Are the ‘Beautiful’ People on the Hill Cursed?

National Journal
Billy House
See more stories about...
Billy House
Aug. 8, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

There’s the curse of the Bambino. The curse of the Hope Dia­mond. And now, maybe, there’s the curse of The Hill news­pa­per’s an­nu­al “50 Most Beau­ti­ful” list.

Of the 59 mem­bers of Con­gress who have ap­peared on the list from 2004 through 2012, 37 per­cent even­tu­ally lost reelec­tion, failed in a cam­paign for high­er of­fice, re­tired, or resigned in scan­dal.

So says polit­ic­al sci­ent­ist Eric Os­ter­mei­er, a re­search as­so­ci­ate at the Cen­ter for the Study of Polit­ics and Gov­ernance at the Uni­versity of Min­nesota, in his blog, Smart Polit­ics.

“Un­for­tu­nately, for many, it’s all down­hill,” Os­ter­mei­er wrote.

Among the folks on the list are former Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and John Ed­wards, D-N.C., and former Reps. Mary Bono Mack, R-Cal­if., Jesse Jack­son Jr., D-Ill., Gene Taylor, D-Miss., and Stephanie Her­seth Sand­lin, D-S.D. Look­ing ahead to the 2014 cycle, at least one oth­er “Most Beau­ti­ful” honoree from Con­gress—Rep. Michele Bach­mann, R-Minn.—has already an­nounced she is not run­ning for reelec­tion, Os­ter­mei­er notes.

Of course, wheth­er this pat­tern is really un­nat­ur­al is de­bat­able. The rate of down­fall for those on The Hill’s list may not ex­ceed the rate for all of Con­gress. Yet it is in­ter­est­ing—if not fun—to see what misery can oc­cur to the beau­ti­ful people.

“I first thought to crunch the [num­bers] on these lists be­cause the honorees are sort of presen­ted as not just ‘beau­ti­ful’ but also ‘up-and-comers’ and soon to be big shots on the Hill,” Os­ter­mei­er told Na­tion­al Journ­al Daily.

“So when a fair num­ber of these of­fice­hold­ers star­ted los­ing elec­tions, in 2010 and 2012 es­pe­cially, that drew my at­ten­tion. That, and the fact that a hand­ful of these ‘beau­ti­ful’ people have been in­volved in scan­dals in or out of of­fice,” Os­ter­mei­er ad­ded, re­fer­ring to Ed­wards, Jack­son, former Sen. John En­sign, R-Nev., and former Rep. Vito Fosella, R-N.Y.

In all, he found 10 law­makers lost reelec­tion bids; five were de­feated seek­ing high­er pub­lic of­fice; two resigned in scan­dal; and five re­tired from pub­lic life.

Os­ter­mei­er is known to pick up odd and in­ter­est­ing trends in polit­ics. His re­search earli­er this year in­cluded an ex­am­in­a­tion of the causes of death for the thou­sands of people who have served in Con­gress over the last 200 years or so. Among his find­ings: Nearly two dozen have been killed by or on trains.

But his latest re­search does not ne­ces­sar­ily spell doom for the law­makers in The Hill‘s list, people like Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ar­iz., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Reps. Tulsi Gab­bard, D-Hawaii, Fre­der­ica Wilson, D-Fla., and Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas. Be­cause fully 37 of the 59 law­makers Os­ter­mei­er looked at are still hold­ing of­fice.

Among them are Speak­er John Boehner, R-Ohio., and Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal­if. And Pres­id­ent Obama, too.

What We're Following See More »
DONATING TO FOOD BANKS
Government Buying $20 Million in Cheese
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Thanks to competition from Europe, America's cheese stockpiles are at a 30-year high. Enter the U.S. government, which announced it's buying 11 million pounds of the stuff (about $20 million). The cheese will be donated to food banks.

Source:
BRIEFER THAN TRUMP’S?
Clinton to Receive Classified Briefing on Saturday
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS
FHFA RULES APPLY
Judge: Freddie Mac Doesn’t Have to Open Its Books
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Freddie Mac shareholders cannot force the mortgage finance company to allow them to inspect its records, a federal court ruled Tuesday." A shareholder had asked the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to allow him to inspect its books and records, as Virginia law allows him to do. "The court held that Freddie shareholders no longer possess a right to inspect the company’s records because those rights had been transferred to the Federal Housing Finance Agency when the company entered into conservatorship in 2008."

Source:
MANY BEING TRADED ON BLACK MARKET
Pentagon Can’t Account for 750k Guns Provided to Iraq, Afghanistan
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Pentagon has "provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns." Trouble is, it can only account for about 700,000 of those guns. The rest are part of a vast arms trading network in the Middle East. "Taken together, the weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses."

Source:
SINCE JANUARY
Baltimore Is Spying on Its Residents from the Air
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department" has been using a Cessna airplane armed with sophisticated camera equipment "to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings." The public hasn't been notified about the system, funded by a private citizen.

Source:
×