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August 29, 2013


i like how anyone who occupies the position is immediately labelled a buffoon.

(Cheney only avoided it by so humorless and icy that the label wouldn't stick)

He was one of those scary clowns.

At the risk of antagonizing folks here who were fans of GW Bush, I'd say Cheney avoided it because somebody else was already wearing the buffoon hat.

Cheney, of course, went far beyond avoiding the buffoon label, and re-invented the vice presidency as a one-man 4th branch of government.

Good times.

I think in general the jobs of the VP are:

1. bring voters to the ticket who would otherwise not be inclined to vote for the presidential candidate due to reasons of regional loyalty or other demographic tic

2. say stuff the president wants said, but which the president would never get away with saying

3. take meetings and attend public events that don't quite rise to the level of the president's attention

4. keep the speaker of the house from becoming president in the event of the president's death

Garner was an arch segregationist and turned bitterly against the New Deal. He didn't even make this list,although I am told he at least knew how to spell potatoe.

My life's ambition has been to become Vice president, or, failing that, Lieutenant Governor.

5. Cause the citizenry to pray for the continued good health of the president.

i like how anyone who occupies the position is immediately labelled a buffoon

Sometimes they don't have to go far out of character to earn the label.

And, contra CJColucci, there is the view of VP Nelson Rockefeller, which became the title of a biography:

"I Never Wanted To Be Vice-President Of Anything"

(The word "Vice" is underlined in the title, but I can't figure out how to make this happen within a link.)

doesn't it seem odd that so many otherwise adept politicians would choose fools for running mates?

my theory is that the media happily mocks the VP because they're wary of going directly after the President. they can safely attack Quayle or Biden or Gore or whoever and only offend the truly hardcore partisans; but mocking the President could offend people who respect the office, regardless of who's in it.

It seems to me obvious that a presidential candidate would be looking for someone who appears "presidentiable" -- a Philippine English locution sadly lacking in American English -- but not more so than the candidate himself. (Or, someday, herself?) You want voters to think "Yeah, that VP candidate is all right - attractive, promising, a good #2," but never "S/he should be president instead of you!" One of the easiest ways to do this is to pick a running mate who is young and foolish: perhaps a star of the future, but no threat to the top of the ticket today.

I was young and foolish then; I feel old and foolish now.

Welcome to the club.

The original idea was (afaik) to give the VP slot to the loser in the POTUS election, i.e. the candidate of the other party, in the false assumption this would force them to work together and avoid personal partisanship after the election. It became quickly clear that this was a recipe for disaster.
The intra-party polarization also plays a role these days, i.e. the VP candidate is chosen to keep the P candidate under control. This is clearly visible in the GOP where the 'untrustworthy' (but possibly electable) establishment candidate is forced to accept a 'pure' (and thus unelectable) vice. Iirc there were openly uttered wishes for McCain to win the election and to drop dead immediately after inauguration. I think I even remember calls for Romney to abdicate in favor of Ryan as soon after winning as was possible without making it too obvious a farce.

The VPOTUS is supposed to go to funerals and dedicate buildings. The fact that Mr. Cheney had the power that he did is a significant failing of the Bush43 administration. The good news is that Laura Bush kept a low profile.

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