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One Thompson Down, One To Go

I neglected to note earlier this week that Tommy Thompson, whose run never seemed likely to succeed, dropped out in the wake of his weak showing at the Ames straw poll.  There really must be something wrong with a process for selecting a President that so quickly forces out candidates who have executive experience while retaining so many who have none, or at least none that is really relevant.  Then again, if Mr. Bush’s tenure has taught us anything, it is that having experience as a governor is no indication that you have any idea how to govern at all well.   

As we all know, U.S. Senators have not won many nominations in modern times (Senators have been nominated only four six times since 1900), and they have won even fewer elections (2), yet we are inundated with them and members of the House this time and we are losing more and more of the governors.  Only three former or current governors remain, and none of them actually seems likely to be nominated.  It will be interesting to see whether the “curse” can hold up under such difficult conditions. 

Update: Thompson’s departure makes the ’08 cycle less like one past open election, namely 1928, when the incumbent party nominated a member of the outgoing administration’s Cabinet.  As the only former Cabinet member to have served under Bush in the presidential field, Thompson ’08 would have matched up nicely with the Hoover ’28 run.  The predominance of Senators in the non-incumbent party’s field makes a comparison between 2008 and 1920, when a non-incumbent Senator won, slightly more interesting.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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