March 22, 2007

New Kid On the Bayou

Hatched by Dafydd

Warning: This is one of my infamous "too much time on my hands" offerings...

Yesterday, we noted that Bobby Jindal still stands a good chance of being elected governor of Louisiana, even after Gov. Kathleen Babineaux "Blankout" Blanco dropped out, to be replaced (everyone assumes) by the much stronger candidate former Sen. John Breaux.

Suppose Jindal does win this year and serves a full four years. Then suppose he runs for president at the next opportunity... how would the "child prodigy's" age compare to our youngest presidents?

First of all, we must clarify what we mean by the youngest president. There is no question that John F. Kennedy was the youngest person ever elected President of the United States. Kennedy was born on May 29th, 1917 -- the first president born in the twentieth century *. He ran for office and was elected on November 8th, 1960. (The first Tuesday was November 1st; but Congress in 1845 set the date for federal elections to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November; thus, the election is never held on the 1st.)

John Kennedy was thus 43 years, 5 months, and 10 days old when he was elected. Nobody else even comes within two years of that age.

However, that's not the end of it. There is another way to become president besides following your own election; and indeed, when William McKinley was assassinated, dying on September 14th, 1901, Vice President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt became president without being elected.

Roosevelt was born on October 27th, 1858; thus, he became president when he was 42 years, 10 months, and 18 days old. Kennedy became president on January 20th, 1961 -- and he had aged 2 months and 12 days to the ripe, old age of 43 years, 7 months, and 22 days. Therefore, while Kennedy was the youngest ever elected, TR beat him into the office by 9 months and 4 days.

(Roosevelt was not actually elected until November 8th, 1904, when he was a doddering ancient of 46 years and 12 days.)

So back to Jindal. He was born on June 10th, 1971. If he were to be elected president in the next election after serving a single term as governor, that would be on November 6th, 2012; and he would assume the office on January 20th, 2013: Jindal would be 41 years, 4 months, and 27 days old when elected and 41 years, 7 months, and 10 days when he assumed the office -- easily beating both Kennedy for youngest ever elected (by more than two years) and Roosevelt for youngest president (by more than a year).

But if Jindal instead serves a second successive term as governor -- which has only happened four times in Louisiana history (though some governors have served several non-sequential terms, such as Earl K. Long) -- then Jindal would leave that office in early 2016. The next presidential election would be November 8th, 2016; if he won, he would have been elected at age 45 years, 4 months, and 29 days.

That would be almost two years older than Kennedy was, but still younger than Teddy Roosevelt, the second-youngest person ever elected president. (Bill Clinton -- born August 19th, 1946 -- was elected on November 3rd, 1992, when he was 46 years, 2 months, and 15 days old.)

Jindal would, in that case, take the silver medal for second-youngest person elected, bumping Roosevelt to third youngest and Clinton out of the medals at 4th. However, because of that whole assassination thing, Jindal would only be the third youngest person (45 years old) to assume the presidency, after both Roosevelt, 42, and Kennedy, 43; Clinton would be fourth in this race as well at 46.

(If Barack Obama were to be elected in 2008, he would be 47 at both election and inauguration, far out of the running.)

In either case, Jindal would be the first former Hindu president and the first Asian.

We needn't wait for 2012; there are records poised to be made in the upcoming (2008) election as well:

  • Obama would be the first non-white and the first former Moslem;
  • Mitt Romney would be the first Mormon and probably the richest president;
  • Hillary Clinton would be the first woman -- making her both first woman and First Lady;
  • And Giuliani would be both the first Italian-American and would have the record for the most divorced president.

The first divorcé to win the presidency was Ronald Reagan; James Buchanan was the only bachelor president to remain unmarried throughout his administration, but Grover Cleveland was a bachelor until a year into his first term.

* There is some controversy about the first president born in the nineteenth century: It's either Millard Fillmore, if you count 1800 as 19th century, or Franklin Pierce (1804) if you don't.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, March 22, 2007, at the time of 6:51 AM

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The following hissed in response by: nk

Warning: This is one my pedantic lawyer comments.

Presidents are elected 41 days after the national election (sometime in December) when electors, in their respective states, meet to cast their votes.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 22, 2007 8:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: Fritz

As one who eagerly anticipates each and every post “Ye Olde Gargantuan Lizard” hatches, even I must admit that you are right in saying this one was a product of too much time on your hands. Entertaining, yes. Informative, unfortunately no. And to be honest, I cannot imagine a scenario in which such knowledge would save my life or rescue me from eternal boredom. But then maybe I am imagination challenged.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 22, 2007 11:05 AM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

(Bill Clinton -- born August 19th, 1946 -- was elected on November 3rd, 1992, when he was 46 years, 2 months, and 15 days old.

Close...also, it should be noted that it took a little longer for Bill because he was black (First Black President), and didn't have a rich dad like JFK. Bill should get some kind of credit or handicap in my humble opinion.

The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 22, 2007 6:45 PM

The following hissed in response by: karrde

As far as the beginning of the century goes, it should be well-known that the century begins on the year ending in "01" and ends in the year ending in "00".

It seems a little off to our modern eyes, but the Julian/Gregorian calendar (with Christian year-numbering) is held to have never had a year numbered zero.

Hence, the First Century was years 1-100, Second Century was years 101-200, etc.

And the year 1800 was the last year of the 18th Century.

Daffyd, you do have too much time on your hands--but even you can make an arcane subject like this interesting to read.

The above hissed in response by: karrde [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 23, 2007 5:18 AM

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