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Lessenberry not running for president


I have decided I owe it to my listeners to announce today that I am not running for President. I am indeed old enough and have no felony convictions, but I have decided not to run, for a number of reasons. One of which is that I don’t have access to the billion dollars anyone nowadays needs.

There is also the minor drawback that I can’t imagine anybody in either party voting for me, and one major one, which is that the woman I live with would leave me and take the dog.

But the real problem is that the voters just aren’t willing to elect anyone from Michigan President. We’ve had a black President, almost had a Jewish vice-president and our next President may be a woman, but not a Michigander. 

You saw what happened when Mitt Romney ran last time. He couldn’t even carry Oakland County, where he grew up.

His father ran in 1968, and didn’t make it to the first primary. Gerald Ford, our only appointed President, lost his bid for election, and only made it that far because he was really born in Nebraska.

Lewis Cass, our founding political godfather, won the Democratic nomination but lost the general election back in 1848. His autographed portrait hangs over my desk as I write these lines, scowling.

Exactly a century later, the Republicans nominated Owosso native Thomas E. Dewey. He too lost, as he had the time before.

Nobody wants a Michigander in the White House.

This is worth mentioning because just about everyone else seems to have suddenly decided this is the time to announce they are running for President. First there was Ted Cruz, then Ron Paul, then Hillary Clinton, then Marco Rubio.

Yesterday, Ohio Governor John Kasich came to Detroit to pretty much announce he was running, and you know still more will get in.

Personally, I’m staying on the fence until I see whether either Dan Quayle or Al Gore decide to run. Both have been vice-president, both are still in their sixties, and both are more qualified than some of those now running.

But neither has been seen in public for years, unless maybe on a missing persons’ milk carton. If I can turn halfway serious for a moment, there are two interesting things to consider about this year’s crop of candidates.

First of all, for the last six years, some Republicans have been claiming – falsely --that President Obama is ineligible to hold the job because he was born in Kenya. But today, some of those same people are supporting Ted Cruz, who was born in Alberta to a father who was a Cuban.

Second, those of us who have been around for a while remember that when Ronald Reagan first ran, there was great concern over whether, at age 69, he was too old to be President. That’s precisely the age Hillary Clinton will be next year, and I’ve never once heard her age mentioned as an issue.  We’re all older these days.

Nobody knows yet whether she will be nominated or elected.

But she has already accomplished this: When it comes to Presidential politics, we will never again be able to say, let the best man win.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio's political analyst. Views expressed in his essays are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan

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