The victory of Barack Obama in the US presidential race suggests that daughters are lucky for people seeking election to the highest office in the
US. In the last half century, girls outnumber boys 2:1 among the winners’ progeny. In 1960, when John F Kennedy won, he had only one daughter, Caroline. His son John was born later.
The next president, Lyndon Johnson, had two daughters. Richard Nixon, again, had two girls. Gerald Ford, who followed him, was not elected to the national office and doesn’t count. After him came Jimmy Carter who had three sons and one daughter, though only the latter lived with him in the White House. His successor Ronald Reagan sired three daughters and one son.
George Bush Sr had two girls and four boys, including one who, most people believe, would have been better not born! Bill Clinton, who defeated him in the next election, had only one female child. His successor, George Bush Jr, the current president, has two daughters.
And now Obama will move into the White House with two girls, Malia and Sasha. If he completes his full term and decides not to have another go at parenthood, then for 20 years no male children will have taken residence in the White House with their parents. The score since 1960 is 16-8 in favour of girls.
However, what does not augur well for presidential hopefuls is a ‘heroic’ war record. John McCain was a war hero. Another winner of several medals for bravery, John Kerry, lost in 2004 and the loser before him, Al Gore, was a Vietnam war veteran. Both lost to George Bush Jr, who dodged army service and never did anything worthwhile in his life.
Bill Clinton, who came before him, was an anti-war protester. He won against ‘heroes’ Bush Sr and Bob Dole in 1992 and 1996, though the former did get elected in 1988 against another navy veteran, Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan won two terms, but he never saw overseas service in the military on account of his nearsightedness.
In fact, the last authentic war hero in the US never to have lost a presidential election was John Kennedy back in 1960. Americans, it seems, don’t believe any longer that governance is a game of cowboys and Indians.