, Democrat)
  • Johnson (Liberal when he had a heart, Conservative when he had a brain)
  • Chester A. Arthur (Republican)

4 out of the 5 above Vice Presidents who became president after the deaths of their President (Harrison, Taylor, Lincoln and Garfield).  So it seems like about 10% of sitting presidents -- who, Like Lieberman, were respected enough to be named as VPs -- couldn't carry the national party within 4 years of taking office.  Based on that, I'm not sure why it would seem quite so surprising that a VP candidate couldn't carry a local party more than 4 years after failing to take office.

Had Ken omitted the word "virtually" I wouldn't even have thought to check.  This moment in civic history brought to you by the honorable goal of truth in advertising..

34,000 lame-duck waddles today.  Quack.

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