Time in Senate May Be Irrelevant if Obama Runs:
Historically, Governors Have Fared Far Better In Presidential Campaigns (Charles Babington, 11/13/06, Washington Post)
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) might be well advised to stay in the Senate several more years before running for president, as many strategists have suggested. But there are at least 40 reasons to challenge that advice.
That is the number of senators who have tried, and failed, to reach the White House since Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) accomplished the feat in 1960. Nearly all of them had more Senate experience than Obama, underscoring the light regard that American voters show for senatorial longevity and expertise in presidential elections.
If Obama’s aim is to become a more respected and knowledgeable senator — in the mold of, say, Robert J. Dole (18 years in the Senate before his 1996 presidential race), Henry “Scoop” Jackson (20 Senate years before his 1972 bid) or Richard G. Lugar (20 Senate years before his 1996 try) — it may be a laudable goal. But it’s a highly questionable presidential strategy.
“The Senate historically has not been a great place from which to run for president,” said former senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who personally learned the lesson in 2004. “Senator Obama might feel he would be better off to run while he has not been tainted by an excessive period in the Senate.”
These two years are likely to deep six any chance he had of crafting national appeal.