Service of Prep for the Job

November 14th, 2022

Categories: Jobs, Political Campaign, Politicians, Politics

Some people succeed in jobs for which they weren’t trained or prepared. Take political widows who slip into their husband’s congressional seats. Wives that choose to be are steeped in their spouse’s work and have survived the drill. They campaign fiercely and are on top of the issues. Many had staying power. Here, from an article in usatoday.com, are just some:

  • Rep. Edith N. Rogers’s husband was in his seventh term representing Massachusetts in the House when he died in 1925. The Republican party urged her to run.
  • Rose McConnell Long took over Huey Long’s Louisiana Senate seat in 1935.
  • Margaret Chase Smith won a special election in 1940 after her husband died and joined the House. She also served in the Senate representing Maine.
  • Democrat Elizabeth B. Andrews, Alabama, took office a year after her husband died in 1971.
  • Cardiss Collins’s husband died in a plane crash in 1972. She won a special election the next year and took his place in the House representing Illinois. She remained until 1997.
  • Debbie Dingell replaced Representative John Dingell, Michigan, after he died in 2015.
Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay 

However, there are some candidates whose preparation and background make no sense for them to be elected to office. Take a man running for Senate from a background in sports. He wasn’t in sports administration or marketing: He was a star player from the start: He won a Heisman Trophy as a junior at the University of Georgia and subsequently was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

After he played for major NFL teams, he represented the US in the Winter Olympics as part of the bobsleigh team and tried his hand at mixed martial arts.

Before his campaign, in addition to a friendship with the president, the closest he got to politics was as co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition from 2019-2020.  James Morgan, usatoday.com, covered the announcement of his two year appointment although the article was fuzzy about his role and background: “As Co-Chair, Walker will have a lot of responsibilities related to the council but he has been quoted saying that he is willing to help President Trump. Walker continues to be in excellent shape and fitness that he is legendary for. Walker has made a significant impact off the field, since his retirement from the NFL, and always does an outstanding job of representing the University of Georgia.”

Impact doing what? He is also associated with a company that sells branded meat products.

To be fair, there have been sports stars who turned their attention to politics and did well. Here are just a few of the ones that Business Insider mentioned: Four term House member from Oklahoma, Steve Largent, had been a renowned player for the Seattle Seahawks and J.C. Watts, University of Oklahoma and Ottawa Rough Riders quarterback also served his state in the House. NFL wide receiver and college football coach Tom Osborne represented Nebraska in the House for eight years until 2003.

I have friends who have made 180 career switches. One moved from a spectacular career in marketing to owner/founder/chef of a food enterprise. Her success benefits her family yet should she have failed, it would have impacted only them.

Americans are sports crazy which accounts for this candidate’s name recognition and acceptance as a contender. Sports competition teaches crucial life lessons. Yet don’t you wonder how physical fitness and a connection at a high political level translates to potential success for the essential job of US Senator? In addition, there’s something mean about subjecting this man to such scrutiny. I can’t help thinking about the Jimmy Stewart character in the 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

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10 Responses to “Service of Prep for the Job”

  1. BC Said:

    Look at Truman. He was a haberdasher!

  2. Jeanne Marie Byington Said:

    BC,

    According to https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/harry-truman Truman began his political career in 1922 as a county judge in Missouri and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1934.

    He was among 10 presidents who didn’t finish college. His parents couldn’t afford the tuition. The candidate in question also dropped out. His reason: to pursue a career in the NFL.

    And Truman’s party selected him to be VP.

  3. ASK Said:

    What about former bartender and Instagram hit Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

  4. Hank Goldman Said:

    Love it! One should be qualified for a political job… Not just running field plays!

  5. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: No connection of physical fitness to any new job/career for that matter. But if you put yourself out there for public office, criticism is fair game.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    AOC can thank social media and a bamboozled public for her fame. Supporting a candidate for all the wrong reasons happens on both sides of the aisle.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hank,

    Tell it to the Georgia electorate.

  8. Anonymous Said:

    Linda,

    Precisely because he is fair game was why I felt sorry for the man as he was most likely being used. Did he realize that every flaw and exaggeration–and apparently there are a chunk–will be under a microscope when he could have lived a pleasant life basking in the glory of his sports excellence?

  9. lucrezia Said:

    There’s no such thing as training for political success, no classes, tutors or exams. One either has the ability to govern or one doesn’t. Dismissal of sports figures is unwise. NFL players are expected to deal with the public, give interviews, and are required to assist the community in one way or another, such as fostering a non-profit. Gone are the bubbleheads of yesterday. Students must meet certain academic standards before being allowed to play on a school team. Doubtless these requirements must be met in baseball, hockey and soccer teams as well. Few, if any of today’s schools or professional sports organizations want to be represented by dummies.

    This is a democracy after all. Why should the country only be led by lawyers and/or representatives of the most prestigious schools? Peyton Manning for President? You bet!

  10. Anonymous Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I noted quite a few sports figures, some of whom no doubt had reputations for supporting charities. One I neglected to include was Bill Bradley, former Senator from NJ, once a star basketball player and well-respected politician on both sides of the aisle. You speak about academic standards…while a college degree is unrelated to success–take President Truman whose family couldn’t afford his tuition and countless people today such as Bill Gates–the candidate in my post didn’t finish college either. I wonder why he hasn’t held positions in professional sports organizations or shown his stripes in running a well-regarded business.

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