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Much-reviled Bank Ceo To Run For U.s. Senate...

At least that's what I thought when I got an e-mail from North Carolina Senate candidate Kenneth Lewis this afternoon. But, alas, that Kenneth Lewis isn't the Kenneth Lewis who was recently ousted as chairman of the North Carolina-based Bank of America, recipient of $52.5 billion in federal bailout money, plus billions more in toxic-asset insurance. (Lewis retains the title of president and CEO.)

I'd normally say this is going to be a tough slog for candidate Lewis, but the conventional wisdom on this stuff isn't always right. For example, the president likes to tell a story about how, back in 2001, he'd set up a meeting with a political consultant for mid-September, but the consultant called him after 9/11 and cancelled. Apparently he didn't think someone whose last name rhymed with "Osama" was going to be a great bet for statewide office. Oops.

Come to think of it, there are actually several heartening examples for Mr. Lewis here in our nation's capital. Despite having the same name as the man widely scorned for botching the response to Hurricane Katrina, this Mike Brown managed to get himself elected to the DC City Council (in 2008). So did fellow councilman Kwame Brown, who happens to share a name with the one of the all-time least popular members of the Washington Wizards, the local NBA franchise. The Wizards drafted that Kwame Brown with the top overall pick in 2001; he proceeded to stink his way through four seasons before being run out of town in 2005. (Councilman Brown won his seat in 2004.)

So no need to abandon those Senate dreams just yet...

--Noam Scheiber