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   Lieutenant governor is the worst job in politics

NEWS INFORMATION

Parent

Parent

News Date

5/28/2014 4:00 pm

Author

Aaron Blake

Media

Washington Post

Category

News

Database Record

Entered 5/29/2014, Updated 5/29/2014

Original Article

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Description

"A famous politician once mused that the vice presidency wasn't worth a "warm bucket of piss." And we're sure Selina Meyer agrees. Being lieutenant governor, though, is worth even less. And rarely has that been more true than these days. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) lost reelection on Tuesday, falling in a primary runoff to state Sen. Dan Patrick (R). This happened just two years after Dewhurst was supposed to be the Lone Star State's next senator but lost a primary to Ted Cruz. But it's hardly the only bad thing that's happened to a lieutenant governor in the last couple of years. Indeed, the nation's No. 2s have truly been through the meat-grinder. Since the start of 2012, six lieutenant governors have resigned, six more have seen frontrunning campaigns for governor or Senate crumble, and three have opted not to run alongside their bosses for reelection. Of the nation's 45 lieutenant governors (five states don't have one), these various foibles cover about 30 percent of them -- in just a two-year period. And here's the real kicker: Very few of them are headed in the other direction. While being lieutenant governor is supposed to be a stepping stone to bigger things, it rarely is. According to a recent study by Governing magazine, lieutenant governors have a dismal record -- 17-38 -- over the last two decades when it comes to running for governor in their own right. There are six former lieutenant governors in the Senate, but two of them were appointed -- Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and John Walsh (D-Mont.) -- and only one -- Jim Risch (R-Idaho) -- jumped straight from that job to the Senate. (He was also, notably, a former care-taker governor.)"


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DISCUSSION

AFP

Patrick said

on 5/30/2014 11:39 am

Half of the ugly list they posted were scandals and people just not running for re-election. I'm more inclined to believe that it's still the best job in politics (since you don't actually do anything), and because of that it attracts second tier politicians who aren't super electable for positions that actually matter.

 

D

Brandon said

on 5/30/2014 12:40 pm

Yeah. The comparison to the vice presidency in the opening isn't complete. The vice presidency may indeed be a sucky office to have to occupy, but it most definitely matters who's sitting in that chair. If some third-rate nimrod becomes governor somewhere because of accidental circumstances, it's bad but not calamitous. President Palin, on the other hand, well...yeah.

 

R

kal said

on 5/30/2014 2:31 pm

Being La Lt. Governor would be a great job. You could travel all over the place promoting tourism. No real responsibilities but the opportunity to see lots of places.

 

Tory

Sir Reginald Featherbottom III said

on 6/2/2014 4:03 am

Yeah, I'd love to be Lieutenant Governor. Even the Vice President comes under a good deal of scrutiny and criticism and is expected to fulfill some relatively important duties, but you really only need to have a pulse and stay out of trouble to make an effective Lt. Governor. Great paycheck, great title, little to no responsibility, and a hard job to screw up at unless you're a complete idiot. And you get to be Governor in a "worst case" scenario. If that's the worst job in politics then I'm ready, willing, and able to serve the people of any state that would allow me to assume such a burden.

 

R

J.R. said

on 6/2/2014 4:18 pm

I think the worst job in politics is presidential spokesman, particularly in a second term. When there's good news, the president is going to come out himself. When there's bad news, he's just going to throw you out there while he's hiding up in his room. Plus, you have to defend indefensible stuff, like secret waiting lists at the VA or trading five Taliban detainees for one Army deserter without Congressional approval.

 

D

Brandon said

on 6/3/2014 8:08 am

Yup. Which is why that position, too, sometimes ends up getting filled by completely underwhelming sorts, e.g. someone who has never heard of the Cuban missile crisis.

 

D

Andy said

on 6/4/2014 2:38 pm

Doesn't the Lieutenant Governor actually wield quite a bit of real power in Texas?

 


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