Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Non-Partisan Political Thought.

Vice-Presidential nomination speculation is like watching the auditions for backup quarterback of the Patriots. Both are highly annoying uses of the public space.

Back in the day, starting in Andrew Jackson's time and lasting until, believe it or not, Ronald Reagan's choice of George H.W. Bush in 1980, vice-presidential nominations were made at the last moment during the national political conventions by a small group of men, all of whom were sleep-deprived and adrenalized, and all of whom but the presidential nominee had been drinking.

This system worked perfectly well, or as well as any part of our system does. Sometimes the Vice President became a President himself, but more often not. As for that "heartbeat away" and "most important decision of the campaign" hooey, not even the candidates pretended that was true.

Over 60 years later, Franklin Roosevelt's role in dumping Henry Wallace for Harry Truman (a rather important moment historically) remains unclear, and Roosevelt ignored Truman until his own death in office. Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson did not get along. Compared to them Obama and Hillary are Rodgers and Hammerstein. Reagan barely knew Bush's name.

So if McCain or Obama pick their vice presidential running mates by throwing darts at a board filled with snapshots of possible contenders (which sounds like great fun), it's OK by me and the Founding Fathers. Just shut up about it. Please?


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