The quadrennial Super Bowl of the race for what is always the ‘most important election ever’ is now a mere seven months away. All eyes not glued to Donald Trump turn to the presumptive Joe Biden. Presumptive in many ways and years, Joe raises the knotty issue of whether a senator can, or rather, should be elected president. Only three have gone from ‘sitting’ during a single term in the Senate to sitting in the White House: Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. The truth is, senators don’t make good presidents. Most of them don’t even make good senators.
Warren Harding was not of the modern, post-World War Two era. He did once hold an important if mostly ceremonial seat as lieutenant governor of Ohio. Joe Biden of course is a veteran of eight years as Veep under Obama, which included designation as ‘point man’ on Ukraine and some other worthy recipients of US taxpayer largesse, such as China and Romania. Obama chose him for his ‘bonhomie’ with the Senate at large, be it lunch with a Grand Kleagle of the KKK one day and across-the-aisle golf with a senator the next.
Though Joe’s last service was as an appointed vice president, he has spent the last four years as a civilian. He was an elected senator for almost 40 years and, as Obama’s secretary of defense Robert Gates said, he was ‘ wrong on everything for those 40 years’. Joe ran twice for the nomination when a sitting senator and was twice rejected. We must presume Joe is running on his Senate record, presuming (that word again) he doesn’t want to run on his record of cowing Burisma into taking his princeling son on their board so that US taxpayer money, which might later find its way to Burisma, would go to Ukraine.
But it’s not just Joe. It’s all of them. Senators can’t run anything, let alone a country. JFK bumbled his way into the installation of militant communism in Cuba, whose apparatchiks plague us to this day in Venezuela and elsewhere. He also failed to ‘contain’ Soviet expansion into western Europe: the Berlin Wall was built at leisure under his nose. This was a shoddy departure from Harry Truman’s Berlin airlift of 1948-49. Full disclosure: Truman had been a senator but ascended from sitting vice president.
Obama also couldn’t run a bath. He turned over his only two labors to others: the freighted Obamacare to Nancy Pelosi, the Lady Macbeth of the House Democrats, and the nefarious ‘Iran deal’ to the even more nefarious John Brennan and the ultra-nefarious UN. Oh, and he turned Ukraine over to Joe.
Since Lyndon Johnson, who was largely responsible for the elevation of the Senate into an overpaid aristocracy, some 50 senators, none sitting, have run for president. All of them unsuccessfully…but for Obama. And he, like JFK ran during his first and only Senate term. There is a reason for this pattern: senators are powerful, but they are basically useless. If they try to be useful and take a position, they collect baggage and people who disagree with them. This is why no senator has raised issues regarding the WuFlu.
The so called ‘greatest debating society’ mostly produces hot air, paid junkets to hotspots like Paris, London and Rome, and a lotta free lunches. Its Hollywood with ugly people – though Joe, a pioneer of political hair plugs, gleaming, chiclet-like veneers and a permanent suntan, is by contrast a veritable Rudy Vallee in Palm Beach Story.
Finally, it’s instructive that the two most highly placed dynastic senators, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, both whiffed ignominiously. Teddy blew it in 1979 as a long-term sitting senator and Hillary first lost as a sitting senator, then lost again after opting for secretary of state rather than vice president. Senators have too many conflicts, too much baggage, and too little education. After all, what can a Teddy Kennedy or a Chuck Schumer possibly learn in the passage from an unremarkable three years of law school to a Democratic clubhouse?
Leonard Toboroff is an industrialist and investor.