This accursed epithet ‘loser’ strikes terror in the hearts of teens, teams, and tortured outcasts. What can possibly be worse than to be so dismissed and marginalized by your peers. However, in this political year a strong case might be made for heralding four of our most recent presidential ‘losers:’ Adlai Stevenson, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore. All four either failed the race or won it only to be quickly labeled a failed leader.
But just an historic minute!
History is not only the story written by the winners, it’s re-written by each succeeding generation which sees the story differently. With all four stories now in the past, here’s what some of today’s historians have begun to say about what was so very winning about these four losers:
* Stevenson [1952 & 1956] lost both elections to Eisenhower, labeled an ‘intellectual egghead’ versus a ‘war hero.’ Ironically, the war hero left office in 1960 advising the nation what his rival had campaigned on in the first place: Containing the country’s out-of-control military-industrial complex
* McGovern  lost to Richard Nixon whose duplicitous escalation of the Vietnam war and the coverup of Watergate made many voters re-think and re-wish what the loser had pleaded to his fellow citizens: ‘Come Home America’ to your roots by living in peace abroad and decency at home
* Carter  was only a one-term president, indicted by the public as ‘weak’ in the face of the Iran Hostage Crisis and as a ‘downer’ in daring to lecture a consumer society about its ammoral materialism. His successor, Reagan made sure no one was ever asked to think again about what could be wrong with us
* Gore  lost a contested election in which he helped initiate today’s urgent concern for a world climate gone rogue. The winner, Bush, never talked about climate as he was too busy talking about war
Study enough history and in time losers look like winners…winners look like losers….and leaders look like nothing you thought at the time.
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