For each of the frontrunners in the presidential campaign one day out of the annual list of 365 has special meaning because it is the day they were born. Naturally, with a limited number of days in the year, each candidate shares his or her birthday for all eternity with other greater or lesser luminaries. Their birthdates may also be the same as important dates in world history. Perhaps knowing about these coincidences of birth can give prognosticators and other amateur politicos a leg up in predicting a presidential winner. More likely knowing and sharing these coincidences with others can provide a laugh here and there and during a presidential campaign everyone can benefit from that.
Mitt Romney (R) born Mar 12, 1947.
More than fifty years before Mitt Romney was born, the date of his eventual brithday was being emblazoned in the memories of millions of Americans and connected with a challenge to the American spirit. In 1888, on Mar 12, many Americans along the eastern seaboard spent the day dealing with the now historic Blizzard of 1888. Without our modern day meteorological equipment to predict it or the communication tools to disperse warnings about it , the power of the wind and snow of this great storm destroyed lives and property. Perhaps Mitt Romney might see some significance in the fact that this storm came out of the blue. Not a lot of people expected to see Romney among the front runners but just like the great blizzard all of a sudden there he is.
Some interesting people share Mitt Romney’s birthday like former U. N. Ambassador Andrew Young, author Jack Kerouac and showman Gordon McCrae.. But perhaps the most interesting coincidence of birthdays that Mitt Romney shares is with Liza Minelli. No , Mitt probably doesn’t have a career in music waiting on the back burner. What he shares with Liza is the the way in which both have found themselves carrying on a family tradition. Liza grew up in the midst of a show business family. It came as little surprise that Liza ended up as a performer and singer much like her Mom, Judy Garland.
Mitt Romney grew up in a household where politics was a part of daily family life. His father, George Romney was the Governor of Michigan and at one time a major candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency. Small wonder that Mitt saw the presidency within his reach.
Rudy Giuliani (R) May 28, 1944.
A double coincidence surrounds the May 28th birthday of Rudy Giuliani. On that date in 1754, the opening skirmish of the French and Indian War took place. Interestingly enough , the combat was waged in part to secure the frontier lands for settlers from the East. More that 250 years later, Rudy Giuliani, born on May 28, is running for the United States presidency and his candidacy is very much based on the issue of national security.
The second part of this coincidence of birth lies in the fact that on May 28, 1754, the newly appointed Lt. Col. leading the colonial troops was a young Virginian named George Washington. Suffice it to say that his work to insure border security led him down the long and difficult road to the presidency. ti remains to be seen if the issue of national security can vault Rudy Giuliani into that same office.
John Edwards (D) June 10, 1953. John Edwards has repeatedly and convincingly shared the story of his simple beginnings. His mother tells the story of how his daddy had to borrow $50 in order to take mother and child home from the hospital after John’s birth. John Edwards grew up poor but he learned how to improve his living. Not unlike F. Lee Baily , with whom he shares his June 10 birthday, John Edwards took his native intelligence, applied it to the study of law and then parlayed it into some serious profits.
But not everything has come up roses for this self made millionaire. Like Judy Garland born on June 10, 1922, Edwards has seen some deep sorrow in his life. He lost a son in a tragic automobile accident. His wife, Elizabeth, has had two bouts with cancer. This is a man who, like Judy Garland, has seen that success and money are definitely not guarantees of happiness.
Still in his run for the presidency, John Edwards can draw some inspiration from the fact that the anniversary of his birth is also the anniversary of the much told story of Ben Franklin flying a kite in a lightning storm to prove that lightning was electric in its makeup. If one person could catch lightning in a bottle on June 10, perhaps another person, born on that same historic day, has a chance to do the same in Campaign 2008.
Barak Obama (D) August 4, 1961. After several attempts at retirement, Roger Clemens who was born on August 4 has returned once again this year to baseball. Clemens, one of the premier pitchers in the major leagues over that last few decades and sure Hall of Famer, has dazzled fans with his fast ball and with his baseball savvy since he was a young starter with the Boston Red Sox. Clemens has also seen action with the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros and now once again, at age 45, he is back with the Yankees looking to win the World Series just one more time. There certainly is coincidence here if Barak is willing to see it. Roger Clemens is a man who is saying loudly and clearly that men in their forties really can do anything. Whether Barak can translate that into political success at the highest level remains to be seen.
The historic events of August 4 also hold inspiration for Barak Obama. It was on that date in 1964 that slain civil rights workers in Mississippi were found after a prolonged search. It was events such as this that opened the eyes of all Americans to the evil of racial discrimination. That some progress in civil rights has been made cannot be disputed, that much more remains to be done is equally clear. Who but Barak Obama with a birthday to match that historic civil rights event would be better equipped to continue that important work from the office of the presidency.?
John McCain (R) August 29, 1936. In 1938, two years after the birth of John McCain , actor Elliot Gould was born. Gould who has had mixed success in his show business life,. probably gained most of his fame from the part he played in MASH a popular movie about life in a medical unit during the Korean War. John McCain lived life as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Both men have helped to put a human face on the horror and suffering that comes with war. And both in their own way have done their best to try to reduce the likelihood of more violence.
As John McCain works to establish a lasting foothold among American voters he will face a variety of challenges. Certain to come up, more than once in campaign and accompanying debates will be the ravages of the Hurricane Katrina. This storm took lives, destroyed property and showed a frightening image of the lack of response on the part of U. S. officialdom to a natural disaster. John McCain will never forget the day Hurricane Katrina crashed onshore along the Gulf Coast in 2005. He’ll never forget because it has become a rallying cry for those who want more and better programs designed to respond to the needs of Americans dealing with disaster. He’ll never forget also because on August 29 when Katrina landed it was also John McCain’s birthday.
Hillary Clinton (D) October 26, 1947. In exactly the same year and on exactly the same day Hillary Clinton and television host Pat Sayjak were born.
There is some humor in the fact that Sayjak is primarily associated with the game show “Wheel of Fortune” while pundits might note that Hillary Clinton has been involved in her own private Wheel of Fortune. Certainly Hillary’s life has been filled with gambles and trying to figure out the puzzles that life has thrown her way. But much of her life has also been filled with good fortune and happiness as well. During the campaign of 2008 like Pat Sayjak with whom she shares a birth date, Hillary too is spinning the wheel in hopes of hitting that jackpot.
If a political campaign is compared to a shootout between two rival groups the Republicans and the Democrats to see who is going to control the town of Washington, then perhaps Hillary Clinton will come to the fray, better armed then any other contender. It seems that Hillary Clinton’s celebrates her birthday on the same day that western enthusiasts recall the historic “Gunfight at O. K. Corral” which also occurred on October 26 in 1881.But of course if Hillary Clinton wants to win the most important draw of her life, she will have to be packing more than just historical coincidences.
In the end, when the voters go to the polls in November of 2008 they will need to concentrate on much more significant issues than the candidates’ birth dates. But in the meantime these birthday coincidences can provide a little comic relief during the long days ahead in Campaign 2008