Falling up

FALLING UP…. I’m tempted to start keeping a running list of unlikely electoral candidates this year — folks who seem intent on parlaying failure into seeking higher office.

The latest in David Malpass, who announced yesterday that he’ll run in the Republican Senate primary in New York, in the hopes of taking on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in November. Malpass’ claim to fame isn’t exactly the kind of thing one should use as the basis for a statewide campaign.

He spent 15 years at investment bank Bear Stearns, including six years as its chief global economist, but jumped ship after the firm’s 2008 meltdown and subsequent takeover by JPMorgan Chase. Malpass has said he had no role in Bear’s everyday operations. […]

As for Malpass, Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin hit back hard, charging that in his Bear Stearns role, Malpass “not only helped cause the financial collapse, he made millions and left taxpayers holding the bill.”

If Malpass is serious about his candidacy, this might be tough to overcome.

But it’s the larger pattern that impresses me.

* Rob Portman was the budget director Bush/Cheney at a time when the federal budget was something of a disaster, and the administration was arguably the most fiscally irresponsible in the history of the country. Portman is now running for the Senate in Ohio.

* Tim Griffin was a Karl Rove protege caught up in the U.S. Attorney scandal. He’s now running for a House seat in Arkansas.

* Rick Scott was the head of the Columbia/HCA health-care company that got caught up in a massive fraud scandal in the 1990s. Scott’s firm later pleaded guilty to charges that it overbilled state and federal health plans, agreed to pay $1.7 billion in fines, and Scott was forced to resign. He later financed a right-wing lobbying group that misled the country on health care policy. Scott is now running for governor in Florida.

In the real world, when someone fails on a spectacular level, he/she tends not to seek a promotion. I wonder why Republicans don’t get this.

I’m probably missing some notable figures who belong on the list. Readers should feel encouraged to let me know who I’ve forgotten.