Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Opinion

July 20, 2012

Picking the second-in-command can pose a few pitfalls

Athens — Now it’s time to play “Pick the Veep.” Republican nominee-to-be Mitt Romney is weighing his options in hopes of picking a vice-presidential candidate that will give his campaign a boost, preferably in the battleground states.

Failing that he’d like to find one who is not an albatross around his neck, in what looks to be a pretty close presidential election.

Vice presidential candidates are known for leaving little messes lying around that the nominee has to clean up. Remember Richard Nixon and his “Checkers” speech.

Old Tricky was on the ticket with the beloved Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, when word got out that he had made improper use of a fund set up by his backers to help with his political expenses. In September, 1952, less than two months before the election, Nixon appeared on national television to plead his case.

Not one Lincoln-headed penny of the fund had been used for his personal use, he said. Nixon did admit to getting one gift, a little cocker spaniel named “Checkers.”  For the sake of little Tricia and Julie, the dog is staying, he said.

John F. Kennedy did a little better with his vice-presidential pick. The most powerful man in the Senate, Lyndon Johnson, joined the ticket to get him help where he needed it the most – the South.  Johnson ignored the sentiments of fellow Texan John Nance Garner, who served under FDR, who said the vice presidency was not “worth a bucket of warm spit.” (spit is the family version)

LBJ thought incorrectly that his stature as Senate Majority Leader would transfer with him into the vice presidency. He was wrong. The Kennedys knew a lot about welding power, not sharing it.

Of course the VP job is one heartbeat from the presidency, and in Johnson’s case, the cliché proved all too true. Lyndon was soon in the driver’s seat making a few right turns, like the Civil Rights Act, and some wrong ones.

In 1968, Richard Nixon chose a promising governor from Maryland to help him fend off Vice President Hubert Humphrey on the road to the White House. Agnew was a shoot-from-the-hip orator, who one referred to the administration enemies as “an effete corps of impudent snobs.” 

The appearance of the word, snobs, in that phrase makes me tend to believe it was meant as an insult.

Agnew didn’t last as long as his boss, resigning in 1973, because of some shenanigans he pulled as governor.

Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton was Democrat George McGovern’s vice-presidential choice in 1972. Sadly, word came out that Eagleton had been treated for mental problems, and he was removed from the ticket.

That turned out to be a blessing when McGovern went down in flames. Eagleton was elected twice more to the Senate, retiring after thee terms..

George W. Bush went for a heavy hitter in Wyoming Congressman Dick Chaney. Cheney had been Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush, and figured to make up for the Texas Governor’s inexperience on foreign affairs.

Chaney was a controversial VP, but no lightweight. He had the Commander-in-Chief’s ear on important policy decisions. Unlike Gerald Ford, who occasionally pelted people with golf balls, Cheney did his damage with  birdshot.

In 2006, Cheney shot 78-year-old Harry Whittington, during a quail hunt in Kenedy County, Texas. Despite the fact that the pellets missed the victim’s heart, Cheney’s approval rating dropped in the polls by five percent.

In 2008, the lackluster John McCain campaign went for a little spice, and chose Alaska Gov.  Sarah Palin as the running mate. Palin rose to the occasion, and accepted the nomination with what had been lacking from recent GOP candidates, a rousing speech.

The bloom was soon off the rose when Palin showed up on the national talk shows, and didn’t fare well when under the scrutiny of the likes of Katie  Couric.

So, Romney has to have those former VP picks in mind as he mulls his choice. Mitt hopes he can beat the odds and select a good one.

Or maybe he can just get lucky like Barack Obama, who chose Joe Biden, and got away with it.

Rich Flowers is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 4-12 Rich mug.jpg Meal time for kitties can be an adventure

    I believe God gave us housecats because we didn’t have enough to worry about. They are puzzling little puffs of fur that seem to be constantly developing new sets of peculiarities.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I've got my rib back!

    Much has changed since Jan. 19, 2008.
    Bruce Almighty, Man on the Moon, Major League – gone.
    Complete rooms decorated with sports memorabilia – gone.
    More than a dozen trips to catch baseball in Arlington – gone.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Exhausted, but happier than ever

    Wow, what a rush!
    I can not begin to explain the emotions I experienced on Monday, March 17 as Maylee Grace Wilson made her debut.
    Yes, there were tears.
    Yes, this “Iron Man” showed the emotion he hoped and prayed for.
    Over the two weeks I was home with Maylee and my wife Lacie, I experienced a plethora of emotions - emotions rather rare in my life.
    As expected, there was little sleep at the hospital. With the way Maylee acted her first night, I thought I might be able to catch a little shut-eye once we got home.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Music helps deal with life’s situations, good or bad

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
    With music, it can help us deal with tragic situations, help us deal with the loss of a loved one, make us want to dance, make us want to sing along to the words, or help us calm down after a long day of work.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg ‘Small town, USA’ has advantages, disadvantages

    Living in a small town can have its advantages and disadvantages. For me, personally, I love “Small Town USA.”
    Some disadvantages possibly are: if you do something out of character, everyone will know by tomorrow morning; everybody tends to be related, so watch what you say;  limited resources;  it's not easy to broaden your horizons; and driving more than 50  miles to the nearest mall.

     

     

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg A habit in a society and in a home that should stop

    It was Tuesday that I was walking back to my car on the Walmart parking lot, when a business acquaintance of mine who comes to the Review office sometimes, stopped her car in front of me to say hello.
    I noticed her doing something that happens at almost any moment she is around, without the office surroundings.  She had a cigarette in her hand.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICH-USE THIS ONE.jpg TVCC Lady Cards add to school’s winning legacy

    When I came to work in Henderson County in 1991, the Trinity Valley Community College Cheerleaders had already picked up a couple of national titles. Coach Connie Russell had the team doing things few had ever seen cheerleading squads do. Russell retired after winning five times on the national stage.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Let’s all follow Tom’s lead

    My first-born child is here and there is a hero for her to admire already.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMNIST.jpg Giving businesses choice is not legalizing discrimation

    The bar owner was blunt. A couple of weeks ago, he announced that people of a certain persuasion would not be allowed into his establishment.
    To demonstrate his seriousness, he had head shots printed of those who are not welcome to make sure that his security team would deny them entry.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one

    The suit is damaged, it might not hold up this time.
    Like many men, I have hidden my emotions behind a suit of armor for years.
    Happy, sad, excited or mad – my external emotions were never displayed.
    In some ways that was a good thing, but in others...

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest