It’s often noted that our presidents don’t come from the Senate anymore. The last president elected from the Senate was John Kennedy, and he was an historical rarity even then.
The most common explanation for this phenomenon is that Senators are called upon to make tough votes that tend to undermine their popularity. Though this probably is an important factor, let me suggest another — the Senate is a fairly rotten place. For example, it’s the kind of place where 14 Senators can hijack the judicial confirmation process. Worse, it’s the kind of place where a handful of Senators can reach a deal on fundamental issues about the identity of America and then try to force a vote on the resulting 300 page bill with little time for the body as a whole to study or debate it.
This year, John McCain is the lone first-tier Republican presidential candidate jeopardized by the “curse of the Senate.” But don’t think of McCain as a potential victim of the curse; think of him as the embodiment of the sort of high-handedness and arrogance that lies behind the curse.
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