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Who was the best unsuccessful Presidency-contender?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 09:21 pm
Equus asked: Who is the most obscure US President?

Made me think of something I'd be curious about. Who was - according to your opinion - the most succesful US presidency-contender? Successful in the rest of his life, I mean, in terms of political significance - I can look up the numbers about the races themselves myself. Nixon is I believe the only losing candidate who succeeded in becoming president after all in a later race, so he is hors categorie, as are all the losing incumbents - what about the others, the ones who tried but never made it ?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,089 • Replies: 26
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 09:32 pm
Not sure who qualifies here, but assuming anyone who has lost a presidential election does qualify, I vote for Jimmy Carter. His Nobel Peace Prize is well-deserved for all he's accomplished since losing to Reagan.
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 09:36 pm
I'll say Adlai Stevenson.

Following his defeat twice as the Dem's nominee in the Fifties, he had a nice encore at the UN during Kennedy's time, confronting the Soviets with the photos of the missle silos in Cuba, saying, "Don't wait for the translation...yes or no?!?"

Quite a statesman.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 09:57 pm
D'artagnan wrote:
Not sure who qualifies here, but assuming anyone who has lost a presidential election does qualify, I vote for Jimmy Carter.


Nope, he doesnt qualify. Only contenders who havent actually ever made it to the presidency.

One vote for Stevenson, noted. If I get enough suggestions, I'll put up a poll ;-)
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LarryBS
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 10:10 pm
"We Need Adlai Badly. " I'm an Adlai fan too.

Not sure how much Barry Goldwater did after the landslide, but I admired his taking a stand on gays in the military just a few years ago, not to mention his hostility toward the religious right.

My first vote was for John Anderson, but he is long forgotten (sorry John).
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 10:31 pm
Adlai All The Way v. I Like Ike

John Anderson cost Jimmy Carter his second term just as Nader cost Gore the 2000 election in my opinion.
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LarryBS
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 10:37 pm
I beg your forgiveness, I was young and stupid. Then again, at least I didn't vote for Bedtime for Bonzo star, R.R.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 10:45 pm
No reason not to include third-party candidates in the question. Hey, once upon a time in the roaring seventies, Peter Camejo was a mere presidential candidate for the obscure Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party (which, although he got it more votes than it would attract at any other time in its 24 years of trying, still had to make do with 0,1% of the vote). Look at him now. Became a stock exchange millionaire, if I have it right - and *then* ... end up third in the Californian governors race for the Greens. Ah well.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 10:50 pm
Larry are you talking to me? You did not say anything wrong in my view. I know and love lots of people who voted Anderson in 80. But if you really want forgiveness you will show up at the Florida gathering.
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LarryBS
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Jan, 2003 11:42 pm
j - Yes I meant you, I was just kidding. I'm going to have to hitchhike up there if this job doesn't come through, but I'm going to try my best to make it. I'd love to meet everyone.
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 01:24 am
Given the terms of the question, the best answer is George Washington. Second place is a close tie between Andrew Jackson and FDR. Washington might have served as Executive as long as he wished, without any partisan campaigning. Andrew Jackson and FDR were almost as popular, and both used their executive powers effectively. Teddy was popular, but I don't think he measures up to the first three on my list.

Though LBJ became quite unpopular as the People became disillusioned with Vietnam, he was extremely effective in getting his legislation actually passed into law. William H. Harrison was elected without personally campaigning, and died shortly after assuming office. The rest of the possibles, those who left office voluntarily or in a coffin, trail way behind those mentioned above.

I suppose a few words should be said about Lincoln here. Lincoln doesn't make the list because he wasn't particuarily good at gaining votes. First, elected because the Democratic vote was split, and later narrowly won re-election on the soldier's vote. Effective? Yes. A great President, uniquely able and fit for the challenges of his term in office? Absolutely.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 08:57 am
Re: Who was the most successful Presidency-contender?
nimh wrote:
Nixon is I believe the only losing candidate who succeeded in becoming president after all in a later race..


Oh no noooo.. Lots of others ran, lost and later became President. (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Q. Adams, etc..)

But, to the main part of the question - I'd say Daniel Webster. He ran for President as a Whig in 1836, lost and then handled the settling of the Aroostook War (US and Great Britin dispute of land borders between Maine and Canada..) with the Webter-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, became Sec. of State under Harrison in 1841, pushed the Compromise of 1850 (big slavery issues..) through the Senate. He became Sec. of State again under Millard Fillmore in 1850 and enforced the Fugative Slave Act until his death in 1852. Even though he was never elected President he remained at the very top of National politics through the remeinder of his life.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 09:46 am
Asherman wrote:
Given the terms of the question, the best answer is George Washington. Second place is a close tie between Andrew Jackson and FDR. [..] I suppose a few words should be said about Lincoln here. Lincoln doesn't make the list because he wasn't particuarily good at gaining votes. First, elected because the Democratic vote was split, and later narrowly won re-election on the soldier's vote. Effective? Yes. A great President, uniquely able and fit for the challenges of his term in office? Absolutely.


Aherman, thank you very much for your analysis, interesting, in particular where you note the example of how a president voted in narrowly or on a minority of votes can still turn out to be Great - I'm sure that's the hsitorical verdict Clinton and Bush Jr are hoping for, too.

The question, however, was a different one, namely about which of the contenders who didn't make it to the presidency you consider to be the most succesful, valuable, important - what you want - in the rest of his life, in political terms. Apparently I phrased my Q a bit unclear, so I've now changed the title. I wanted "the most successful unsuccessful Presidency-contender" but that didn't fit, so I had to settle for "best unsuccessful Presidency-contender", which is fine as it invites you to give a more personal evaluation ...

and - I added a poll! Very Happy
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 09:55 am
Re: Who was the most successful Presidency-contender?
fishin' wrote:
nimh wrote:
Nixon is I believe the only losing candidate who succeeded in becoming president after all in a later race..


Oh no noooo.. Lots of others ran, lost and later became President. (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Q. Adams, etc..)


Thanks for correcting me there, it's clear that my knowledge of US politics quite abruptly decreases when the time before 1900 is concerned!

And, the perfect example, that's exactly the kind of thing I was hoping posters would come up with - restoring long-forgotten politicians to memory with a personal evaluation of their achievements and significance. Daniel Webster, huh. Thanks again.
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 11:01 am
I misread the question. That's what comes of posting in the middle of the night when honest folk are abed. Sorry about that.

Washington falls off of the list, but that makes it a tie for Andrew Jackson and FDR for first place. Jackson was "robbed" of the Presidency by Quincy and his "corrupt bargain" with Calhoon in 1828. Jackson was the People's clear favorite and Quincy was almost as disliked as the first Adams, so public outrage was quite similar to that we experienced in the last election. Take heart Demos. Quincy wasn't a "bad" President, though he was generally ineffective because of strong opposition. Jackson ascended to the Executive Chair in the next election and remained a public idle for the rest of the century. Jackson during his administration cleared the Southeast of Indians (Trail of Tears), and fought the central bank which eventually resulted in a major depression during his picked successor's administration. The Little Magician got the blame for the failed economy, and WH Harrison was elected mostly on the basis of a great slogan.

John Adams was Washington's successor, and though not a popular man, had not been defeated for executive office. I think that disqualifies him from the list. Jefferson was defeated by Adams and then came back to win and set in motion the "Revolution of 1800". Deconstruction of Federalist policies, reduction of the military to little more than a palace guard, and other shennanigans followed. In fairness, though I dislike Jefferson very, very much, it was his Democratic-Republicans who have since dominated the political scene of the United States. All right, make that a three-way tie for first/second/third place.

Harding and Coolidge soundly drubbed Cox and FDR by a 61% plurality. Cox had no real national following, but his Vice-Presidential candidate had already been marked for future greatness. FDR's health then made it seem that his political career was over, but Coolidge's inability to deal with the Great Depression and the rise of foriegn dictatorships brought FDR back to political life.

With this new approach, LBJ probably qualifies as number three. LBJ lost his bid for the Presidency to JFK in the smoke-filled rooms of the Democratic convention.

Is it really fair to disqualify Nixon? He was soundly beaten by JFK, he was politically dead repeatedly over his long career, yet managed to be elected twice in his own right. True, he left office in disgrace rather than face certain impeachment, but Nixon's foriegn policy was bold and largely successful. Johnson and Clinton were also tried before the Senate, and though not convicted, neither could ever be re-elected. If Nixon were admitted, he would be tied with LBJ for fourth/fifth place.
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 12:23 pm
<who didn't make it to the presidency>

Sad Sorry, Big Ash...read it again...
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Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 12:57 pm
I give up.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 01:01 pm
I voted for W. J. Bryan, mainly because (yeah, this isn't exactly scientific) I love his quote, "You will not crucify this nation on a cross of silver!"
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nelsonn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jan, 2003 10:01 pm
Gore was the most successful: he actually won the election.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jan, 2003 09:17 am
Oops, cross of gold. Eh, silver, gold, what's the difference?

A few hundred an ounce. Ba-bing! <rimshot sound>

Don't forget to tip your waitresses, folks.
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