John Lemon wonders why it is that dopey people run for president:

I always thought that if you got to the level of running for president of the US, even in a primary, you would be a pretty level-headed person. To me that is a plausible hypothesis since you have to court a wide base of support that will not only contribute to your campaign financially (so we are talking reasonably wealthy and educated people that you need to attract) but to stuff envelopes and make phone calls too. However, the likes of Al Sharpton, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan seem to prove me wrong. But just when I thought that Al Sharpton was the village idiot of the latest folks to run for president, I did a bit of background checking on Dennis Kucinich. This guy is just plain nuts.

Well, any idiot can run. When I moved to Alabama 20 years ago, my local state representative, who wasn’t even particularly prominent in Alabama’s lower house, was running for president. I think the more interesting question is why the mass media treat these people seriously. Granted, Carol Moseley-Braun managed to get elected to the Senate, but that was a bizarre situation (she was just Cook County recorder of deeds, but beat a scandal-plagued incumbent in the primaries and then coasted to victory over a weak Republican) that was corrected after one term. But Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich are jokes.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MommaBear says:

    Could it possibly be because, with few exceptions, no sane intelligent person who is also not a power-hungry politician would deliberately subject him/herself to the ugliness of politics?

  2. John Lemon says:

    Ok, that’s it. You just threw down the gauntlet. I am now announcing my candidacy for US President. Let me declare myself the 10th Democratic candidate.

    (And you do know that I know that anybody can run for president. I was talking merely about those who get the attention for running for president, and who actually have the time and money to go around campaining on a wide scale. My intuition is that to get to that level you have to had performed somewhat proficiently in other aspects of your life, thus filtering out the real dopey people.)

  3. James Joyner says:

    Heh. I might even cross over into the Democrat primaries to vote for you. If you don’t run, I might have to vote for Al Sharpton instead; my boy is running unopposed, so what fun is that?

    Indeed, I’m guessing that Sharpton will get quite a few Republican votes–although I suspect the media will treat that differently than McCain getting Democrat votes in 2000.

  4. James Joyner says:

    And, yes, I knew that you knew. 🙂