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Friday, June 9, 2006

Puzzle: "Outsiders" Elected U.S. Presidents

After listening to the Instapundit podcast with Michael Barone which discussed, among other things, whether a third-party candidacy for the U.S. presidency was viable in the current era, and reading Peggy Noonan's column on the same topic a couple of weeks later, it seems to me, even as an outside observer, that there is a growing sense in the U.S. not only that things are running off the rails, but that the political system, which increasingly seems to have become polarised into a Party of Corruption and a Party of Moonbats, is unlikely to offer up candidates capable of doing anything sensible about the situation before the impending train wreck.

This causes people to think about the possibility of an insurgency led by an outsider, in the mold (but less nutty, and without the funny ears) of Ross Perot's candidacy in 1992. But the lesson of history to date has been that Americans don't elect outsiders as Presidents, which leads to today's puzzle, which I will pose in three stages of increasing difficulty, only revealing the next after you display the answer to the last. If I wrote out all the questions at once, some of the later ones would give away or provide hints to previous questions. We'll start with a really easy one.

Who was the last U.S. president with no prior experience in elective office?
Come on—you shouldn't have to wrack your brain too hard for this one!

Posted at June 9, 2006 20:56