June 08, 2008

A Pitcher of Warm Spit*

Now that the nominees have been decided, it is time for McCain and Obama to pick their running mate--the "veeps". This important second in command is there to deliver a specific region, aid in campaigning, be a mouthpiece for the presidential candidate, and balance the ticket--in short, to be almost the exact opposite of the president yet still work well with him. As Linus proved in a Charlie Brown special, very few of us can name the vice presidents throughout history. It's time for some edimacation.
(Courtesy of me & The Secret Lives of Presidents by Cormac O'Brien)

Famous Vice Presidential Stories/Men

Originally, the founders intended for the person who came in second to serve as vice president. After the incredibly contentious Adams/Jefferson four years, they rethought the idea, allowing the candidate to place his own choice on the ballot.

2. Aaron Burr, who is famous for killing Alexander Hamilton (the guy on the $10 bill) in a duel, served as Jefferson's first V.P.

3. John C. Calhoun holds the honor of serving as V.P. for both a Republican (John Quincy Adams) and a Democrat (Andrew Jackson).

4. John Tyler was the first V.P. to deal with the death of the commander-in-chief when William Henry Harrison died after a month as president. Tyler had to deal with a vague constitution and a Congress united in hating him. He did manage to be the first president to marry in office, and he began the process of annexing Texas. And he had 15 children.

5. William Wheeler was an avid participant in president Rutherford B. Hayes's cabinet-level prayer and praise sessions, bringing his copy of The Presbyterian Hymn and Tune Book to all meetings.

6. Teddy Roosevelt was only named V.P. because the Republican mucky-mucks felt he would do less reforming damage there than as governor of New York.

7. When Harry Truman was told that FDR wanted to name him V.P., he replied, "Tell him to go to hell."

8. Seven presidents have served without a V.P.--John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt (first term), Harry Truman (first term), and Lyndon Baines Johnson (first term)--all V.P.'s themselves, serving after the death of the president.

So now you know more! Can you name any vice presidents? Who do you think McCain and Obama should pick?

*The title of today's post comes from a quote by John Nance Gardner, FDR's first V.P.--"This job isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit."


Matty said...

For McCain the two guys I like are Bill Owen and Bobby Jindal. Both will be up and coming leaders in the party. The only fear is that were they to lose, they would have tied themselves to the current Republican leadership in the minds of the voters - which is almost as unpopular as the current Democratic congress. Particularly for Jindal, it may be dangerous to brand himself in that way. Obviously Romney or Huckabee would be decent choices but I don't think either really get along with McCain.

For Obama (and you know basically how I feel about Obama) I would say that Bill Richardson would be a good choice. I find him to be a thoughtful centrist and he could probably deliver some key states in the southwest. Honestly, since I am not an advocate for B.O., I'd rather he chose John Edwards (hehehehe).

Sarah said...

I have no ideas for V.P.s... sorry, but my mind immediately shuts off when I read the words "vice president". I blame my incredibly boring history teachers that made me memorize (and not so well I should add) dates and names with no interesting facts. But as I made myself push past my initial response and actually read your post, I was thoroughly entertained with your trivia! Now, if only I could remember it!

Amanda said...

Thanks for the great comments--I agree on your ideas for V.P., Matt--I just hope Romney isn't the choice for McCain--I think he would be a liability. I feel the same way abt. Hilary for Obama.

Sarah--thanks for pushing past the dull moments!