It used to be that the office of governor of any state was a prestigious position sought by many ambitious politicians, who saw it as a place to serve, make a difference, and possibly seek higher office, including the Presidency, after years of devoted service.
The governorship has been the primary background for the American Presidency, and many governors have also served in the US Senate or as cabinet officers, and some, like Earl Warren of California, on the Supreme Court.
But the glorious days of being governor have passed, as it has become, in these difficult economic times, a thankless job, so much so that one wonders why anyone seeks the position.
And on top of that, we have seen scandal in the governorship on a level unseen before. Think of the list of disgraced governors of recent times, including, among others, Jim McGreevey of New Jersey, Eliot Spitzer of New York, Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, John Rowland of Connecticut, and Bob Taft of Ohio.
While we have had four governors in recent times in the White House (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush), it is hard to see any governor of recent times being able to make that leap to the Presidency.
Difficult economic times have made life difficult for Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, both born outside the United States, so not eligible for the Presidency, in any case.
Rick Perry of Texas is in a struggle for another term, but even if he were to win, his statements about secession would seemingly eliminate him from a serious quest for the Presidency, and there have been ethical questions about his long ten year tenure in the governorship.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist is also in the battle for his life in the Senate race against Marco Rubio, and at this point seems unlikely to be in office beyond the end of his term as governor.
The fact that past governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas failed in their quest for the Presidency in 2008, and the controversies around former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, make it seem unlikely they have a future beyond their former offices.
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota are worth watching, but it is hard to imagine them accomplishing their immediate or long range goals of living in the White House.
Finally, the new revelations about New York Governor David Paterson, who succeeded to the governorship due to the scandal surrounding Eliot Spitzer, is only the latest blow to the stature of the governorship office, not only in New York, but nationwide.
This is very disappointing, as to many, being governor is the position that best prepares someone for the challenges of the Presidency. This is part of the general disillusionment that so many Americans have about their government at all levels, and will not be overcome any time soon!