Lynn Swann’s Super Bowl Ad

Hugh Hewitt notes that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell could not have been happy to see his likely general election opponent, Lynn Swann, recalled as a Super Bowl MVP last night.

Swann got a thundering reception from the pro-Steelers crowd. Let’s see –tired, old party hack versus fresh face superstar with charisma. Rendell’s got a money advantage, but Swann is already pulling ahead in the polling.

It is the Arnold effect –someone new, someone not defined by the battles of the past dozen years. Unlike Arnold, Swann’s also liked by the GOP base.

Indeed, it occured to me at the time that it amounted to a free, national advertisement for Swann.

Unlike Hugh, though, I am not entirely happy about the proliferation of celebrity candidates. People who are sports heroes and movie stars, especially if they place likeable characters, have an enormous advantage with the voters. But are they really qualified to run a state?

Now, granted, some pretty important political figures used their celebrity to launch their political careers as governor of a large state. In addition to Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush come to mind. Reagan at least had been president of the Screen Actors Guild and been active on the political speaking circuit for years. Bush had run the Texas Rangers (a dubious achievement, perhaps) as well as having experience in the oil business. He also had not insubstantial familiarity with high politics given his dad’s career. Even Schwarzenegger had significant leadership and business experience.

Swann retired from football 24 years ago and spent most of the time since as a barely passable sports broadcaster. The closest thing he has to business experience, according to his own bio, is that he “currently sits on the board of directors of three companies, including H.J. Heinz Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, and Wyndham International, Inc.”

He strikes me as a decent, affable fellow (as does Rendell, by the way) and I prefer him on ideological grounds to the re-election of a Democrat. His celebrity makes victory in November much more likely than for his primary opponent, about which I know little.

Update: TIME is on the same wavelength with a Web-only story entitled, “Lynn Swann’s Superbowl Win: Former Steeler great could ride team victory all the way to the Governor’s office

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Related: Steeler Legend Lynn Swann Running for Pennsylvania Governor

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.