Vetting The Veep – Part II

In this space we previously looked at the field of possible running mates for Mitt Romney and his selection process. 

For years to come I expect the watchword will be “Not another Sarah Palin.”  The former half-term governor of Alaska was full of energy and personality but had little understanding of the issues and simply wasn’t ready for prime time. 

Romney is said to be looking for someone compatible with him and able to step into the top job from Day One.  

Here are a dozen possible role models, those who have served as vice president over the past six decades.

  1. Joe Biden – He had solid foreign policy and legislative credentials, and has been a valuable advisor, but he has a tendency to shoot from the lip, so the White House tries to keep him on a short leash.  His Irish charm complements the president’s laid back style.
  2. Dick Cheney – He was a take charge guy who not only nominated himself for the job but also took charge of the White House and left the prez free to spend more time in the gym or at his ranch clearing brush.
  3. Al Gore – He knew the Hill well and the tree huggers, was a techie – hadn’t he invented the Internet? — and was a partner and advisor on policy issue, and willing to wait his turn.  Unfortunately, when that came he lost on a 5-4 decision.
  4. Dan Quayle – He was picked because he was cute and a potential draw for women's vote despite his reputation in Congress as a dim bulb.  Good news: he could make any president look brilliant. He was kept out of the loop. He could often be loopy, but far right liked him better than the prez.
  5. George H. W. Bush – He brought a strong resume and wanted the job so badly he was willingly do what he was told, which was largely to stay out of the way and not compete with the boss.
  6. Walter Mondale – He's the role model of Veep as a partner; he was the first and he had a real voice in policy decisions and was a liaison to the Congress, which liked him a hell of a lot better than his prez.
  7. Hubert Humphrey – He was very smart, popular among former Congressional colleagues, loquacious and loyal to a fault. And LBJ wanted to appease the liberals, who never trusted him.
  8. Lyndon Johnson – He was picked because he could deliver Texas but after the election the Kennedys shunned him, and he spent three years quietly brooding, kept far from the action.
  9. Nelson Rockefeller – He could handle the ceremonies, was articulate, thoughtful, complemented the boss' style and helpful with the business community.
  10. Jerry Ford – He was a nice guy, everyone on the Hill liked him, which was critical since they were the only ones who vote for him as the first appointed vice president. A mensch, he made it easier to impeach the president.
  11. Sprio Agnew – Insurance.  No one would dare impeach a president if they knew this crook would succeed him. Or so Nixon thought.
  12. Richard Nixon – He helped mollify the party's right wing concern about a general with no known ideology, but he was kept at arm's length, couldn't be trusted, wasn't consulted and after eight years Ike couldn't think of any big decisions he played a role in.

Politico offers some interesting insights into the Veepstakes – the wannabes, the also-rans and their campaigns for the job.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.