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Old 11-15-2018, 12:27 AM
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Contrary to what many assume, I think some people run for President, at least in part, out of a sense of duty. Sure it's thrilling to sit in the big chair, but if Biden runs it won't be for the thrill. It will be out of fear that no one else can beat Trump. Same goes for Hillary, though this cycle her sense of duty will tell her NOT to run.

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Beginning with FDR, almost every single President elected has been either an incumbent Prez or Vice Prez or a national figure of great charisma long before the election. (Truman, LBJ, Nixon, and Bush-41 had served as V.P. so are omitted from the following list):
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Governor of the largest state; had acquired national recognition by running for Vice Pres. in 1920.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Among other positions, he had been Supreme Commander for the liberation of Western Europe. Truman had offered him the job of POTUS four years earlier.
  • John F. Kennedy a very charismatic Senator and war hero. In 1956 he finished 2nd in the balloting for Vice Pres. at the DNC.
  • Jimmy Carter Governor of a largish state, noted for his support of civil rights; projected unusually strong integrity.
  • Ronald Reagan big state Governor, very popular nationwide; had run for President as early as 1968.
  • Bill Clinton Governor with successful programs, had served as chairman of the National Governors Association, and chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council; gave the opening-night speech at 1988 DNC.
  • George W. Bush, Donald J. Trump both had strong name recognition nation-wide but are unworthy of further discussion: the 21st-century GOP is happy to run mediocrities.
  • Barack Obama very charismatic Senator (nominated by an unprecedented margin) who helped drive significant legislation; delivered an "electrifying" keynote address at the 2004 DNC. Here's a newspaper article from 1990 quoting one colleague: "I thought, 'This guy sounds like he's president of the country already;' I've never met anyone who could leave that impression after only five minutes."
With few exceptions, everyone on this list was a superstar of great achievement and/or charisma.

But how about the present crop? Does Gillibrand belong on this list? In the debate I linked to yesterday, she was not a top speaker her opponent probably "won" the debate. She'll be easy to brand as a "flip-flopper." (In the debate she solemnly promised to serve 6 more years in the Senate. Just a few weeks later she practically told Stephen Colbert she was running for President.) To compare her with an Obama or even a Carter is laughable.

But I'm not trying to pick on Gillibrand. I don't see any strong candidate.